Skip to main content

Tag: featured

My Hardest Fight Camp ever

Share Now :

My whole career even since I was a junior, I have always put 100% into my fight camps and always took the job in hand seriously, whether it was an amateur bout or a world title professional fight. At the end of each fight camp, I told myself I don’t think I could have put any more of my being into training for the fight – however in September 2017 I realised I was to be mistaken…

Preparing to face Rungnarai Kiatmoo9

After winning my 2nd World title in August against Ryan Sheehan I had a week or so of the standard post win celebrations, but after that it was straight back to business as I was set to face current Rajadamnern and Thailand champion Rungnarai Kiatmoo9.

I knew that I had to put 150% focus in to this fight camp in order to even be competitive…

I knew that I had to put 150% focus in to this fight camp in order to even be competitive with such an opponent, so I went back to Bangkok to train at Petchyindee for the first time in 3 years. I went 6 weeks prior to fighting to ensure I did 4 solid weeks of training/torture.
The reason I went back to Petchyindee is because they were very familiar with Rungnarai’s style (as he was fighting monthly on Petchyindee promotions and he had fought a lot of Petchyindee fighters in the past) so they knew him inside out and knew the game plan they set out could be the difference between winning and losing the fight.

Training camp in Thailand

The first week of training in Thailand is always difficult – the humidity sucks the soul out of your body making it so hard to breathe during rounds. So, I eased into it guided by Hot (Petchyindee’s sport science trainer), he was monitoring my heart rate from the start and giving me advice on where he wanted me to be week by week.
After 1 week of settling in, training twice every day, it was time to start upping the intensity – this meant the distance of runs and number of rounds were increased and a lot of red zone training! The running was what started to kill me straight away (as it always does when training in Thailand), running 10km every morning at 5:30am always writes my calf muscles off. 3 days into the week of training, my calf muscles and quadriceps were cramping badly due to the runs and sprints, so trying to find the energy to do any other type of training was always difficult but you had to grind it out.

The last 2 weeks of camp were up there with the toughest of my career…

The last 2 weeks of the camp were definitely up there with the toughest weeks of my fight career and really got me questioning a lot, ‘is it worth it?’. I used to always ask myself daily and me and Savvas had to boost each other up and remind each other why we were there.
I genuinely don’t think the training could have been any harder, especially having the sport science trainer making sure you’re in the right zone in terms of heart rate – there is no slacking when the stats are on a screen showing whether you can work harder or not!
The pad rounds were just unbelievably hard, it was literally like torture at times but I knew for this fight I had to go above and beyond to win. The training was so hard that I didn’t even realise how good my trainers were in terms of setting out a game plan for the fight, my mind and body was so tired that I didn’t really appreciate how good they were at the time because I probably disliked them at that point!
  • dan-mcgowan-petchyindee-fight-camp3

  • dan-mcgowan-petchyindee-fight-camp2

  • dan-mcgowan-petchyindee-fight-camp1

How did I get through it?

It’s amazing how powerful your mind is. A strong mindset is the key to success.

Well a lot of massages, vitamin B12 shots every week, ice baths daily and a vision of beating one of the best fighters in the world which I’d dreamt of since I was a kid.
It’s amazing how powerful your mind is. A strong mindset is the key to success, the hard work in the gym definitely helped me develop a bulletproof mindset for this fight. Having like-minded people around me was a massive help – me and my brother from another mother Savvas Michael definitely helped each other keep strong when times were hard and having someone with his work ethic around me was a massive massive help to me.
I won the biggest fight of my career by 3rd round KO and it just cemented what I already knew in my head – that hard work and self-belief really does pay off – no fight was ever going to be harder than that training camp.

My fight camp training regime

Monday to Saturday
Morning Session: 5:30am
  • 10 – 13km run
  • 2 x 5mins rounds bag work
  • 300 swing knees
  • 300 teeps
  • 100 kicks (power)
  • Ab workout (any exercise) 300 reps
  • Chin ups
Evening Session: 4:00pm
  • 1x5mins Shadow Boxing
  • 2/3 times a week Boxing Sparring – 3 x 5mins rounds
  • 2/3 times a week Technical / Play Sparring – 3 x 5mins rounds
  • 2 x 10mins rounds pads then 1 x 5mins round

    Before the start of each round:

    • 40 speed punches
    • 40 speed kicks (20 each leg)
    • 40 speed knees (20 each leg)
    • 40 elbows
  • 1 x 30mins of clinching
  • 5 x Incline sprints on the treadmill (sometimes speed or sets varied)
  • 300 x ab workout
  • 100 x press ups

