We touched gloves as the bell rang; I started out front kicking his leg and flicking out a jab, as to stop him winding up any big shots. I landed successfully with some punches, Rungravee replied in kind with his trademark leg kick.
“Here it comes” there was a loud slap as it landed I heard a few people go “Oooo f**king hell” to be honest I thought, “That’s not that bad actually, I can take them!”
He then football kicked me in the mouth, it came vertical under my chin. I’ve never been hit with this type of kick before and it p*ssing hurt! it made me bite my tongue. I couldn’t eat properly for two weeks after, git!
I made sure to stick to my game plan which seemed to be working. One of the things I’d noticed is Rungravee moves his head to his left to avoid a cross. I’d worked on faking a cross and then throwing a right head kick, planning to land it when he moved. Rungravee didn’t move his head to the left but instead he leant back making it hard to catch him with the kick. “Balls! That didn’t work then”.
The first round was very tit for tat, Rungravee smiled as I hit him with good shots and of course I replied with the same courtesy.
The second round started the same as the first I was moving and countering well, then BAM! I landed with a big right hand, which turned Rungravee’s body to the side slightly.
Now I’ve never seen this in all my years of fighting. Rungravee’s eyes glazed over and the expression on his face was that he wanted to eat me. Imagine you keep your mouth closed and try to blow air out. Your cheeks will expand, now this is what he was doing as he was breathing.
He was that mad it looked like he wanted to cry and kill me at the same time. I started moving back “Oh sh*t!” I will hold my hands up and say my bum was really twitching here.
He went mad and a right elbow just missed me, as he span around he threw a reverse elbow again luckily missing. He walked at me like the terminator with his hands down, I was moving back as I was a little bewildered as to how to deal with this.
I jumped up landing a jumping down elbow on his head; the crowd cheered as it landed.
We were in the neutral corner, Nathan shouting “Front kick to the face!” my first thought was “You f**king front kick him to face!” on my mind next was “Sod it.” my right foot landed straight in his kisser, this did me no favours at all.
He started unloading ferociously with punches and elbows cutting me with an uppercut elbow. I locked him out as we were in the clinch; we just stared at each other for what seemed like ages till the referee broke us up.
The bell sounded and all I could think is “I’ve got this for another three rounds, oh joy”. Steve patched up the wound really well; he’s getting good at that now.
Round three, yep you guessed, it he was still trying to eat me. I countered well but Rungravee was scoring with the better techniques but I was in the fight and making him work.
He steamed in with punches and I started firing back with my own. I was more successful in the exchanges than he was; again he got upset and lunged in with a left elbow. I stepped to my left and he stumbled pass me. Looking back now I should have laid into him then but I stayed back, whenever I watch it back I think, “Go now”.
In the corner I landed with a good right body kick which Rungravee caught, so before he could boot me off my feet I grabbed onto the ropes and lifted myself up. I was sitting in the air, arms on the ropes, while Rungravee held my leg. I was hoping he was going to come forwards because if he did I was going to flat foot him in the face. Instead he booted me up the arse which was a little sharp if I’m honest. I laughed as he did it but Rungravee didn’t see the funny side, he told me off for holding the ropes. I thought it was funny anyway.
Round four went pretty much the same as the third with Rungravee desperate to stop me but unable to. I blocked well, causing Rungravee to hurt his leg from low and body kicking, this made him start firing high so he wouldn’t hit anything hard.
Fifth and final round; I really needed to go for it now if I want to win. I got to the centre of the ring Rungravee skipped over smiling, Parnpetch telling him to “show what Muay Thai is.” Obviously spoken in Thai
Rungravee tried to prat about to show he was in control, he threw a reverse elbow as he did I landed an elbow to the back of his head. He smiled and called me on to do it again.
As he pressed forward I heard Nathan shout “Straight punches!” As I fired them Rungravee started firing back, we had a trade off for a few seconds his head bouncing all over the place. I guess he didn’t like it to much because he grabbed me for the clinch.
I threw him but he got his balance straight away. That angry little man was back he started waving me on, I just laughed.
He threw that mad football kick a few times but missed, which I’m pleased about as I don’t think my tongue could of taken another smack. We were in his corner; it was very slippery from the amount of water on the canvas, so I moved away from it and signalled him to come over to where I was standing. He laughed and came over in his terminator fashion.
He stepped in with a left knee which clipped my chin; I took a few steps back and then jumped up with a scissor knee, which landed clean in his stomach. He acted like it hurt to take the p*ss, so I simply put my hands in the air also taking the p*ss.
A few moments later and the bell rang; I bowed to Rungravee and to my surprise he got down on his knees and bowed right to the floor showing great respect to me. As I looked around the whole auditorium was on its feet giving us a standing ovation
Rungravee stood up and tapped me on the chest in an approving kind of way. Parnpetch came over happy with both of us; I headed over to their corner. Jompop and another Thai trainer were in the corner.
Jompop gave me a drink and as he did he said “you very good fighter, if you fight like this you would have beat Phetnumchai easy” The other trainer was cleaning the blood off my face from the cuts.
Dan Green climb into the ring and hugged me also saying it was a pleasure to see me enjoying myself in such a great fight.
Everyone was in the ring was waiting for Dougie the ring announcer to give the final verdict.
Rungravee was announced the winner and rightly so but even though he got the decision I felt I walked away the winner. I won the heart of the crowd and that fight will stay in people’s memories for a long time.
The appreciation I got as I left the ring was immense my family and close friends came straight up to me my mom and other half hugging me, my mates jumping around like big kids. Everyone looked at me as a winner, I guess kind of like Rocky one where he lost but he was the man to everyone.
I got back to the changing room; Liam Harrison was just getting ready to fight Seanchai for a second time. Jordan Watson said as soon as I walked in “You are one hard b*****d”
I have to say that my fight with Rungravee is one of my favourites in my career. Life in my opinion is about challenging yourself and this was a great challenge for me. I have always gone for the hard option when it comes to fights, and this was definitely no exception.
Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts and experiences surrounding this fight. I didn’t expect it to be so long so I hope you enjoyed.