On Aekpreecha Meenayoathin

Posted on: January 3rd, 2013 by Philip

On Aekpreecha Meenayoathin
In these times of instant gratification, when too often the fake and the phoney, can, often with the aid of ‘new media’ masquerade as something they are not, many of us are attracted to Muay Thai as we search for something ‘real’. Regular readers will recall my choice of this adjective to describe my friends, the boxers and trainers at 96 Penang Gym, but it may be used in relation to pretty much all the competitive boxers and their trainers in Thailand. Their realness is based on the fact that fighting is their lives; they are preparing for fights and therein the chance to make money and alleviate family poverty, and, the possibility of giving themselves some sort of a future. The economic element of the fighter’s reality means that for them fighting is work, their relaxed attitude to it the same as the checkout assistant to her job at Asda, they are similarly ‘matter of fact’ …..sometimes they win, sometimes they lose….apart from a few seconds around the final raising of the victor’s arm no emotion- joy or disappointment, is shown…..the Thai boxer just gets on with it……
Of course, the Thai boxer comes in all shapes and sizes, some look as innocent as choirboys, so that one is genuinely amazed by the power and fury they can unleash and the punishment they can take, others are unmistakably boxers, they couldn’t be anything else…….Aekpreecha Meenayoathin fits into the second category. Everything about him confirms that he must be a fighter. Every part of his body looks hard and tough, when he fights he is uncompromising, constantly stalking forward Iooking for the opening to attack with maximum power. He has a stare, not a ‘bad-ass’ Las Vegas type stare, more a focus; he is cool and ruthless, looking to finish the fight whenever he wants, he seems to be able to brush off his opponents’ attacks as a mere mortal swats an annoying fly. This approach has brought him great and deserved success, he is the current Lumpinee Champion, Thailand Champion, WMC World Champion and 2 time Toyota Vigo Cup Champion.
If one looks carefully though one will see that Aek is a lot more than just a strong, aggressive fighter. His success, like any champion sportsman, is based on a mastery of technique. He keeps a tight defence with his hands high, his chin tucked in. He constantly moves forward not just to attack but also to neutralise the effect of his opponent’s attack, he does this by moving with fleet of foot and subtly changing angles, he is usually inside his opponents range so he (the opponent) can’t land solid shots on him, sometimes he will move out of range to evade but he retaliates in a split second, using classic counter fighting technique to regain the advantage. He fights with total confidence, this confidence borne of the fact that he has drilled the same techniques thousands and thousands of times and they have worked as he has put them into practice as he has worked his way up from his beginnings on small, local shows in his native Sisaket province. Along with this confidence is the feeling that Aekpreecha really loves to fight, if he takes a shot then he is all the more determined to weather it, retain or merely maintain his composure then to counter and regain the advantage.
Aek’s mix of the physical and mental is one few opponents, Thai or International, can resist, many are intimidated by his uncompromising style and shut up shop, few can cope with him………..One man who has recently stood up to him and actually competed throughout their 5 round showdown on the recent Muay Thai Warrior Spirit show in Bangkok was the Englishman Jordan Watson. I was fortunate to be at ringside commentating; what a fight it was! Watson and Aek traded shot for shot with Jordan showing his own toughness and also often surprising the Thai with some unpredictable shots , it was a great match though one sensed that Aek always had a little bit more. His shots landed a little cleaner, he kept himself out of trouble. When the fight went to the clinch Aek really showed his skill, repea ng the Leeds boy around and thus getting the ticks on the judges’ scorecards. Watching the fight at close quarters one could see that Aek really enjoyed being pushed by Watson, Watson should be proud, he brought the best out of a great fighter.
Lots of Aek’s fights are on Youtube. In recent times he has fought overseas against many of the West’s best fighters and this is sure to be the route he will take in the future as his size and style are ideal for the Western audience. Any contender would do well to study Jordan Watson’s approach to fighting him. Anybody interested in Muay Thai should go and buy their tickets now………..!
Philip Wilson, Dec 2012

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