    ** Sometimes Hot the sport science trainer would add on some sort of bodyweight strength exercise for good measure.

Continue reading

The Worst Weight Cut of my career

Share Now :

After my biggest career win in October 2017 against current Rajadamnern and Thailand champion Rungnarai Kiatmoo9 I was given the call to fight yet another stadium superstar in Wanchalong PK Saenchai who was current Lumpinee and Channel 7 champion at the time.
We were scheduled to fight in December in China on ‘Top King World Series’. Beating Rungnarai was a career highlight for sure but this fight was even bigger!
I started my fight camp in Norway with head coach of Norwegian Combat Academy Thom Whillock before heading to Petchyindee Academy in Bangkok to finish the last 4 weeks of the camp.

The big problem was the Tanadet fight was at 53kg which I had not made for about 3/4 years.
After hours of sitting in stand still traffic I arrived at my home away from home, Petchyindee, but it wasn’t the arrival I was expecting – the boss of the gym (Boat) welcomed me in to the gym with some bad news – that Top King World Series had been cancelled and my fight with Wanchalong was now not going ahead – gutted was an understatement! However the lucky thing about being sponsored by Petchyindee is that they are the biggest promoters in Thailand so Boat went to work and tried to find me a match.
After a lot of negotiations, let downs and changes to the opponent we finally got Tanadet Tor Pran49 to accept the fight. Tanadet had fought and beaten some of the biggest names at his weight so it was a great replacement fight, the big problem was his manager wanted me to cut down to 117lbs (53kg) which I had not made for about 3/4 years. I knew it was going to be a tough cut but really under estimated how hard it actually was going to be especially as I now only had 2 weeks to make the weight.
I always struggled with cutting weight in Thailand as you weigh in on the same day as the fight.
I always struggled with cutting weight in Thailand as you weigh in on the same day as the fight and struggled to track what I was eating and how many calories I was eating.
It’s always been a case of “do it how the Thais do it” which is a week before the fight put the sweat suit on and run in the blistering heat twice a day and just cut down on food day by day.
So Monday morning comes when it was time to get the sweat suit out I checked my weight in the morning… 61kg! I had 8kg to cut and was fighting on the Friday.

Dan McGowan and Savvas Michael

My heart dropped and I thought “maybe I have bit off more than I can chew here” but I cracked on and luckily had my man Savvas Michael to share the experience with me as he was fighting the same day on the same card.
It was going relatively smoothly the weight was shifting quicker than expected I was eating a Thai dish called Suki twice a day which is some sort of Thai soup which is actually very nice but after this experience I can’t bring myself to eat it ever again.
It got to Wednesday and I was starting to struggle I was still only about 58kg and I was trying to force myself to eat this suki, gagging on it when I was eating it and the runs in the 35 degrees heat were getting tougher and tougher.
I woke up Thursday and still had 4kg to lose after cutting from 61kg I was feeling tired and lethargic and just simply sick of cutting weight.
I stumbled around the gym trying to find the energy and motivation to put my sweat suit back on, I had the infamous Pig (Ben Lucas) there to uplift me along with Savvas so we got on our way. About 20mins in to the run I came to a stop my body just wouldn’t allow me to carry on, I had Savvas saying “push yourself bro” which was pissing me off even more because I literally couldn’t push anymore – Ben on the other hand just held me up and just stayed quiet.
I had lost about 1.5kg in that run which was so so disheartening. I went to sleep and woke up at 4pm to go out again… I had 3.5kg to lose from now (4pm) til 6am the next morning and I was already completely drained, again I dragged my sorry ass out of bed and went out for the run.
I slowly plodded along until I collapsed on the side of the road I was exhausted and so dehydrated
I say went out for the run I had enough energy to run for 5mins before having to stop and walk for most of the route, Petchdam urged me on near the end to keep on running so I slowly plodded along until I collapsed on the side of the road I was exhausted and so dehydrated I had no money to buy any water so Pecthdam ran to the shop and bought me a bottle of water I genuinely thought I was going to end up in hospital at this point.
I took my sweat suit off and Pecthdam and Savvas put both my arms around them and carried me back to the gym.
It was one of the worst experiences I have ever had and all I kept thinking was the exact same thing happened to former opponent (who then turned in to a friend of mine) Jordan Coe – he passed away due to these crazy methods of trying to lose weight in Thailand, lucky for me I had Petchdam, Savvas and Ben Lucas to help me through it.
When I got back to the gym I managed to slump myself on the scales I had lost 3kg without barely running and I also had a big bottle of water so no wonder my body gave up on me.
  • Dan McGowan v Tanadet weigh in

