17 Female Muay Thai Fighters I’ve Interviewed
It was not my explicit intention to be an interviewer of female fighters, but from the very beginning I’ve found women that I wanted to talk to, to find out more about, and ultimately to share with others. As it turns out I’ve interviewed a fair number of fighters, both in person and telecommunicatively. There is great variety here: Natalie Fuz, Jill Guido, Linda Ooms, Frances Watthanaya, Chantal Ughi, Sylvie Charbonneau, Iman Barlow, Anne Quinlan, Kelly Creegan, and Stacey Scapeccia, Emma Thomas, Angie and Chocolate Onyx MMA, Kaitlin Young, Loma Lookboonmee and Chommanee Sor. Tehhiran.
Kate Allen-Cottone – Video | Thailand 2016
Kate Allen-Cottone is a fighter in the ring, and she’s a woman who took a great leap, left her career to follow her passion and open up a gym, 8 Limbs Muay Thai Academy in West Philly, a gym which reflected the values she felt were important. Loved talking to this tough lady who has dedicated her life to her passion.
Loma Lookboonmee & Chommanee Sor. Tehhiran – Video | Thailand 2016
Loma and Chommanee are arguably the best female Muay Thai fighters at their weight, in the world. They also are a Tom and Dee couple for two years now, female Muay Muay Thai’s “power couple” in a way. I visited them at Loma’s home gym in Buriram, Isaan, where they were taking some time after coming home with Gold’s against Vietnam.
Kaitlin Young – Video | Thailand 2016
Kaitlin Young has been a pioneer in female MMA and as I interviewed her here at Dejrat Gym in Bangkok she talks about how she has moved away from MMA and back to her first love of Muay Thai. Dejrat Gym is the home of the Thai National Team and their coach Arjan Surat, and Kaitlin was spending a month there absorbing all the incredible technique and Thai style training.
Chocolate Onyx MMA – Video | Thailand 2016
Chocolate is a female fighter for Onyx MMA in Singapore, who came and trained with me at Petchrungruang. We sat down for a quick little interview after training as the light was fading, and the gym was quieting down, discussing her move to Onyx, her goals and passion for fighting.
Emma Thomas – Video | Thailand 2016
Emma has been living, training and fighting in Bangkok since 2011, and has a wealth of knowledge and experience as a female fighter. She not only devotes herself to Muay Thai fully, but also supports herself through teaching English, a job she says she truly loves. She’s a personal friend of mine, and the writer of the blog Under the Ropes. In this interview I wanted to talk to her about the things she and I talk about a lot, mostly about how you separate out typical Thailand fighting chaos, from genuine lack of support. You can read more about our time together and training here.
Angie – Video | Thailand 2015
Angie is a Kathoey who started training at Petchrungruang only a few months before I shot this interview of her. At first it was just once per week, on Sunday afternoons, which is a slow day at the gym. But she quickly got stronger – I could see it from afar, even before we really started interacting with each other, other than a smile of recognition back and forth – her passion for Muay Thai is evident. In a short amount of time, Pi Nu started saying that Angie was strong and could fight this guy who had recently had a match against one of the kid’s fathers (an older westerner). I interviewed her with her first fight coming up. You can read about the interview here.
Kelly Creegan – Video | Thailand 2015
Kelly trains out of Sitmonchai Gym in Kanonchanaburi, west of Bangkok. I became aware of Kelly through her fantastic blog “It’s Pandamonium!”, which is an absolute joy to read because she’s very funny, straight-forward and is a fighter. She’s also a somewhat “high profile” western fighter in Thailand since she’s been on World Muay Thai Angels a couple times and faced one of the biggest names of Thai female fighters. We got to talking a bit online and I felt like we got to know each other, so it was very comfortable meeting her in person for the first time when I came to do this interview. I was still nervous, but every moment with her was a joy. I like Kelly a lot. You can read a little about this Kelly interview here.
