A few months ago when I was running with the kids, I told them the first fighter to win a title for the gym would get a gold chain.
Gold in Thailand is very symbolic, more than just a piece of jewelry it represents money saved. For Thai people it's an asset that they proudly wear.
I remember looking at the kids in front me thinking that it would be at least another two years before one of them got a title shot.
Since Bpaet's last lost in November he has fought tirelessly; taking fights on just hours notice, fighting multiple times in a week. In just three months, Bpaet fought and won a total of 14 times.
He grew so much as a fighter during that time, both technically and mentally. The fights weren't easy as he was fighting the best in Isaan.
He hurt his shin early on and switched to a clinch fighter, learning as he went. He then turned fights around, earning the respect of the gamblers.
We did it as a gym, together. This was Muay Thai. The long drives, that turned into long nights. The new territories and opponents we had never heard of. We did it all.
And then, on the night of his fourteenth victory, Champ Boxing Magazine offered him a title shot.
It was set to be Bpaet’s first time cutting weight. Looking back, he had never even really trained that hard before. Instead, it has been three years— the daily grind, paced.
When the promoter asked if he could make the weight, we didn't really know what to say. Everyone cuts weight differently, and many fighters just flat out refuse.
It was his first full fight camp, something changed in Bpaet. Training twice a day, he began to diet. A few days out, the weight cut started. Come the morning of the fight, Bpaet was on weight.
Four trucks loads of people followed Bpaet to the venue in Mahasarkham. As cliche as it sounds, there was something in the air that night, it was Bpaet’s night.
The sparkle in his eye twinkled even more that night, no one was going to stop him.
For five rounds straight, Bpaet put on a practically flawless performance; one that left the gamlbers in disbelief. His opponent hung in there until the final bell, but it was no surprise when Bpaet finally won.
The next day I took him to the gold shop and bought him his chain.