    Dan McGowan v Tanadet weigh in

  • Wanchalong PK Saenchai v Dan McGowan fight poster

    Wanchalong PK Saenchai v Dan McGowan fight poster

That night I facetimed my dad he was shocked at how gaunt I looked, “you look like shit boy” is the phrase that came out of his mouth I am pretty sure. And I moaned to him that I had nothing left to give and if I was slightly over in the morning I will refuse to lose anymore.
The morning came and I was 300 grams over the weight… do you think I refused to run anymore? Obviously not!
How am I going to get through the fight feeling like this?
So to put it in to perspective its 5:30am on Friday I am fighting at around 6/7pm that night yet I was running round Rangsit stadium and was blowing out of my ass after 2 minutes of running I was in such a bad way. “How am I going to get through the fight feeling like this?” Is what was going through my head as I nearly cried myself to fight weight.
I jumped on the scales again completely naked with Thai TV cameras just filming me, at this point I did not give a shit about anything I just needed water and needed it quick! I made the weight 53kg! But before being able to relax I had to do interviews and photoshoots for the TV again, before rushing back and getting put on an IV drip.

This is the final part of a nightmare story (which had a happy ending luckily)…
I only had half of the IV drip in the end which was terrible considering the weight cut I just had.
In Thailand no health and safety really exists so one of the trainers put the IV drip needle in to my vein this is standard in Thailand if you know you know, however the needle had slipped out of my vein whilst I was asleep and I was awakened by a bad pain in my arm, the drip wasn’t going in to my bloodstream but was just going in to my arm causing it to swell up so I had to scream for the trainer to come and stop it from happening!
We had no more needles either so I only had half of the IV drip in the end which was terrible considering the weight cut I just had and the fact I had to fight in 10 hours or so!
I was lucky enough to get a big win and somehow pull out one of the best performances of my career however it could of went so wrong in so many different ways.
Weight cutting is no joke and has taken people’s lives.
It was a massive learning curve for me I know as fighters we have to go through it to a certain degree but I really pushed my luck this time and it was a big scare.
There is a science behind weight cutting and losing weight and from now on that is how I will be making weight avoiding as much water cutting as possible in the future and would advise any other fighters to do the same.
A big thanks to Savvas Michael, Ben Lucas and Petchdam for being by my side during the weight cut, without them I would of ended up in hospital or possibly worse.

Continue reading

My Injury Journey – Part 1

Share Now :

In the first of a new mini-series for his youtube channel, Dan McGowan talks candidly for the first time about his struggles with injury which started in January 2017.
In this first part, Dan talks about his journey from the initial moment his hand injury occured in training up until his recent successful operation in June 2020.

Continue reading

Fight Talk – Dan McGowan & Mathias Gallo Cassarino

Share Now :

In the latest episode of “Fight Talk”, Dan McGowan talks to Italian Muay Thai star Mathias Gallo Cassarino.
As two European fighters who have both lived, trained and fought regularly in Thailand, both Dan and Mathias have many experiences to compare about the challenges of being a foreigner in Thailand and the world of Muay Thai.

Continue reading

The best time of my life as a fighter

Share Now :

As soon as I stepped foot in to a Muay Thai gym I loved everything about the sport, the beautiful violence, the respect, the culture the traditional side of the sport it is truly a unique sport and until you step foot and embrace the Muay Thai gym you just wouldn’t understand what I am talking about.
I have had some absolutely amazing times and memories through the sport and plan on making a lot more memories, however up until this point of my career I can hands down say the best time of my Muay Thai career was the 4 years I spent at Liam’s Gym/Superpetch.
I loved everything about the sport – the beautiful violence, the respect, the culture and the tradition
Liam’s gym was formed by the late Liam Robinson, a man who had a rare eye for detail, a huge passion for the sport, his personal life even revolved around the sport and he literally put his fighters first over basically everything – when I say everything he even went to corner Panicos in Ireland on his wedding anniversary, that was the kind of dedication he showed towards his fighters.
He had such a good balance of being a brother to all of us in the gym but he could flick the switch straight to business mode when we were preparing for fights.
We would be hitting pads and he would be on militant mode but as soon as the bell went for the break it was always straight back to bantering and some body was always being ripped in to.