Frances Watthanaya – Video | Thailand 2014
I met Frances online when she was still living in Canada, finishing up her studies at university. At the time she was planning her move back to Thailand with her husband and young daughter and when we did this interview she’d been back in Buriram for less than a year. But Frances is a planner and doesn’t side-step anything she sets her mind to, so in that short time she’d already made big changes in her community and was gearing up for a tournament in China, a big card and she was still getting back into fighting after a long time away for school and family. Frances has established herself as the western beacon in Isaan, writing articles for various blogs, vanguarding social media for her gym at the time, Giatbundit Gym, and since this interview has opened her own gym.
Anne Quinlan – Video | Thailand 2013
I knew of Anne Quinlan only through the fandom of Rosy Haward, who runs the Female Muay Thai on Facebook page and excitedly talks about Anne as a pioneer in female Muay Thai in the UK. It wasn’t until actually meeting Anne, quite by accident (she appeared at one of my fights in Chiang Mai), that I realized how much she is a trailblazer. She came out to Thailand at a time when I didn’t believe any western women were diving into the world of Thai gyms in Thailand. She’s an amazing woman and, though the footage is hard to find, seeing her fight in these old videos is just incredible. And while she won’t acknowledge it, seeing her hit pads just for fun at my gym for a few minutes was still very impressive – you can’t take that kind of love and skill out of an ex-fighter; she’s still got wicked hooks! I still have a part 2 of this interview I need to publish! You can read about Anne and the Interview here.
Iman Barlow – Skype | New York, USA 2013
Iman is one of the biggest names in current female Muay Thai. She’s known as a phenom due to her relentless style and winning record, but even so it’s not universally known just how unique Iman’s story is. At 19 years old (at the time of this interview), Iman had over 100 amateur and pro fights and had been training Muay Thai – including in Thailand – with her Muay Thai family for most of her life. She’s very unique, very confident, funny and charming. It was fun talking with Iman. You can find Iman on Facebook here. You can read a transcript of my interview with Iman here.
Jill Guido – Skype Interview | New York, USA 2011
Jill and I crossed paths on a fight card in NYC way back in 2010, my first fight back in New York after visiting Thailand for the first time. Her person, her attitude and her ring presence (and style) made a huge impression on me and I was and still am a big fan of Jill. I wrote a blog post about my appreciation for her here.
Sylvie Charbonneau – Video | Thailand 2010
Sylvie was my original inspiration for training in Thailand, fighting here, and indeed where I chose to go and how I shaped my goals. Sylvie is from Calgary, Canada and appears seemingly out of the Ether every now and again here in Thailand. I’m always happy to see her. I’ve written about her many times as she is such an inspiration to me, but this was an interview from the first time I came to Thailand when we first met in person.
Chantal Ughi – Video | Thailand 2010
Chantal had been in Thailand for a while before I ever discovered her, but she’s a big name in the global online Muay Thai community and I was happy to get the chance to interview her at her gym near Bangkok at the time. Chantal is one of the first women I encountered who really, truly promoted herself online, something all female fighters have to do to some degree.
Stacey Scapeccia – Video | Connecticut, USA 2010
Stacey owns and runs her own gym in Connecticut. She and I had far more intersections of connection than I’d realized before actually meeting her in person, incidentally which was when I was matched against one of her fighters. Stacey is simply badass. She’s her own woman; she’s fiercely independent and I can’t say a bad thing about her. I wish I’d run into her more.
Linda Ooms – Phone Interview | New York 2010
Linda is from the Netherlands and I think I became aware of her simply because we’re relatively similar in size. She was a recognized name on the European circuit and talking with her for this interview after her loss to Betrian was a real treat for me.
Natalie Fuz Retirement Film and Interview | New York 2009
Natalie is a pioneer of female Muay Thai in the US. I met her shortly before her retirement from fighting and her subsequent launch into opening her own gym in NYC, Chok Sabbai. She was a big inspiration to me and was my fight coach for a year of my fighting in the US between my first trip to Thailand and moving here. She’s awesome. Attending her retirement fight was my first time being at a professional “Muay Thai show”.