Mexico City, one of the most populated cities on the planet, sitting somewhere around 21.2 million people. Around this time last year, I was contacted by Kru Nokweed late in the evening, he had asked if I wanted to fight at an event, fighting Muay Thai in Mexico City, with two weeks notice. I originally said yes, but then found out that my pad trainer would be out of town on vacation during this time. I had to really think about it for a few days but ultimately ended up canceling my fight in the event. I would still be flying down to help corner my friend and fellow fighter, Borin Khoun.
I was nervous to travel here, as most American’s are to travel to the area, due to the thought of being kidnapped and/or murdered. I didn’t have this thought originally myself, but more from everyone that I had mentioned it to had urged me to not attend. I did have a few supporters which assured me I wasn’t insane for going.
Copa Tailandia 2013
Upon arrival, I was nervous as I’m sure the people who picked us up could tell. New country, a language I knew little of, and in one of the most populated cities in the world. We arrived at our hotel, had food, slept, and showed up the next day for Borin’s weigh-in. While Borin was getting ready to weigh-in, someone asked me if I was going to weigh-in as well. I was a bit confused as I was pretty damn sure I had cancelled my fight a day after I accepted it, due to not being able to train. I asked Kru Nokweed, and he just smiled and told me not to worry.
WHAT THE ACTUAL F*#$ WAS I THINKING!
I weighed in and Nokweed assured me we would handle it later. The event was a two day event, with the beginners & first-timers fighting on the first day, and the second day being the second half of a tournament with Borin’s fight being the main event, and apparently my fight as well. After settling in, speaking with a couple of the fighters who spoke english, and watched a few fights, I was confident that I could win, despite not training at all for the fight, drinking and falling off of my bicycle earlier in the week, legs covered in raspberries from road rash.
The First Fight
Borin and I had to corner each other, his fight would be right before mine, so we had to help each other tape our hands and warmed up together. I cornered Borin, he came out with a unanimous decision victory. It was my turn, I didn’t know jack about my opponent, but no big deal, I’d fought a few weeks prior back in California and was in OK shape. I did consider the fact that Mexico City is at elevation and would have to bide my time and not gas out.
I was fighting relaxed and strong, by the end of the second round, Borin and Kru Nokweed assured me that I was winning the fight and to just play and show technique. I did my best to display some more clinch techniques, as that was a major thing that my opponent Victor was lacking at the time, and took him down a few times. When the decision came up, I was sure I was going to win, but much to mine and the audiences surprise, they gave the win to my opponent. Upon review of the tape, it assured me of the blatant robbery that took place. I guess this is what the travel guides meant by “being robbed” in Mexico City. Damn.
I took the loss, spoke with the audience and realized how important this event was for Muay Thai in Mexico City, I had someone try to give me their shirt off their back because I said “nice shirt.” I was beyond the nerves of being here and loving every second of the event. People kept coming up to me and jokingly asking me if they wanted me to go get the trophy that I had deserved, of course I declined, but it just made me happy knowing that it was that apparent.
I’ll cut this short and just say that I made it home safe and got a nasty stomach bug from the banquet food at the after fight event. I’d accomplished what my trainer and friend, Fred, had told me before the fight, “If you can fight there without any support, fighting here will be easy after that.” Which was true, Fred is so spot on with the mental side of fighting.
Rematch, Redemption, Restart.
Before we left on our previous trip, I had mentioned to the promoter that I had wanted a rematch against Victor. They agreed and said we would talk about it soon. I was originally set to rematch in March in Mexico City, in which the Thai Embassy in Mexico City would be hosting the event. This didn’t end up happening because of the political situation (turned military coup) in Thailand at the time. Something to do with the Thai Embassy having their funding cut/frozen due to the aforementioned political situation. I was bummed but they said they would re-schedule in the future.
I had some room to improve myself and more free time, so I decided to make the move to start my own private gym, as I had already working part-time for myself as a web designer, I figured I might as well go all in. I left the gym that I was teaching at previously and I acquired the space to have my private clients and semi-private group classes, and I was on my way to building myself something to call my own.
As things were starting to pick up for me, I got the call for the rematch in Mexico City! The rematch would take place on September 13th, which would be the main event of the Copa Tailandia 2014, on the second day of the international event. I believe it’s like last time, where we show up the day before the event, get a hotel, sleep, weigh-in, watch some fights, sleep, and then fight day.
I’ve been training hard and commuting 3-5 hours a few times a week to train at Muay Thai School USA with Kru Dan and training with some of my students in preparation. I’ve been on a very on my strength, conditioning, diet, running, etc. Everything has been lining up! I’m happy to say that I’ve been getting very excited for this fight and am even more excited that I’ve been able to train for it this time!
Stay tuned for the next chapter.