I hadn’t ever stepped foot in any Muay Thai stadium as it was my first time in Thailand so this was my first experience, I never thought at age 15 my first experience of a Muay Thai stadium would be weighing in at one!
I tried to just look as confident as ever to mask the fact that I was shitting myself a little..
I stroll in through the doors and was the only white boy in the room so straight away everyone’s eyes were on me and a lot of them were quite blatantly having a chit chat about me right in front of my face, if that weren’t daunting enough I then had to line up for a doctors check in a line full of angry little dehydrated Thais and it was at this point I thought “WTF am I doing here?!” I tried to just look as confident as ever to mask the fact that I was shitting myself a little. I went through all the procedures, doctors check, handed my passport to the officials and then waited for my time to weigh in.
“DANIEL SASIPRAPA GYM” was belted out by one of the officials, it was my time to weigh in…
So it wasn’t quite my Ricky Hatton style weigh in I had hoped for in fact it was quite the opposite, I had to walk in to a caged room with a few Thai men surrounding it in my boxer shorts… well that’s what I thought. I was about to jump on the scales when the officials then told me to whip my boxers completely off, I looked back at my dad and Thakoon with little puppy eyes thinking again “WTF am I doing here” then stripped off and then hopped on the scales.
I made the 101lbs (45kg) limit then went and had breakfast at the little restaurant outside the stadium. I was really struggling to eat due to the nerves it was a completely different experience to what I had expected and I felt like a proper outsider and completely out of my comfort zone.
All these nerves but I still knew what I had to do and I was still 100 percent confident I was going to get through it all and get a victory.
I finished my breakfast then headed back to Sasiprapa gym and was basically forced by the trainers to sleep, I tossed and turned for hours all I could think about is the fight more excitement than nerves:
I wonder how it feels to hit shin on shin?
How would it feel to elbow or knee someone in the head?
How would it feel if I got elbowed?
All these thoughts going through my little brain. I felt majorly confident though and was counting down the hours to go back to the stadium and get ready to fight. The time had come, the Mongkon, gym robe, Thai oil, Vaseline, hand wraps and tape had been packed and ready to go to Rajadamnern stadium.
My opponent threw an up elbow in my direction then smiled, I just gave him a smile back and turned to my dad and said “he’ll regret that”.
The stadiums in Thailand are not like a football stadium or how you would expect a “stadium” to look, the changing rooms (or should I say room) is definitely not as luxurious as a football stadium changing room. 1 room with a load of old wooden tables and some groggy showers and toilet cubicles, with every single fighter and their corner men filling one table each – there were no blue corner or red corner changing rooms.
I hadn’t seen my Thai opponent weigh in so I was getting my Sherlock Holmes on and tried to scope out who my opponent could be. As I looked around I caught eye contact with a Thai lad who looked similar size to me I was sure it was him but I didn’t want to ask and seem like I was bothered.
I then got oiled up for the pre-fight massage, the Thai trainers absolutely caked me in the stuff I looked like I should feature in Madame Tussauds! After the massage had finished I sat up on my table and made eye contact again with the same Thai, he was now shadow boxing whilst looking at me dead in the eyes – he then threw an up elbow in my direction then smiled, I just gave him a smile back and turned to my dad and said “he’ll regret that”.
My hands had been wrapped, they were as solid as a rock I then got called up to put on the official fight gloves – beautiful black and red Raja 6 ounce gloves. They were rock hard and I could feel my knuckles through the gloves, love it!
Time was ticking and it was getting closer and closer to the fight, my trainer had said his final prayer before putting the gym robe and mongkon on me and then we were taken out to the arena. I was sat down on wooden bench watching the fight before me sat next to my opponent!
The crowd were going absolutely bonkers, it was the same sound I’d heard in videos on Youtube and it was the sound I dreamed of for a long time. The gamblers and the crowd bellowing every time one of the fighters threw a shot and the longer the round went on the louder it got. In the end I remember it being an absolute one sided beat down and it ended in a referee’s stoppage. The fighter who lost walked past me with 2 big cuts on his face from elbows the blood was pouring down his face and chest he looked like he was in a lot of pain… probably not what I needed to see before my first professional fight, however I was in the zone and so focused and had that young 15 year old kid fearless mentality.