What is top of every Muay Thai fighters list? Yes, you guessed it, it’s to live the dream to the full and make it as a pro! But what exactly is a pro? In our mind, it’s a fighter that can live by the means of fighting, that is to say, fighting is there major and main source of income and secures a livelihood for themselves and their families.
So how do you make it to pro “Nak Muay” status if you are a foreigner in Thailand? To help you develop, here are 8 major areas we think you should fully focus on, there are surely more but these make a good start and are absolutely essential if you’re seriously interested in becoming a pro Muay Thai fighter. Good luck!
Gym selection, trainers and training partners.
We see them come, we see them go, month after month, year after year. So many young and hopeful fighters show up at our camp and within days, sometimes only hours, they tell us their plan: To become a pro Muay Thai fighter! And this is often where the first problem lies. Camp selection, trainer selection and obviously, who are your training partners or team going to be looking forward.
More often than not, this thought process has not even been considered before arrival, the locations, options and choices are almost endless here in Thailand.
Our recommendation here is clear: DO YOUR RESEARCH AND HOMEWORK FIRST!
Consider where you want to be located for an extended period of time, try out a few gyms and trainers first before commiting to a gym, a trainer and a plan, consider who your training partners will be in the months ahead – and then commit 100%!
If you really want to get ahead as a Muay Thai fighter, it is important to set out goals and benchmarks before you begin the journey. Choose which fights you aspire to, where you want to fight, by when etc. And considering the difficulties ahead, realistically set a time frame. And write down a few dreams too! (Like winning a belt or a major stadium title for example.)
There are so many options for fighters in Thailand, consider the recognised promotions first. We at Punch it are proud of our highly professional cooperation with Phetchbuncha Samui Stadium, one of the most prestigious and recognised stadiums and promotions in South Thailand.
Every gym has its own training style, in general every trainer also has certain skills and training elements that he likes to work with. The training for serious fighters is gruelling, repetitive and often extremely intense, so up front: Be prepared and stay confident, flexible but focused. Work out a training plan that fits your needs, stick with it and trust the process. And your trainer!
Discipline in everything.
It’s been said a thousand times and we can only repeat it again: Discipline is everything! Whatever ‘Nak Muay’ life throws at you, stick with it, never give up and keep your goals front of mind. Nobody is coming to save you, your dreams are what matter most and distance proves the horse. Stay disciplined!
Sponsorship & networking.
Whenever you are not training or fighting, use your free time wisely. Get out there and network. At fight events, seminars, whatever. And get on the internet and start connecting. Write comments, blogs, posts etc, brush up your Facebook page or Instagram profile and get in touch with potential sponsors.
Yes, directly! Make a list of who might be interested in supporting and cooperating with you then hit them up. Call then, text them, email them or pay them a visit. With an idea or a plan as to why it fits. Try and get yourself a good first main sponsor first, then work on the next. And then the next and so on. And a tip up front, consider seriously what you can offer them, not otherwise!
Money matters, management and career development.
Take care of business! You are your business, a brand so to speak, nurture it with care. Find a friend or someone in the fight game you trust and discuss agency or management with them carefully. Get this person to represent you, advise you, consult with you and help you with your business and fighting decisions. Now! Next month! In the future!
Self marketing – build a strong following.
Nobody makes it alone, we all need support and supporters. Build a loyal fan base through networking (see above) and regular social media marketing. Make videos, do interesting interviews, distribute merchandise, talk about your fights and spread your word, often. An excellent way to start is just by ensuring your fights are online or by hosting your own YouTube channel.
Life after fighting.
Becoming a professional Muay Thai fighter at 30 years of age is not a serious option. Taking a fight or two for the love of Muay Thai is another matter. Here in Thailand, young fighters begin their careers at around 14-15 yrs old, already reaching champion status at 19 or 20. So before you consider your plans, get started as early as possible. Best is after finishing school, college or an apprenticeship, so you always have something to fall back on when you’re done.
Don’t forget that one day, however far away that day may seem, the dream of fighting Muay Thai for a living will come to an end. This reality is best considered now, before its too late to make changes.
Consider what you are looking forward to doing in ten years and start working on that now too! Do you want to own your own camp back home or in another country? Or would you like to become a coach? Or maybe a promoter or manager suits you best. Have a long hard think and make these choices in your mind now. And then work on them for when that day finally comes and it’s time to hang up the gloves.
If Koh Samui, one of the most beautiful islands in the world, is your choice and Punch it gym a consideration for you, we would love to have you here at the camp and work with you on reaching your goals as a fighter. Just get in touch or drop by at the gym and we can take it from there!
See you soon in Thailand!