Thought for the day…


Touchgloves gym based in Cornwall has often been quoted to have produced and promoted the worlds elite in female fighters.

Each of these fighters have been a huge success in our foreign lands but fail to find recognition in the U.K.

With the legendary 14 x world champion Julie kitchen whose career spanned a decade and 60 fights (most at world level and under full Muay thai rules) it is often an overlooked fact that although the Touchgloves team were evidently behind the “full throttle” expansion of female fight promotion,they were hardly ever featured on a huge show in the U.K.

Of course,ticket sales do compare on first glance to city based athletes dominating the fight cards-but-would it not be a fact that the likes of Julie kitchen would have easily sold tickets nationwide through her unrivaled fan base as queen of Muay thai?

To prove the point the “backstreet brawler” event held in Blackpool in October 2010 saw 30 Cornish fans take the 7 hour tour to support but it was also evident to the promoters that the Touchgloves fighter spent most of the day being pictured/signing autographs with fans from all over the country.

The same could be said when Kerry Vera from the USA stepped up to take on the Brit in Bournemouth ( a 4 hour trek) where 60 Touchgloves supporters viewed the victory.

The passion of the gyms founder is unquestionable, but many have suggested that the ethics of coach Nathan kitchens aggressive style of promoting is failing his fighters, although not matching a fighter because you don’t agree with their opponents trainer could be categorised as “petty”.

Everybody in Muaythai wants the sport to develop and grow,however the majority will only jump off the fence when everything is positive when unfortunately negativity is buried in the ethics of teams that have existed and played a huge part in the game,but who is there to question people and methods that have never been questioned before?.

I have a deep passion for Muaythai but a deeper passion for FairPlay. It is a fact that every time something “big” hits the sport that could potentially be a chance for everybody to gain from its inclusion ,be it a hugely backed promotion,introduction of a new org,formation action of a team to compete abroad,anything at all,it always falls to the same “nest feathering” people that make demands that swallow up any chance of others being invited into the “inner circle” that constantly stains U.K. Muaythai.

It dosent matter how much we all want the same thing, greed takes over and certain genuine followers who probably contribute more daily to developing the sport get left out repeatedly.
I have seen, promotions, rankings,orgs,licensing committees all take huge steps to introduce something good but then quickly take it away through blatant cheating,lies and politics.

How many shows could have featured the best of British fighters (as advertised on the posters) but have only featured the most popular British fighters?

Surely progression for a fighter in Muay thai should be based on “what you are” and not “who you are”?.

Lucy Payne is just 22 yrs of age and also competes out of the Touchgloves gym in Cornwall.
Lucy started competing at just 15 and it is fair to say that like Julie kitchen,most of her initial competitions resulted in losses, very arguably because she was testing herself at a very high level and competing up to 3 kg above her weight.

Losses are part and parcel of the sport, but surely so are rematches and domestic matches?
Again to use the “queen of Muaythai” as an example, every opponent beaten was offered rematches ,but to get a return fight when beaten,even by household names such as Germaine de randarmine , Miriam Nakamoto (despite a clearly visible victory) and most recently Amanda Kelly who Julie came down a weight category to fight all made any chance of redemption impossible.

In the period of 2010-2012 ,Lucy was offered rematches in every changing room of every loss, but has never been honoured with such,despite giving the option most recently to welsh fighter Tanya Merritt.

It seems that fighters would rather boast a win against a young not yet established fighter rather than realize that through improvement and time the same fighter is now a huge test and could upset personal advertising.

I have witnessed on 2 separate occasions renowned fighters that will not fight Lucy because they won’t come up a weight fly to another country and take a world level fight at Lucy’s this not stealing an opportunity from somebody who they avoid domestically? If so,why is it when something is said that everybody defends the situation? Once again it appears that favouritism amongst groups plays a stronghold position whether or not it is right or wrong.

Why is Touchgloves gym so different to others in regard to this?

Is it not added pressure to someone who hardly gets to appear on big galas to “have” to win for fear of never getting another chance?

