Thursday, July 19, 2007

Scotland 1 - Thailand 0

Woo hoo! I won!

Before the fight all day I was pretty nervous - I was supposed to be resting or sleeping but really I was packing and worrying and eventually got a nap about 4 pm and had to get up again at 5pm. I ate some food, worried a bit more and eventually met at the gym to head to the stadium at about 8.30pm.

Then it was all set for many more hours of waiting around, watching fights and going "oooooooooooooh! Ouch!" at the slapping, cracking sound that the fighters' shins mad against one another's legs, and thinking " I really don't want any part of me to make that noise".

Noom arrived with my custom shorts, which in no way resembled the design I had given him and were the wrong size, so had to deal with that and tried not to let it throw me off.

Eventually, about 10.00pm I went back to get my hands wrapped, get changed and start warming up. I was massaged with Thai oil and vaseline to get good and warm and slippy (no jokes, thank you) and then it was some stretching and shadow boxing to keep warm - they don't hit the pads here in Thailand before a fight since they're all already pretty warm most of the time!

There's alot less fuss made about fighting here, so no entrance music, no big intro, my trainer just walked off and went "Sayla!" (which is the closest they can get to my name), I followed him, and before I knew it it was time to get in the ring.

In Thailand women aren't allowed to go over the top rope, because we suck, apparently, so I went under the bottom rope, bowed all around and waited for my opponent to get in. Then the announcer gave us both a big intro and I got a huge roar from the crowd - it was very busy and there must have been quite a few people there from Scotland or Europe,. because they were very supportive.

Once the music started, we both sealed the ring and performed our Wai Kru's. And I didn't even fall over! Although I nearly went round the wrong way to seal the ring, which was a little embarrassing.

The ref called us into the middle and said.....something, and I nodded like I understood and went back to the corner, Tim took my Mongkon off and it was time to get started. The plan was to go Thai-style and stay relaxed and playful the first two rounds since they score them 10-10 whatever happens, so I kept her off with a few front kicks, followed up with a wee bit of boxing. She got me once or twice with punches to the face, and one of her teeps through me off balance as I was about to kick when it landed, but I recovered and came back forwards. During the first break after round 1 Tim told me to stay in the centre of the ring, keep in front of her and don't let her run around too much, since she was constantly moving backwards.

Round 2, I followed Tim's advice and kept to the centre of the ring, staying in fornt of her always. We continued with the teeps and punches exchange but I was obviously starting to intimidate her a bit, since I was bigger and moving forwards all the time. I landed one elbow during a flurry and got sparkled by a right hand in return and blocked, gave and received a kick or two. We got into the clinch at one point with me up against the ropes, so I turned her, got her against the ropes and kneed, which I was rather pleased with.

After the round, Tim told me to start faking left front kicks and stepping into a right body, or vice versa - step and kick, step and punch.

3rd round - just did as I was told. We both stepped up the pace and got in each other's faces a bit more. I stayed inside her range and kept pulling her guard down to get her with right elbows and must have hit her 5 or 6 times before I finally caught her an absolute cracker on the jaw with a cross elbow. She dropped her guard, stepped back and rubbed her face, went to her corner and I eventually remembered to go to the neutral corner while she got her standing 8 count. While I was standing there though, the ref came and got me and lifted my arm to say she had asked for the towel to be thrown in and I had won.

I couldn't believe it, and looked to the corner to say "Eh?!" and everyone was celebrating, so I figured it must be true and grinned my head off, and that was that really. The crowd went mental, which was good - I was worried they'd be rooting for the Thai and I'd get booed, went to thank the other team and get some water from them (this is just something which happens, I don't know why) and it was all over.

I'm totally un-injured - I don't have a single, solitary bruise from the fight which, as anyone who trains with me will know, is miraculous, as I bruise much like an over-ripe peach. In fact, I could have fought again the following day, with no trouble at all, and I can only hope it wont be too long before I get the chance to try my hand in this country.

I'm very pleased with how I performed - the one thing I wanted to achieve was to look confident and competent - like I knew what I was doing, had sound technique, and preferably that I had fought before, and I'm told that's what I looked like, so I'm happy.

If it transpires that there's a video to show I'll post it on the blog - I really hope there is, but I'm not holding out much hope.

I'm back at home, unpacked and washed, after a mammoth and awful journey home, with sleep-deprivation to the max. But I'm home, and that's what matters :)

And that's all folks!

(Yay, Scotland!)

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