Craig Dickson reaches Semi-finals at Toyota 8 Man Tournament, Chonburi

Travelling to fights is one of the lifestyle’s great perks. Being on the road prior to, and just following any fight, one becomes more aware of new surroundings and feels greater alertness. Fighting is an emotional as well as a physical challenge. Fear and uncertainty mingle with determination and excitement, a mix which leads in many instances to steely resolve.

Staying our first night in Bangkok at the house of Oron’s friend, and the second in a brown hotel in Chonburi – where the fights were to be held – Oron related a few of his own experiences during the peak of his career. His stories of travels with friend and training partner Lambang are an intriguing insight into the lives of the previous decade’s top flight boxers in Thailand. The two would make their way to Bangkok with the express intention of fighting for money, and for the personal pride inherent in Muay Thai. Travel cheap, or, as Oron put it, ”No need more.”.

Receiving thirty thousand baht per fight, the promoters would provide the pair two thousand baht expenses. In his prime, he remembers, twelve straight Lumpini match-ups ended in victory. But also remembered are the sleepless nights after a defeat, and the drinking of Lao Khao with M-150 in general. On one occasion Lambang left the fight winnings in a taxi, ”He pay me one thousand baht every month” Oron says with a laugh, simulating the gesture of paying out money with his hands.

On weigh-in day this time, an hour’s walk in the midday sun donning a sweat-suit sufficed to strip the last two kilos – an unpleasant experience but a definite part of the fight process.

Preparation for these televised shows is exhilarating, big entrances and TV coverage definite fuel for the ego. A mixed performance ensued however; overwhelming my first drawn opponent, the Belorussian Igor Klimivitch, led to an early stoppage in round two. Attempting to stand stoic and clinch with my second opponent, Lumpini champion Chamoekthong, proved a mistake. 

Knowing I would most likely lose on points, I wanted to show I was unafraid in the clinch, however attempts to use strength were outstripped by his timing and natural fluidity, the answer to the implicit question being ‘Not strong enough.’ The final between Chamuekhong and Petchboonchu was an exhibition in martial prowess and unwavering focus, Petchboonchu victorious in his usual unremitting style.”

By Craig Dickson

Watch all the fights here courtesy of our friends at Muay Farang and view the highlight photos from Sumalee Media here.

Next stop for the Sumalee International fighters is Petchbuncha Stadium in Koh Samui on August 9th. Martin Avery and Jordan Coe star as the main events in a 10th anniversary show! Make sure you tune in to our Facebook, Twitter & Instagram for more Muay Thai action.

A dynamic debut for Sumalee Scholarship winner Martin Avery

From Southampton in the UK, Martin Avery is our second Sumalee Scholarship winner of 2014. The Scholarship scheme was created to develop up-and-coming international talent from the world of Muay Thai. Our selected students are given two months free training and accommodation at our camp in Phuket, Thailand, as well as the opportunity to fight full rules Muay Thai at least twice during their time here.

Martin is 23 (turning 24 next month) and trains out of Lumpini Muay Thai Gym in Southampton in Hampshire, England. Currently undefeated in his professional career, Martin has had 11 Muay Thai fights winning many of them by knockout. Before joining us at the camp he was not employed and training full time at his home gym. Martin was selected for our Scholarship scheme because of the passion he conveyed in his application, his style in the ring, and his excellent technique.

Martin arrived at the camp mid way through June in great shape. With our team of sponsored fighters present the young Brit had no shortage of sparring and clinching partners to push him during training. He also worked closely with our trainers for a couple of weeks before booking his first fight at Bangla Boxing Stadium in Patong for the 2nd July.

On fight night Martin was matched with his first Thai opponent, Khaosambat Kiat Paison, a local nak muay with over 60 fights under his belt. Unperturbed by the challenge that lay ahead of him and determined to impress the crowd, Martin kicked off Round 1 as the aggressor. Khaosombat scored well with some strong kicks and elbows but our student began to have the edge by the end of the third. By the fourth the Thai seemed to be slowing, unable to respond to Martin’s powerful attacks and unrelenting offence.

A final knee secured victory for Martin by way of TKO in the fourth round and the crowd replied with a big round of applause, including Martin’s father and friends from Hampshire who were in Phuket to support him. Watching the fight video below it’s easy to see why Martin was chosen as our Sumalee Scholarship winner and, with the facilities and training to develop his skills, we are certain he has a bright future in the sport.

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