Charlie Peters and Saenchai headlined Thai Fight London on September 11 at the O2 Indigo, an arena which is fast becoming the premier home for the biggest events in UK Thai and kickboxing.

With worldwide attention drawn to Thai Fight London in what was billed as ‘England vs Thailand’ – although a few bouts featured UK based fighters that weren’t English – the event did not fail to deliver competitive fights full of action and the very best in Muay Thai. However, the overall results – a 7:2 defeat for England – did not fairly reflect how competitive the fights were between both fighting nations.

Charlie ‘Boy’ Peters vs. Saenchai

When most Farangs go up against the greatest pound-for-pound Thai boxer of the last decade, they tend to mentally crumble before stepping into the ring.

However, the Muay Thai Grand Prix Featherweight champion was not phased in the slightest by Saenchai and the two went the distance in a very close affair.

At points, Peters was successfully able to nullify Saenchai’s threats. Charlie Boy even managed to sweep Saenchai in round two, but was able to quickly recover without completely falling onto the canvas.

Unfortunately, when it was announced at the end of the fight that Peters had lost by decision, the volume of remonstrating boos made it very clear that the pro-Peters crowd were not in agreement with the judges.

Officials, scorecards and sanctioning

The official announcement at the end of the headlining fight did not confirm whether Sanechai’s victory was a unanimous / majority / split decision win against Peters. Had this been declared at the time, it might have helped to better understand the judges decision.

After the event, MMA PLUS did ask the Thai Fight for a copy of the scorecards to help clarify this issue and for further information about who the judges were and the independent body of officials used. However, they declined (and are not obliged to publicise scorecards) and responded with:

‘The officials were totally independent; two were from the UK and the head judge was from Thai Fight. We don’t post the judges’ official score cards. It’s just not the right thing to do but Thai Fight do keep them.’

The above was also confirmed to MMA PLUS by the World Kickboxing Association (WKA) who had sanctioned the event and that Thai Fight did indeed ‘have their own officials’.

Natty Dodds, valiant in defeat

Fight of the night was undoubtedly, Natty Dodds vs. Phum-An Sukhumvit. Dodds is still only 17-years-old (and the more experienced Sukhumvit is 19 years old) but for Dodds, this was his first ‘adult fight’ and he certainly took full advantage of this opportunity with his technically proficient performance. Dodds may not have secured the decision he wanted, however, it is evident that a new superstar was born – watch out for Natty Dodds.

Post-fight interview with Natty Dodds:

Making Thai rules more exciting and entertaining

Thai Fight differentiates themselves from other Muay Thai promotions by having three rounds of three minutes (with the standard one minute interval) instead of, the more traditional five rounds of three minutes duration. One of the main reasons for this is to encourage immediate action from the very first bell.

What can usually happen in a five round fight (under Thai rules), is that the first two rounds can start at a slower pace because both fighters tend to take their time to ‘feel’ each other out which, casual fight fans can find frustrating if not boring.

Petcrungreung bests tough Bublea

Alex Bublea vs. Ptt Petcrungreung was one of the most exciting fights on the night, exploding into life from the very first punch.

The ‘British Romanian’ had the better and more frequent combinations that landed in what was a flawless opening round for Bublea. However, in the second he was clearly low on energy (from his thunderous first round) and having then dropped down a few gears, gave Ptt the opportunity to claw his way back into the fight.

However, the officials clearly felt that Ptt was the more composed and stronger overall and awarded the Thai with the decision win over Bublea.

Post-fight interview with Alex Bublea:

‘Team England’ avoid the shutout 

The two victorious members of ‘Team England’ were Ben Hodge and Salah Khalifa, the latter opening the night against Iquezang Kor Rungthanakeat which, drew first blood for the UK based fighters. Khalifa delivered an inspiring win and coped with relentless pressure from Iquezang, who remained composed and handled the onslaught of elbows (and even the kitchen sink) that Saiyok would throw at him.

Ben Hodge implemented a technically smart approach to dealing with the constant pressure from Saiyok Pumphanmuang and despite fighting on the backfoot for most of the fight, Hodge would emphatically win by decision.

The fight could’ve been over in the first round had it not been for Saiyok being saved from the bell after a brilliant high kick by Hodge connecting with Saiyok’s neck.

Aside to this, Thai Fight’s partnership with Sky Sports was a massive compliment to the continuing growth of the sport within the UK. The event was aired by tape delay on the same evening on Sky Sports 3 and gives real hope for even more Thai boxing events on the domestic scene to hopefully feature more often on the UK’s biggest sporting network and attract even more national media coverage.

Nevertheless, Thai Fight London was very successful in delivering a night of world class Muay Thai and showed the world why the UK has everything that’s needed for the sport to achieve even greater commercial viability.

Thai Fight London – Final Results

Saenchai def. Charlie Peters via decision
Ptt Petcrungreung def. Alex Bublea via decision
Ben Hodge def. Saiyok Pumphanmuang via decision
Victor Pinto def, Chris Whittle via decision
Sudsakorn Sor. Klinmee def. Filip Kulawinski via decision
Antoine Pinto def. Artur Saladiak via decision
Salah Khalifa def. Iquezang Kor. Rungthanakeat via decision
Tengnueng Sitjesairoong def. Sam Gough via KO (Low kick)
Phum-An Sukhumvit def. Natty Dodds via decision