My third fight was to be my first stadium fight, on an all-female card for a televised event on the Queen’s Birthday.
I was originally set to rematch Nong Nee, who had beaten me on points in my previous fight. However, she’d pulled out for unknown reasons a few weeks before. This was disappointing, as I’d been looking forward to fight her again, but she was quickly replaced by another girl named Petchkularb.
For two months, I trained harder than I ever had before for this fight. When I look back on those two months, I remember countless hard sparring sessions with some of my male training partners, sometimes feeling like a champion, and sometimes feeling like I shouldn’t be fighting at all. I specifically remember being given a bloody nose and a black eye after just a few rounds of sparring with a French guy, and for a moment, questioning what I was doing. After I’d been given that bloody nose, my trainer said “it’s her fault, she walked into it”. It didn’t feel good. Thankfully, that moment passed quickly before I went back to the bag and continued to train. It sucks to get beaten up, but these are things that you sometimes have to go through in training. It’s all part of the process.
A couple of weeks before the fight, I got sick. This often happens when I’m training intensely without enough rest. I knew that if I didn’t take a day off, I wouldn’t get better, but I didn’t want to stop training for fear of not staying on top of my game. So, I battled through it. Those sparring sessions in which I was ill, short of breath and being pushed to my limits were tough, but they felt like they did me good. Although my body felt like it couldn’t keep going, my mind had to find a way to overcome that and make it to the end of the very last round while performing at the best I could. I figured that if I can fight til the end when I’m feeling awful, I’ll fight even better when I’m at 100%.
I also found myself being assigned a new trainer a couple of weeks before the fight. I didn’t know what to expect from him as he was new to the gym, but after just one round of pad work with him, I felt a connection – that spark you feel when you work with someone who knows exactly how to work with you. I was very happy to learn that he would be my cornerman.
I felt ready. I knew I’d trained hard enough, and I was looking forward to putting everything into practice. Unfortunately, just one day prior to the fight, Petchkularb pulled out. We were told that it was due to her period. This was frustrating, as I’d been building up to this fight for what felt like forever, and I didn’t want it to be all for nothing. I hoped another opponent would come through in time.
Rangsit Stadium holds same-day weigh-ins at 6:30am. Since Rangsit is up to an hour’s drive away from our gym, this would mean getting up at around 5:00am on fight day to get there, then making that same journey again in the evening. The gym attempted to negotiate around this, but the promoter wasn’t having it.
Having never needed to weigh in before, I wasn’t sure what to expect, especially as I didn’t even know if I had an opponent at this stage! My trainer was unable to accompany me because his son was fighting at Rajadamnern that day, so I went with a friend from the gym. When we arrived, we were faced with Nong Nee. This confused me, as she’d originally pulled out of this match, but after the initial surprise of seeing her, it didn’t make much difference to me. I weighed in at 112lbs (50 kg), the agreed fight weight. Nong Nee, however, weighed in at 120 lbs (55 kg). Having never been in this situation before, and without my trainer there with me, I had no idea what, if anything, I was supposed to do or say. No one seemed to be bothered by the weight difference, other than my friend, who spoke a great deal more Thai than I could. After he protested, the promoter said that they’d call my gym to discuss the matter. He left the room, and re-emerged a moment later, informing us that it had been agreed for Nong Nee to run twenty laps of the car park. It was clear that no such conversation had actually taken place, but all we could do was accept. After all, with a last minute pull-out, there wasn’t much room for negotiation. So, we watched as she jogged a few of the agreed laps outside, after which they didn’t even re-weigh her. The whole process seemed to be just for show, but I could do was forget about it and prepare to fight. I was happy just to have an opponent. Besides, I was getting the rematch I’d originally hoped for.
We returned to Rangsit Stadium at around 5pm to prepare for the fight, and waited for my cornerman to meet us there. As luck would have it, there was a massive rainstorm, so traffic was even worse than usual, which meant that he made it with only about ten minutes to go before I had to fight. With minimal time to warm up and prepare, and without really knowing my cornerman at all, I just had to trust that everything would come together in the ring.
The time to fight came, and we went in. Nong Nee came out with punches, just as she had done when we previously met. She was throwing haymakers from the first round, and it was clear that she was trying to knock me out. When I returned to the corner from the first time, my corner said “that’s not good enough, you need to do more!” In the rounds that followed, I fought harder, but it still wasn’t enough, and after five rounds, I lost by decision. With this being my third fight, I still wasn’t comfortable in the ring, and I was still having problems getting my mind and body to work in unison. It may sound strange, but fighting is not something that comes naturally at all. I’m not naturally aggressive or even slightly confrontational in any way, so I constantly have to struggle against those aspects of my personality to train myself out of them. I feel that most when I’m in the ring.
This fight showed me what I was made of. Although I knew during the fight that I was losing, I refused to give up and continued to fight until the very end. This may not sound like much to be proud of, but it was a personal achievement for me. Friends who came to watch told me that I’d shown a great deal of heart, which made me feel more positive about it. The promoter also told me “if they had given points for heart, you’d have won”. Even if he was saying it just to make me feel better, it worked, Although this fight ended in a loss for me, it was still a great experience. I’d been part of a prestigious promotion, had my first televised fight, and learned a great deal.
The main thing that I’d learned was that I needed to work on following up. I was told that there were so many moments where I landed a strike and threw Nong Nee off balance, but then came back out as if I was waiting for her to hit me back. I’d never seen or felt those moments, but I’d often been shouted at in sparring sessions for doing the same thing. I kept that in mind, and made it my goal to work on it for the next fight.
See below for a gallery of images from the day.
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