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damien trainor

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The press conference.

11 Dec Posted by in Blog | Comments

We arrived at the press conference before anyone else and were led to a medium sized room full of round tables. In the middle of the room over looking everyone was a huge long table with a banner behind it advertising the king’s birthday event.

The room started to fill up mainly with elderly Thai men; you could easily see the chain of command by seeing who bowed to who first. A few of them I recognized from past experiences when I was in Thailand.

Then a familiar face came in; a Mr. Rob Cox. I know Rob from back in the UK and he is revered the world over for his knowledge on Muay Thai.He has a very successful gym in Thailand called Kiatpontip and can speak fluent Thai.I believe he has lived in Thailand now for close to ten years.   

I thought, awesome! fingers crossed he’ll be taking pictures at the event and I should be able to get them off him for memorabilia.

Just a quick word of advice, my trainer Steve always said to me I should get the photos of my fights because when I’m older I’d regret it if I didn’t. At the time I thought nothing of it and didn’t bother getting any photos in my early career.

I really regret this now. I’ve had well over 70 odd fights and have barely anything on my early career. Now I try and track down everything I can. A fighter’s life is very short, treasure it!

The waitresses started to bring out the food before the actual conference started. There were loads of dishes brought out to each table. A lot of stuff I didn’t recognize. In the centre of the table was a huge revolving glass plate, enabling you to gain access to any dish that was served.

While I was eating a very tall young Thai lad came and stood behind me followed by Mr Thakoon. “Damien stand up.” I stood up next to the Thai lad and my head only came to his shoulders.

Mr. Thakoon and another guy were jibbering away to each other. The other guy was the owner of Keawsamrit gym in Bangkok. A few of the elder men sitting on the table next to us were asking Mr. Thakoon if I was any good, Thakoon said yes but the boss of Keawsamrit said I was too small.

This type of match making reminded me of being a junior so many years ago, squaring us up next to each other to make a match.

I asked Mr. Thakoon if that was who I was fighting, “No, No you still fight same boy” and he shot off quickly.

Moments later he came back with a pile of shorts handing them out to all the fighters who were on the bill, he told us to put them on as the conference was about to start.

After we’d got changed another guy came around handing out the flowers garlands that you wear around your neck when you fight.

We were all asked to stand behind the head table. I was about to walk to it when Mr. Thakoon stopped me; He looked at the tall Thai lad who didn’t have any flowers around his neck. “Sorry Damien” he took the flowers off me and put them around the other lad’s neck.

I was gutted I was the odd one out now, I felt like that kid who always gets picked last in gym class.

Sat on the main table were all the heads of the event and of the WPMF organisation.

The cameras started rolling and camera flashes were constantly going off while the heads on the table spoke into a microphone.

I had no clue what was being said I could only work out bits and bobs. What I do know is, it was hot!

All those lights on us really seemed to bump up the room temperature. We were supposed to keep still but after about 25 minutes you could see us deep sighing or transferring weight from leg to leg.

There is a guy I’ve seen often at the big events in Thailand, best way I can describe him is he is Thailand’s mascot. He’s always dressed in the Thai flags colors with an old style Thai army hat, also painted in their flags colors.

He’s like a comedian very animated during the fights making the crowd laugh and getting behind their fighter.

He was stood next to me on the stage; every so often he kept nudging and giving me a huge cheesy grin trying to get me to laugh on the T.V. He succeeded a few times.

He then blew a horn he had with him; it actually scared the crap out of me as I wasn’t expecting it. I heard a few of the other boxers on the line snigger afterwards so I’m guessing they jumped too.

After all the officials had finished talking, which was about 40 minutes, we were asked to come to front of the table and pose for the cameras.

Some of us were told to kneel down low in a line while the others were stood behind us. In the centre was the tall Thai lad holding the WPMF belt with another tall French fighter.

Gutted! If I’d have fought him it would have been for the world title belt. I don’t know what weight though as the Thai was huge compared to me; I would have done it regardless.

I was knelt down next to Stephen for the final blast of photos. Rob Cox was clicking away frantically with his camera along with the rest of the Thai media. I was hoping this bit wouldn’t last too long as kneeling on a solid wooden floor isn’t comfortable in the slightest.

Luckily we weren’t held in that position for long, there was no way I could have stayed like that for another 40 minutes. Stephen looked at me and said “we’d better get changed and hand the shorts in”. I was actually hoping to keep them but no such luck. Mr. Thakoon as sharp as ever quickly came over and told us to get changed and to give the shorts back.

The conference was over just in time for the afternoon session in the gym. I remember thinking that I’m going to die as I didn’t get an afternoon nap after the mornings training.

Now this may make me sound old but believe me if you don’t get some sleep in between training you will really feel it as the week goes on.

Surprisingly this was one of my favourite sessions of the week.

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