In the past few years, Chadd Collins has blown up in the international Muay Thai scene. Chadd has taken on plenty of big names from Thailand and racked up some impressive victories in his short career.
When Chadd fought the legendary Saenchai, he used his aggressive style and gas tank to wear down the legend. Even though Saenchai won the 3 round fight, Saenchai looked gassed by the end of the fight. If the fight was a full 5 round fight under Thai rules, the results could have easily been different.
Chadd Collins represents a new generation of young Australian fighters who are making a name for themselves.
In this interview with Chadd, he breaks down his fighting career and talks about what it is like to fight some of the best fighters in the world. He talks about what it is like to fight your favorite fighter in front of a crowd of 50,000 people. He also breaks down some important differences between fighting a Thai fighter and a foreigner.
For the people who haven’t heard about you before, could you give us an introduction about yourself? (Your current gym, fight record, some big names you’ve fought and a short background of how you got started training Muay Thai?)
Chadd Collins: Hi my names Chadd Collins, I’m 22 years old, and I’m from Queensland, Australia. I train out of Sangtiennoi Muay Thai Camp in Bangkok, Thailand. In Australia, I fight out of 350 Fitness under Clayton Collyer. My fight record is 55 fights coming out with 43 wins and 22 by knock out.
My father has always had Thai boxing gyms throughout my childhood, so I guess you could say I was born into it. I had my first fight at 11 years old and from then on it was my dream to base myself out of Thailand, years went by, dreams came true, and now I’ve fought some of the biggest names such as; Saenchai, Pakorn, Seksan and Sakmongkol ect.
When I watch your fights, I notice that you love pressing forward and trading blows with your opponent. Would you say that you are a naturally aggressive fighter, someone who likes to get in a scrap or is that something you developed through fighting?
Chadd Collins: I would say that I’m a naturally aggressive fighter because of my upbringing with my father who always taught me to always fight with heart and over the years I’ve learned to love the thrill of standing there letting all hell cut loose.
You’ve fought a lot of different types of fighters in the past few years. From the elite skilled fighters like Saenchai, to the brawlers like Saeksan and a whole lot more. Which fighting style do you enjoy matching up with the most and which style gives you the most trouble in the ring?
Chadd Collins: I enjoy fighting Thai boxers the same as Parkorn and Seksan. I like an active fight, where both my opponent and I are going to stand there and trade leather. Honestly, I’m not really bothered by any styles and techniques, it’s what makes every fight and every opponent unique.
What are some of the biggest differences that you notice when you face a Thai fighter from Thailand vs. a fighter from Australia or abroad? What are some of the difficulties you experience against Thais and what are some challenges that foreigners have? I can imagine foreigners use their hands a lot more in the ring?
Chadd Collins: I personally think that Thais have their range worked out perfect and understand the game more like knowing the ins and outs of scoring or knowing how to control the fight; their pace, their range, and timing. Whereas with foreigners, they think more so inflict damage, hurt, knockout your opponent as soon as possible and rely on fitness.
Fighting Thai’s is like a game of chess, you have to know how to play the game like getting the last kick, the last knee, and fourth round is the most important round, all this comes into factor when fighting a Thai. Then fighting a foreigner, it’s going to be from round one to round five, fast-paced fight and yeah foreigners use their hands more so than a Thai would. Foreigners definitely dominate with punching
So far in your career, who would you consider the toughest fighter you have faced so far? Why was the fighter so hard and what lessons did you learn after that fight? (You can name a few fighters if you can’t think of one)
Chadd Collins: I would say the toughest fighter I have fought would be Seksan but the toughest fight I’ve had would be with Roy Wills. Seksan was the toughest because he was an A grade Raja fighter which meant he was a fully seasoned boxer and Roy was the toughest fight because I was young and hungry and Roy was the top dog. I learned so much from Roy as he was relentless, I learned the importance to block and evade kicks.
Watch Chadd’s fight vs. Saeksan:
Your fighting style requires you to have a strong gas tank to keep pushing the pace. What does your training schedule look like? How do you make sure that you are at peak fitness before you enter the ring? Do you incorporate long runs and conditioning to your training?
Chadd Collins: It’s pretty hectic, I mean we wake up at 6 am and run ten kilometers. As soon as we get back to the gym that’s when training begins, we wrap our hands and shadow for five minutes, then pad work, 5×5 rounds then clinching for forty minutes straight, bag work for fifteen to twenty-five minutes.
