Avoid Fighting A Taxi Driver In Thailand Who May Take A Fall On Purpose

A lot of people talk about fighting tuk-tuk (taxi) drivers. It does happen since Muay Thai is an easy way for poor Thai guys to make a bit of extra money. Also, there are fights 3-5 nights a week and they need to fill opponent spaces. Also, think about it this way: if it’s your first fight no one knows who you are, and the promoters have no idea how to match you up, so they just give you anyone. The best way to assure you get legitimate fights is to prove yourself first. Instead of fighting once – just to say you did – plan on having a fight every 2-3 weeks while you are in Thailand. I guarantee that once the promoters see you they will better match you up for the next fight.

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The reason why a lot of Thai opponents will take falls is because they get paid the same, win or lose, but don’t think they won’t knock you out – if they have the chance. All of my fights have been against Thai guys and they have all tried to knock me out or at least cut me with elbows. The last guy I fought took a fall in the second round but I reckon he could have gotten up and taken an eight count instead. One thing for sure, though, he knocked some of my teeth loose and broke my nose with elbows; I, in turn, punched and kicked him with everything I had trying to knock him out. Even though he didn’t get up after the knee in the second round, don’t think for a second that he wouldn’t have knocked me out if he had the chance. It’s a lot easier for them to knock you out in the first round – if they can – than to take a fall.

I’m pretty sure the reason why he didn’t get up is because he knew I was determined to win and he would have faced exhaustion and possible injury if he got up to continue. Another way to avoid getting a tuk-tuk driver is to ask to fight another ‘farang’, which is what Thais call foreigners. The problem, however, with fighting another western guy is it’ll most likely turn into a brawl with no technique. For beginner fights, it always ends up being a one-sided boxing match between two ‘farangs’. Sometimes it’s also hard for promoters to find another non-Thai person to match up against you, which is why most first fights are against Thai people.

I’d suggest fighting Thai guys for your first few matches and only then fighting a fellow ‘farang’. Here in Chiang Mai, I was really surprised that the fights were a bit more serious but the stadiums were a lot more ‘shitty’. Overall, the quality of fights have been much better in Chiang Mai and even for people’s first fights they have been matched up with really good opponents who are just as determined to win as they are. I think the reason is because, up in the north, Thai fighters are trying to make a career out of it as they are generally poor. They really want to win and have a good record so they can one day move up to Lumpinee stadium in Bangkok.

The fighters in Chiang Mai are hungry and want to win – I haven’t seen any take a fall on purpose since I’ve been here. The bad news about Chiang Mai, however, is you get paid a lot less and you don’t get a cool fight poster (with your face on it) to take home. The good thing is you get experience, and your friends can go watch your fight for 300 baht ($10US) instead of the 1,000 baht ($33US) they charge in Phuket. Finally, after two months of training here in Chiang Mai, I feel fit and ready to take a fight. It’ll be my fifth fight in Thailand but I’m a tiny bit nervous as I haven’t fought in 18 months. After my last fight with Mailai my teeth were a bit loose and I couldn’t spar even for 6 months. Then I took on a full-time job teaching scuba diving in Borneo where they didn’t have Muay Thai, and finally I spent the summer in America.

My plan is to fight at 95kg (209lbs) two weeks from now even though I’m currently 217lbs. Hopefully, I’ll have a semi-easy win and not get any injuries so I can ask for another fight straight away, and keep up the streak as long as I can. My second goal is to fight around 93kg (202lbs) and eventually at 85kg (187lbs). Ideally, I’ll be able to fight once every two weeks while I’m here and bang out as much experience as I can during this fight camp. In Chiang Mai you only get 2,000-2,500 baht per fight, instead of the normal 5,000 baht ($166US) I’m used to in Phuket and Koh Lanta. The nice thing, though, is the gyms in Chiang Mai don’t take a cut, although tipping your corner men 500 baht is appropriate – and appreciated. At Tiger Muay Thai, I received around 2,500 baht after the trainers and gym took their cut, so I ended up with around half of what it said on the envelope. To sign up to fight simply ask your trainer. In Thailand, it’s normal to have fights 1-2 weeks out, so make sure you are ready the day you ask. The promoter will come and take your photo and possibly weigh you in. In Phuket I never got weighed in at all but here in Chiang Mai they do, although it’s still not super-strict and no one cuts water weight the day before the fight for these small matches – only for fights with a lot of money on the line. The nice thing about Thailand and one of the reasons why 6 months of training and fighting in Thailand is often considered worth 3 years of training back home is because it’s so easy to get fights here.

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