December 31, 2014 by Melissa Ray
Well, it’s 31st December, 2014 and I feel I should mark the end of another year with some kind of roundup. On a personal level, 2014 was remarkable for me for (and I almost don’t want to tempt fate by saying it) remaining injury-free.
2014 was also the year I accepted being finished as a fighter. I had my last fight in June 2011, before surgery for torn tendons in my elbow and, later, a torn cruciate ligament put me out of training for months on end. Though Niamh Griffin wrote an article on my retirement, in my head I always believed I would fight again—more for a personal challenge than any kind of “comeback”.
But, earlier this year, I finally accepted the reality that my body isn’t the same as it was before the injuries and—more importantly—the desire is not the same. Frankly, some days, I can’t be arsed to do the hard training needed for fight fitness (hope you weren’t expecting to read anything inspiring here folks!).
For me, training is much more enjoyable without the pressure of competition, without having to do hundreds of knees on the bag, and definitely without having to cut weight for fights (though I did used to love the way I looked at my lean weigh-in weight).
So onto new goals for 2015, though I’ve yet to find an outlet that inspires me as much as fighting used to.
As a spectator, 2014 had some great moments and I was lucky to experience fights at Channel 7 Boxing Stadium, Lumpinee Boxing Stadium, Omnoi Stadium, Jitmuangnon Stadium, Thapae Boxing Stadium, Asiatique (for the Thai Fight Finals) and WPMF events at Sanam Luang, Nang Loeng Race Course and Thertthai Cockfighting Stadium, Lad Krabang.
For me, the year had two standout fights. The first was the bout between Pokaew Fongjangchonburi and Muangthai Sor Boonyiam on the Eminent Air promotion at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium on 5th August. I particularly enjoyed this fight because of the heart shown by Pokaew to steal the win against a considerably younger fighter, as well as the incredible atmosphere in the stadium. Pokaew is a real crowd favourite and it was exhilarating to get caught up in chants of his name at a very loud Lumpinee.
The second was the bout between my team mate Satanfaa Sagami and Pompeun Por Aotalaybangsaray at Channel 7 Boxing Stadium on 31st August. Satanfaa is one of the nicest, most hardworking boxers in the gym, and it had been a shame to see him lose his 118lb Channel 7 title to Sorntong Sor Yingjaroengarnchang last June. The fight with Pompeun was his first at the stadium after losing the belt and, naturally, an important one for him. Pompeun is a strong boxer and came out aggressively, but Satanfaa showed great timing to win by KO by elbow in round 2.
No doubt 2015 will bring many more great fight-watching experiences, and I also look forward to more training at Eminent Air Boxing Gym—my gym for the past 7 years—and more blog-writing. Happy new year!