I first started training with Liam when I was 14 years old, he had already started building a solid little team by this point when I first went to the gym – he had people like Mason Harris who had just come off a win against now MMA superstar Darren Till, Sheree Halliday who was fighting all over the world against the best female fighters he also had a top prospect in Sam Omomogbe.
Then you had “the pig” Ben Lucas, who was beating up adults when he was about 14 but had a long layoff from the sport, but by chance his first training session back was my first training session at Liams.
I instantly fell in love with Liam’s style of training, how he explained the fine details of certain techniques and showed me how to score in Muay Thai. I was constantly learning…
The first session I done with Liam I instantly fell in love with his style and format of training, I loved how he explained the fine details of certain techniques and loved how he took his time to explain and show me how to score in Muay Thai.
The good thing about Liam training us was that he was still an active fighter himself so he trained alongside us every day to so I was constantly learning from him.

As the years went on our team built stronger and stronger and the team was getting bigger and bigger and it was becoming a force to reckoned with in the world of Muay Thai.
It sounds cliché but Superpetch was one massive family and I think the atmosphere in the gym and Liam’s style of coaching was what made such a strong team.
Some days my Mum and Dad couldn’t get me to Northampton which was about a 2 hour round trip, due to having to work and look after my little sisters, so I had to get a bus and a train to training sometimes which made a 2 hour round trip about a 3 hour round trip – but I didn’t care, I would get in from school and would be buzzing to go to the gym to train hard but also to just have a laugh with all the lads and ladies.
There was always someone telling mad stories and there were constantly laughing fits in the gym, whether it was Pig telling us another disgraceful story or Forrest giving it the big one on BBM (Blackberry Messenger) and getting absolutely battered by Liam, there was just always something we were all pissing ourselves over.
There were so many big characters in the gym, there was never a dull moment and I’m pretty sure everyone earnt themselves some sort of nickname – I had a few nicknames I probably can’t repeat on here because my Mum will be reading!
The sparring sessions with Liam were always the best, to fight for the “BSTchandamnern” title (name of the gym we trained at and Rajadamnern mixed in to one) title as we used to call it – even though it was more of a laugh we would always bring our A game!
If I was ever slightly edging a round Liam would up the tempo and pull something crazy out the bag like a spinning back fist or he used to love trying to catch me with his infamous left body hook and destroying my liver! I can always remember I managed to drop him with the exact liver shot he used to get me with one night and I claimed the BSTchandamnern title, but you better believe the next training session he mauled me and my BSTchandamnern title days were short lived!
  • Dan McGowan and Liam Robinson

  • Dan McGowan and Liam Robinson

  • Dan McGowan and Liam Robinson

  • Liams Gym sparring

  • Dan McGowan and Liam Robinson

2012 Liam organised a group trip to Thailand and a bunch of us went over for a training holiday and it’s when we all discovered Petchyindee.
Liam’s plan was to have one fighter in each weight category as number 1 so we could be at the top of UK Muay Thai.
It was honestly the best 2 weeks of my life, from the training to getting my first fight in Lumpinee stadium to absolutely ripping Ricky Sewell for getting beat up by some Thai at MBK, to constantly pranking Raymond with weird bugs and shit, to pouring electrolyte powder in to the snoring pigs mouth and to an absolute mad night out with Nong O and Sam A and a few other Petchyindee fighters on Khao San road – it was amazing and it bought us all together even more.
After this trip our training and fights levelled up, we had around 10 plus professional fighters, most of us were ranked top 3 in our weight classes in the UK and most of us were either in our twenties or late teens!
Liam’s plan was to have one fighter in each weight category as number 1 so we could be at the top of UK Muay Thai and start making waves, it started getting that way as well and I genuinely believe if he was still here most of the boys would be running their weight divisions.
I was with Liam from 14 years old to 18 years old it really was a time in my life which means a lot to me and I am so proud I was a part of such an amazing team and got represent such an amazing coach in Liam and I am pretty sure all the fighters at Superpetch feel the same way.
He taught me so many valuable lessons not just in Muay Thai, but in life.
Having someone who showed genuine care for all of his fighters and had all of our best interests at heart and wanted to push us and make us as successful as possible is very rare however it’s even more rare to find someone who done all of that and didn’t charge any of us a penny.
He used to travel to work in the day 9-5pm then travel back to train us every night, him and his wife Pardeep even made a spare room in their house for the fighters who travelled to stay in.
He taught me so many valuable lessons not just in Muay Thai but in life. He held a load of young fighters together which was really apparent when he passed away and I hope one day when I choose to go in to full time coaching I can have the same effect on young fighters with similar gyms.
If it wasn’t for Liam’s gym I am pretty certain I wouldn’t have gone as far in my career as I have and more importantly I wouldn’t be friends with lads I now class as some of my best mates. My goal in life is to take my career as far as possible and I would always dedicate my success to Liam, but also if one day I choose to go down the coaching route I want to follow Liam’s footsteps as much as I can.

Continue reading