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damien trainor

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The king’s birthday – The fight.

05 Jan Posted by in Blog | Comments

The ring was situated in the centre of the car park. At one side was a large stage with an eight-foot picture of the king over looking the ring. Around the other sides where some chairs, followed by barriers segregating where the seated were from the standing public.

We headed to where all the boxers were getting ready behind the stage.

As I got round I could see some young lads already getting ready to fight, some were shadow boxing, some were getting massaged while others were just sat nervously looking into space.

There wasn’t really a lot of space; probably about a four-metered width running along the length of the stage. It sounds a lot but when you’ve got over 50 boxers followed by their corner team plus a few spectators it gets a little crowded.

A few seconds after we arrived P’Torsak turned up. He had told us to go before him because of the traffic being bad at that time of day, it couldn’t have been that bad because we only got there about five minutes before him. It would have been easier just to get into his jeep instead of the ‘by any means necessary’ journey we just under took traipsing through Bangkok

According to the fight program my fight would be just before the televised matches. These didn’t start until 1am and it was only around 7pm at that point so I had a whole load of sitting around to do.

We were all just sat around laughing and joking when all of a sudden P’Torsak came over to me “You fight in five fights.”

“Five fights?” It’s quite funny when people in the U.K always bang on about how they want to get the sport running the same in the U.K as it is in Thailand. Things in Thailand change like the wind without any warning. I’m pretty sure most of those people would soon kick off if everything ran like it does in Thailand.

So it went from sitting around for six hours to having to get ready straight away. To be honest I was a little glad as I didn’t fancy waiting around that long.

P’Torsak started to wrap my hands which took about half an hour; when he’d finished it felt like I had two cement bricks on my hands.

I was sent to get massaged on one of the long tables behind us. I’m not sure how long that took but I was burning all over from the amount of oil they threw on me.

I was told to shadow box to warm up after the massage; I didn’t do this for long though as I was told to come over to have the Mongkon, Pra-Jead and robe put on.

The time seemed to fly by because only a few moments after having all the good luck charms put on, I was told to go and sit ring side and wait till my fight.

In Thailand there are no fancy entrances, the boxer sits rings side from round one of the previous bout. As soon as that fight is finished one set of boxers climb out while the next set climb in, it’s very time efficient.

As the last bout finished I stood up to get into the ring and as I did P’Jeab came over to me; “Round one, round two, kick slow if kick too fast then I have no one who want to gamble.”

Then P’Torsak say’s “I think he punch a lot so be ready.” Great! That’s all I need, I still didn’t have the feeling back in my teeth or face yet so the last thing I wanted was a crazed …………. trying to punch my face in.

I climbed over the ropes and bowed to the audience, I came back over to my corner to have the robe removed and get ready to perform the wai kru, ram muay.

I needed to wake up! I’m a bit of a slow starter and need a lot of warming up prior to fights; must be my age.

After sealing off the ring it was time to kneel down for the wai kru.

In some cases this part of the ceremony is like a battle of wills, you always try to be the last one to kneel down, kind of like to show superiority to your opponent. I really couldn’t be arsed with this at the time, I just wanted to wake up and start fighting so I just knelt down first.

My opponent finished not long after me. I walked to my corner as P’Torsak removed the Mongkon and told me to go slowly for the first two rounds. I turned around and waited for the ref to signal us to fight.

“Chok” the fight commenced.

It was very tit for tat in round one; he landed a kick I replied and vice versa. He threw a good strong body kick, I blocked and replied with a low kick which sent him to the canvas.

In the final seconds of the last round I again took his legs from under him with a chopping low kick, sending him high into the air to come crashing down onto his back.

Round two saw him come out a little more determined. I knocked him to the canvasa couple of times by taking his legs from under him but in the final few seconds of the round I was caught with two unanswered body kicks, which in my opinion could have cost me the round.

Round three I’d say he took, catching me again with some good kicks and using a well-timed front kick to stop me from pressing forward.

I came back to the corner and was getting told was to punch like a mad man from everyone and then kick his legs. I thought, “I think I can manage that!” plus I actually felt warmed up by then, it only took three rounds…I said I was a slow starter!

Round four started at faster pace as straight away he fired a left body kick and I replied with four, five punches that sent him back a few steps. Again he fired a kick with me responding in the same fashion.

We ended up in a clinch and like a div I’d actually forgotten we could elbow until I took one straight in the kisser. This was probably down to the fact that my last fight was k-1 rules, so I quickly adjusted my grip on him to make sure he couldn’t elbow me again.

He was edging the round but then all of a sudden he looked weak and wasn’t throwing anything back; he was just on the back foot taking the shots. The gamblers started going crazy. I could hear them as I was fighting, this could only mean I’d brought the fight back and it was close!

The bell sounded there was only one more round to go. I was told I needed a big round to swing it my way.

In round five I just went at him, constantly moving forward. I pressed him onto the ropes unleashing some solid hand combinations followed by kicks to his arms. He barely answered back and what he did throw wasn’t very successful.

The gamblers continued to shout trying to get other people to take their bets.

I started to feel stronger as the round went on and he was doing less and less when all of a sudden the bell sounded.

I thought that round seemed short but it couldn’t have been. I wasn’t sure how the decision was going to go.

It went to the blue the corner. I was red.

The fight was so close. I’ll be honest I don’t feel hard done by for losing and I wouldn’t have felt lucky to win. It was just one of those fights that could have gone either way.

I didn’t know until I got behind the stage that I was cut from the elbow I took in the fourth round. The git had only gone and reopened my scar that I’d gotten from Wangchannoi 11 years ago and just when it was becoming less prominent too.

The doctor told me to get onto one of the massaging tables while he stitched me up.

We waited around to support and watch Stephen Hodgers fight with kaman Picken and what a fight it was. Stephen stopped Kaman in round four with some solid punches; it was great to witness.

We got back to the hotel room and I was eager to watch the fight on the camcorder.

As the last round came to an end I looked at the time on the camcorder it said 2 min 47 secs. “Huh?” I started the round again to see how much time was recorded before the bell sounded for that round.

10 seconds lapsed till the bell sounded, which meant that that round was cut short by 23 seconds. Now that may not sound a lot but when a round is only three minutes long that’s a pretty big chunk. Especially when I was told that there was only two or three kicks in it.

Oh well it was a great performance and as I walked back to the changing area I got a lot of praise from many of the Thai people who came to watch. One gym owner even offered me a title fight in China for the following week.

A few days later I received a message from a lad who trains at my gym back in the U.K. He was in Thailand training at Watarachai Keawsamrit’s new gym and he and Watarachai were at the event when I fought.

He said that Watarachai wasn’t happy with the decision. Even though I was caught with some body kicks in the early rounds I managed to kick him to floor a fair few times which should have kept those rounds close. My fourth and fifth rounds should have been big enough to swing it my way.

This made my morning as I don’t know Watarachai personally I just know of him and vice versa, so his was an unbiased opinion.

I’m not saying I was robbed or complaining about the out come but just highlighting how close the fight was and how the decision could have gone either way.  Regardless of the outcome, I achieved something that I’d wanted to do for most of my fighting life and no one can take that away from me.

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