I don't want to make this sound like a monumental event because, in reality, it was just a five-round amateur title fight at 140 pounds. At 32 years old, I stepped into the ring to face a southpaw from Georgia. I had witnessed him endure a match with a friend of mine who weighed 165 pounds, and I saw him as a formidable opponent. I admired his bravery for moving up a few weight classes to challenge Tom Heavey, even though he ultimately lost to Tom's right hand.
That became my focus during the five weeks of training leading up to the fight. I dedicated myself to perfecting the right straight hand to the body, a technique more commonly associated with American boxing rather than Thai Boxing. However, due to my height of 5'8", it was a punch that came naturally to me when facing opponents a couple of inches taller. The target, the body, was large and stationary compared to the moving head, making it an easy and effective punch to land. I never hesitated to throw it; I just went for it without holding back.
In addition to the right straight hand to the body, I had another weapon in my arsenal—a powerful left roundhouse kick. This kick was a reliable and potent tool that I had honed over time. Its effectiveness complemented my boxing skills and added another dimension to my fighting style.
So, while this fight may not have been a major event in the grand scheme of things, it was a significant moment for me. I trained diligently, focused on specific techniques, and relied on my strengths—the right hand to the body and the left roundhouse kick—to give me an edge in the ring.
I vividly recall the overwhelming fear I experienced leading up to this particular fight. I was convinced that my opponent had the power to knock me out, especially after witnessing him deliver a devastating left roundhouse kick to someone's face. On top of that, there were rumors circulating that he had fought professionally in Thailand and returned to the amateur scene in America to dominate. Naturally, this built up an intimidating image of him in my mind.
Fortunately, I had the support and guidance of my friend Tom Heavey, whom I mentioned earlier. Tom reached out to me over the phone and advised me not to show any respect to my opponent. He encouraged me to relentlessly go after him with my right hand and emphasized the importance of keeping my hands up for protection. Tom's words of wisdom and strategic advice played a significant role in boosting my confidence. Unlike my great instructor Arjan Steve, who focused primarily on training and didn't engage in much discussion with me, Tom was instrumental in helping me develop a solid game plan.
With Tom's support and insight, I started to believe in myself and my abilities. It became clear that while my opponent was formidable, I had the tools, strategy, and determination to face him head-on. Tom's mentorship and the confidence he instilled in me proved invaluable as I prepared for the fight.
Anyway, fight night arrived and I performed exceptionally well against Brian. Although I lost by decision, I realized that I had given him too much respect during the first three rounds. Surprisingly, he couldn't inflict any significant damage on me, and it became evident that he was avoiding my powerful right hand to the body and soul by the fourth and fifth rounds. I attempted to pursue him with that punch, but unfortunately, it was too late to turn the tide in my favor. Despite the outcome, I am truly grateful for the opportunity to compete. This experience has taught me a valuable lesson: when encountering fear or anxiety about being unprepared for an important task, the key is to focus on thorough preparation to ensure success.
The loss I experienced in this fight actually became a catalyst for overcoming some of my fears and boosting my self-confidence. It fueled my determination to dominate my next opponent, Jason. With a swift left roundhouse kick, I shattered his ocular bone and left him incapacitated. If there had been an additional round, I am confident that I would have gracefully guided him to the floor mat. I look back fondly on my years as a fighter and hold immense respect for the sport itself, as well as for Five Points Academy, where I honed my skills in various kicking to the face techniques.