Hey, my name is Jacky (Fighting name: Jacky Chuwatana). I was born in Hong Kong, but spent most of my life in a UK boarding school since the age of 13. When I finished university, I moved to Thailand in pursuit of my Muay Thai dreams. I have trained at a number of gyms in Thailand, including a year at Chuwatana, fighting in the famous Ratchadamnern multiple times.
Training in Thailand was not only a life changing experience mentally, it was a physical transformation as well. Over the course of a few years training in Thailand I would go from 85 kilos (187lbs) all the way down to 66 kilos (145lbs). A feat that would not have been possible without the rigorous Muay Thai training I endured on a daily basis.
I hope my experience living and fighting in Thailand can help provide you with a unique perspective on the sport that changed my life.
Life towards Muay Thai
When I was growing up, I was never into exercise, let alone combat sports. You see, I firmly believe in taking the path of least resistance. I’ll do whatever comes easiest as long as I don’t have to work for it. Most of my early years I had a very short attention span. I had a difficult time trying to learn anything for more than a month (including piano, violin, the typical Asian stuff) because I would get extremely bored and want to try something new.
The first experience in Martial Arts was in Taekwondo at the age of 6, a sport I never took very seriously and eventually quit a few months later. This laziness would later translate into excess fat in my teenage years. In those early years, I was more likely to be found eating fast food then doing any exercise at all.
One day at the age of 16 I looked in the mirror and had a realization: I WAS FAT.
This was the time I realized if I continued down the path of least resistance, I would end up with physical problems later on in life.
My first Muay Thai experience would happen in the first year of University. That year I started training Muay Thai and Boxing at the Tigers gym in Leeds. I immediately fell in love with the sport when I realized how humble and friendly the students at the gym were. This training environment would suck me right into the sport and fire my passion for Muay Thai.
After only 2 weeks of training in boxing and 3 weeks of Muay Thai I was somehow convinced to have my first interclub boxing fight. (Thanks to James Oliver, the captain of Leeds uni boxing back then) Let’s just say after only two weeks of training my first boxing fight wouldn’t go according to plan; however, this was the first time in my life I realized that I thoroughly enjoyed hitting people, even though I would barely touch my opponent in the fight.
Going to Thailand (Phuket)
Fast forward a few years later and I would eventually find myself moving to Thailand after graduation. The original plan was to stay 3 months and improve my muay thai without fighting, but those plans were quickly changed by my trainer Det (Nopadetlek Chuwatana), who insisted if I was going to train in Thailand and be serious at the sport, I would have to have a fight.
For my first fight Muay Thai fight involved KOing an out of shape Thai that took a dive. Yes, it’s true, I also fought a tuk tuk driver in Thailand. (That still pisses me off whenever I re watch the video and see my left hook landed on his shoulder as he falls over) Even though I won the fight in the first round I was not pleased after the fight.
My fight vs an English Opponent (I weigh 77 kilos here – while my current fighting is 67 kilos)
This would be the last time I would fight an out of shape Thai. The next sequence of fights would all be foreigners who were looking to win. 2 weeks after my first fight I fought a guy from the UK(maybe Scottish), in a 5 round battle and would eventually go on to win the fight by decision. After that fight I would go on to win my next 2 fights against foreigners until I fought a guy from the Netherlands.
During my 5th fight I thought I was doing pretty well up till I got dropped in the 3rd round, even though I tried to make a comeback, I eventually lost by decision. Most people told me it was a good fight and I showed a lot of heart, but I was extremely down after the fight and somehow managed to have 5 months off training altogether.
My 6th fight would come after only week of getting back to training.
What a mistake that was!
Up until this point I was walking around 77 kilos, so I was fighting big foreigners were between 75-80 kilos. You see, the problem is that I am a natural 67 kilo guy who snacked his way to 80 kilos. So it was pretty much my stomach fat vs their muscle. Not good.
I would end up fighting a Jacked Australian guy at the time who was walking around at 80 kilos. Even though he was bigger than me I won’t blame the loss on that. The truth is my hands were dropping in the whole fight, so I deserved what was coming. I was knocked down 3 times and the ref eventually decided that I had enough. After the fight I was extremely devastated after both losses. Coupled with the fact that my trainer Det was injured and unable to train me at the time, I decided to move on to Bangkok.
Moving to Bangkok
Originally, I was planning to go to Bangkok for a month or two mainly to improve myself and reflect on my last two losses. However, I was offered a fight in Rajadamnern by the boss of Chuwattana – something that I was really nervous about for a few reasons. Coming off of 2 straight losses had my questioning my fighting ability and spirit. Added to the pressure of having lost two straight losses, Rajadamnern stadium is the oldest muay thai stadium there is and one of top two main stadiums in all of Thailand – this was a place that my trainer had fought in during his prime!!!
Not only would I be fighting in this legendary stadium, it would be the first time I had to officially make weight – making weight in Thailand means you have to stand naked on a scale while dozens of guys are staring at you. Something I was not really looking forward to considering I like my privacy.
I was originally scheduled to fight at 154 pounds/ 69.9 KG (Junior Middleweight) but a day before the fight they called and changed the fight weight to 160 pounds/ 72.5 KG because my opponent couldn’t cut enough weight. No only did I not have to cut weight, I was actually 2 Kilos underweight when I walked in (I walked around 70 kg).
Back to the fight.
Right before the fight I was extremely nervous. This showed in the fight as I was actually dropped twice in the first round. Even though I don’t remember much of the fight, I would eventually get up up and carry on, losing a close fight on points to the big Scandinavian. Even though I lost the fight, the trainers told me it was very close, more importantly they said I showed heart in that fight.
This would set me up for another fight but this time at 147 pounds/ 66.7 kg, which is my current fighting weight. After realizing how much better it was fighting guys who were my size, I would decide to stay at Chuwattana for almost a year, living, training, and fighting for the camp.
Having a 3 loss streak made me train extra hard for my next fight. In that fight I managed to break my losing streak and win the fight on points against a good Japanese fighter named Nosomi IngramGym.
My fight vs. Eric Parayre:
After beating the Japanese opponent I would suffer another defeat at the hands of a Spanish fighter named Eric Parayre. The fight would go to decision and I would end up getting cut under my eye. This is also the first time I fought as the main event in Ratchadamnern, something I am still proud of today. We were supposed to have a rematch but he ended up fighting my friend Takuya Imamura (WBC Japan Champion, WPMF Japan Champion) instead.
After winning that fight, the boss at Chuwatana decided that I could start fighting some good Thai fighters instead of just foreigners. So for the first time in my fighting career, I would start to fight Thai’s, rather than foreigners.
My next three fights, I fought and beat young up and coming Thai fighters at Ratchadamnern. These three wins against quality opponents would help get me ranked in the top 10 fighters at Ratchadamnern in the welterweight category.
In my last fight in Thailand, I ended up breaking my forearm (Ulna) when my wrist twisted due to a weird block in the first round. At the time I didn’t realize I was fighting with a broken arm and fortunately managed to win the fight by KO in the second round. Following the fight, the Thai doctor told put a cast on my arm and said it would be fine in 8 weeks. However, after coming home to Hong Kong 9 weeks later, my doctor told me that I needed surgery and my bone has gone ‘dull’ and will require a longer time to heal…..
Here’s of video my last fight in Thailand:
So as of right now I am still recovering from a broken arm, dreaming about training in the sport I love. Hopefully I will be able to get back in the ring one day, so follow me as I start the long road to recovery.