Then we do our conditioning which on the bag that includes doing our jumping knees, push kicks, kicks, head kicks, push ups, chin ups, tire flips, neck ups and finish it off with sit-ups and same in the afternoon but instead, we run five kilometers instead of ten. If we are fighting soon then, we’ll do pad work twice, once at the start of the session and then again after clinching. I listen to my trainer and have my 100% belief in what he is teaching me as he knows what’s best for me and my fight camp.
Anyone who has fought before knows that a lot of the fight game is mental. I’ve seen some fighters look amazing in training and the moment the bell rings they are a shell of themselves. You are the type of fighter that thrives in the ring. In fact, sometimes it looks like you enjoy it a little bit too much. Why do you think you are able to perform so well when you fight? Do you love the competition or is it something you are used to from previous sports etc?
Chadd Collins: I think it all just works for me because I genuinely enjoy Thai boxing and the thrill that comes with it all, the fight camp, the dieting, the weight cut and finally stepping in the ring facing a new opponent every time and having all eyes on you. Showing no fear but being as humble as I can. It’s all apart of what helps me perform well. The biggest positive, the mental push would be knowing how hard you trained and the easiest part is the fight as Sangtiennoi pushes you to your limits.
Most fighters experience some sort of fear before a fight? Whether it’s being afraid to lose, or even not having a good performance, fear is an ever-present constant in a lot of minds. What are some of your biggest fears that you experience and how do you overcome those fears?
Chadd Collins: My biggest fear personally, before fights would be people watching me fight and saying I fight bad or I’m boring to watch or I’m nothing special. That’s the last thing I would want, win or lose I always want to leave a lasting impression.
The days leading up before a fight can often be restless for a lot of people. The mind has a way of running through a lot of worst-case scenarios and putting them on repeat. I know that some fighters use visualization and meditation to help clear their mind before a fight? Are there any mental strategies that you use to help your performance in the ring?
Chadd Collins: I try to sleep as much as I can in the last few days leading up to my fight when my mind starts to wander and I get nervous I’d tell myself I need to stop thinking about the fight and just block it out for the time being. Until I’m driving to the venue and that’s when I switch on and let it all in.
Fighting in Thailand
You’ve fought on some big shows in Thailand and in the top stadiums like Rajadamnern. What is the best show that you have fought on so far in terms of atmosphere and overall experience before and after the fight? Why was that experience so special to you?
Chadd Collins: I would probably have to say my fight with Saenchai on Thai fight in Yala, it was so crazy. I was getting escorted to and from the venue and airport with army tanks and police following the car, there were fifty thousand people that turned up that night and watched me fight such a legend in Thai boxing. It was just such an experience I will never forget. It wasn’t only that though, I still can’t get my head around the fact that I was able to share the ring with Saenchai, I only remember when I was little and watched videos of him and then going toe to toe with him a couple of years later, I’m still speechless to this day and feel so privileged.
Here is the fight between Chadd vs. Saenchai:
What are some of the biggest differences that you have noticed when you fight in Thailand vs. Australia? What are some of the pros and cons of fighting in each country?
Chadd Collins: I would probably say one of the biggest differences is the scoring and how the game works. Fighting in Thailand, the Thais play smart and try to control the fight whereas fighting in Australia, people just want to inflict more damage.
So far in Thailand, you have fought some elite Thai fighters. Beating fighters like Saeksan, and losing a pretty close fight to the legendary Saenchai. (I thought you put on an excellent performance against Saenchai.) What is going through your head when you find out that you get to find someone who is considered a legend in the sport?
Chadd Collins: When I got matched up with Saenchai, I thought this is so epic but then I remember and think about the training camp and start to realise what I have to go through before the fight and then I sort of forget who I’m fighting because my mind wanders elsewhere and because I’m so stuck into training, I don’t have time to get excited or even think who I’m fighting for that matter.
If you could fight any opponent in the upcoming year, who would you want to fight and why would you want to fight that person?
Chadd Collins: I would want to have a rematch with Saenchai but have it five rounds this time not just three., I would also like to be matched up Ognjen Topic because he’s well up in the ranks and very known in the U.S and I’d like to make my statement and I would like to be more international with my fight career as it has been my dream to travel and fight the world’s best.
What are your future goals? Do you want to be a WBC World Champion? Do you have any milestones you set for yourself or do you just plan on pushing yourself and seeing how far it takes you?
Chadd Collins: Right now I am looking at one of the two stadium belts (Lumpinee or Rajadamnern) I would love to fight for a Raja or Lumpinee Stadium belt and also just push myself and see how far I can make it in this sport.
Thanks for taking the time to do the interview. I wish you the best of luck in your journey and hope you continue to have the success that you have achieved so far.