Team is one of Petchrungruang’s fighters. He’s been training with us for 5 years (his fight name is “Mahahaeng”, which means “great fortune”) and lives in one of the apartment rooms that encircle the gym itself. Team’s older sister and her two kids (one girl, one boy) live in that apartment, along with Team’s mother, who runs a small restaurant stall at the front of the gym. She offers a wide seleciton of stir-fried, single-dish meals and it’s a social place for gym members to gather for a bite after training in the evenings. During training in the ring we can often smell the delicious aromas of her cooking as it wafts through the gym.
This September Team will be making his debut at Omnoi Stadium in Bangkok. He has fought once before at Lumpinee, but his weight is still too low for him to be a regular stadium fighter. He fights at 40 kg (88 lbs) and the Bangkok stadiums have a 100 lbs minimum for the main shows. Still, it’s a good challenge for Team, who has cut his teeth fighting at the local stadiums in Pattaya and at festival shows around the Chonburi area. He’s a tough fighter, very quick and keen to throw kicks and heavy punches before locking his opponents in a low clinch and often taking them down. At 15 years old and walking around at about 43 kg, Team is in an interesting position at the gym: he’s older than most of the boys his size and significantly smaller than most of the boys his age/level. Team has already fought about 60 times. So matching him up in training for sparring or clinch is an exercise in Team’s skill raising the level of the younger boys or his own size being a significant challenge in raising his own skills against the bigger boys at his age range. In either case, Team always rises to the challenge.