MSA had a media day with all the fighters that were signed to them. The idea of the day was to tell us what their plans were and where they wanted to take the sport, along with photo shoots, video footage of us training and an acting coach teaching us how to behave on camera.
It was actually quite a laugh hanging out with the other fighters and made a nice change to only seeing them at a show.
Since MSA’s last event I somehow convinced myself that I would like to take on Rungravee. I’d lost my last fight pretty bad against someone who I think isn’t very good. I had a whole lot going in my life at that time which I may go into at some point, so I thought this could be a way to get back on track by taking on this scary monster.
I’d already been matched for their next event, which was at the MEN in Manchester. My opponent was Kaewkla Kaewsamrit who was young upcoming fighter from Thailand and ranked in the top ten in Rajadamnern, so I couldn’t ask for Rungravee for this event.
I approached Dan Green who is my manager; “What are the chances of being able to fight Rungravee?” I get on really well with Dan and can talk to him quite easily about anything. He said because MSA were planning big things it wouldn’t be a problem to bring him over.
They were planning a show in my hometown of Birmingham later on in the year so Dan hinted to maybe bringing him over then.
From here on I started to keep tabs on Rungravee, whenever he fought I’d try and track the video on the net. The more I watched him the more I thought “I can do this”.
I’d fought and won at the MEN then flew off to Paris and beat the French champion to claim another title, next on the agenda was MSA’s event in Birmingham.
I asked Dan for Rungravee for the show; his response was that it probably wasn’t the best fight for me to have at home. I’m guessing he thought probably not a good idea for me to take a shoeing in front of my friends and family. An Italian opponent was found for me in the end, he was a very awkward but I won quite easily.
MSA ran into problems as they had put two expensive shows prior to this, Buakaw headlined one of them but they had lost far too much money so opted to call it a day. This was a shame as they really started to gain some momentum. Dan Green decided to take the Birmingham show on by himself and changed the name to Fight Sport Industries.
It was a good year for me beating a stadium ranked Thai and claiming two titles, it was time to relax and enjoy the rest of the year.
I’d already been matched for February 2011 against a Thai called Phetnumchai so straight into training I went after Christmas.
I thought I’d text Dan and remind him that I still would like to fight Rungravee this year. A day later I got a text back saying “I’ve asked for him to fight you in April”. “Oh crap!” I didn’t expect it to be so soon and only seven weeks after my fight with Phetnumchai.
I started to prepare more for Rungravee than my fight with Phetnumchai, working on what I noticed from the many videos that I’d tracked down.
Phetnumchai was a bad and good fight for me. He was from Jitti’s gym and a fair few English go over there to train. So they knew me inside out, they knew what weaknesses and strengths I had.
Round one was even, and then I had a very bad second round. Phetnumchai changed from orthodox to southpaw as I’ve heard rumours that people think I cant block left kick. Well this fight I didn’t. He continually booted the right side of my body for the whole round; at one point I actually thought he’d broken my arm. Round three was very much the same.
I came back in round four being able to avoid his left body kick better and counter effectively, I won that round. Round five, he stayed away from me as not to let the fight slip out of his hands as he had to two massive rounds earlier in the fight. Phetnumchai was declared the winner, and well deserved.
I was a little annoyed at the support given by some of the English fans to Phetnumchai when many people often speak about getting behind the home fighter, but people are entitled to support who they please, so that’s water under the bridge.
To be honest this fight really opened my eyes to what I was letting myself in for with Rungravee, so I have a lot to thank for it.
Prior to the fight with Phetnumchai, I received a message off Jompop on facebook who was a trainer at Kiatpontip in Thailand and is now here in the U.K.
He had said that he had betted with some English lads that I would win. He helped me in the corner during the fight but I just wasn’t prepared for those left kicks.
After the fight he said I just needed to block and gave me one of those mai bpen rai (nevermind), Thai smiles.
The next day he sent me a message again saying, “I hope you’re not hurt too bad” and gave me a link to a fight in Lumpini stadium. He wrote “watch it mate and maybe you learn how to fight with a southpaw”.
The orthodox fighter in the video had most of his weight on his front leg, making his rear leg easy to lift up and defend it also made his right body kick more powerful. He also moved to his left on regular basis as to avoid his opponent’s power leg.
So I took this on board, as Rungravee hits a lot harder than Phetnumchai and I didn’t want to end up like most of his western opponents.
I had to adjust how my stance was in training; I generally have more weight on my rear leg so I can fire my left kick in quick but this wasn’t a weapon I needed in this fight. I needed to defend Rungravee’s destructive left low kick.
The fight was set for April 9th 2011 and I was ready to go but I’ll get into that in my next instalment…