I totally agree that every fighter has a “shelf life” and should be promoted to the highest possible level for the length of fighting time they have but their wins should be gained against decent opposition and not a hand picked opponent and especially not for a world title which in turn brings into question the ethics of the ORG sanctioning the fight.

Why are shows more likely to spend vital funds on flying in foreign opposition to score an easier victory rather than give in to domestic challenges? Yet in the build up to most shows,it is often proven that a “domestic dust up” gains far more interest and generates more ticket sales whilst saving money that could be used for decent fighter purses.

Why are the more renowned gym names that can sell countless tickets getting to choose who their fighters compete against for world titles? Why can they still often dictate at weigh ins and refuse to make weight and conduct a FairPlay attitude? Do they not care about about an opponents health/ the fact that he may not make his daytime work for a week after being brutalised through an unfair advantage? Or is it just about a win for the amazing club?”

It is very hard to understand where I am coming from if your name is forwarded to every show, your face on every poster and gym name part of every discussion and every sponsorship deal.
But what if you were “best”or you were a “legend” of the sport, but was constantly being left out (unless at late notice for a pull out of course) ?

These two words are being thrown around extremely loosely nowadays without anyone willing to actually fight for the privilege of being called such.

After all,fighters are supposed to fight,not hide behind a promotions contract or trainer that won’t test them due to a fear of ego shattering.

It’s so easy to label me as a “bad person” for saying that a fighter cannot be the “best” if I have a fighter that’s better ,or indeed call themselves a “legend” if I have a fighter that has clearly done more career wise.

I am more than happy to be proven wrong as long as it’s done fairly.

So many times I hear the same quote “you are your own worst enemy”

Believe me when I say,I have no argument with anyone that isn’t cheating,avoiding,claiming to be something they are not without offering to prove it.”

The worldwide internet can provide sufficient intel and proof.

The mayweather/pacquiao situation is a classic example of this but obviously both can boast fortune and fame,however Freddie roach is not slandered or ridiculed for his inclusion of “call outs” so I can’t see why I differ.

If someone still can’t make weight after disappearing for nearly 2 hours (1 hour over the scheduled “make weight” time) for a fight when their opponent is defending a no1 ranking,then the ranking should not be contested for , let alone be ranked at a weight they can’t make or defend.

Or…..if a fighter turns up late for a weigh in and is overweight and refuses to make the specific weight although the opponent has been videoed weighing officially at the correct time–is it not wrong to even try to say that the first fighter should weigh in again despite having eaten and rehydrated as in 20 years of being in the fight scene,I have never heard this before.
Or…..using the yearly memorial attendance of a dead baby to avoid a rematch with a fighter despite having no intention of even going.?

The list could go on…….but I simply ask…

Is being argumentative against this sort of scenario being unreasonable? Or should I just keep quiet and witness the injuries pile up?.

My determination and graft has seen me conquer many victories for the club as well as personally and I have kept going when many would have given up but I still cannot see why a club that provides decent fighters,weigh in bang on every time, turn up on time, have helped out many,many promoters at very last minute for years can still get treated as we do.
Everything I have done for Muaythai, has been done for the sport and not just for my fighter/ my gym.

If many others followed suit instead of just “scooping the cream up” for themselves and “mates” then IMO we could all have a healthy sport and step forward to gain Olympic recognition or something similar.

Muaythai Cornwall boasts an average of 80-100 students per night within a 30 mile radius and 4 clubs ,whilst the funded Olympic sport of boxing averages 30 over the same radius and amount of clubs.

Cornwall May be on the “arse end” of nowhere but it is providing for the sport and Touchgloves has provided the sport with renowned Muaythai athletes that just want inclusion and fair game.

Is it much to ask?”


About The Author

Trained and promoted over 40 champion fighters including 4 world champions. Former coach of the England Junior Amateur Muay Thai Team winning 4 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze medals. Promoted 16 successful Muay Thai events in the Southwest of Cornwall bringing in guest athletes from all over the world in an effort to raise awareness in minority sports.

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Touchgloves Gym, 1 Trenawin Lane, Connor Downs, Hayle, Cornwall TR27 5JG