A Muay Thai Judging Review

Written by Muay Thai Project. Posted in Chair's Blog, MPP News, Video

Published on September 27, 2014 with No Comments

BattleRock 1

Puttipong Phusaranttnak (Coban’s Muay Thai Camp) 

vs. 

Marco Silva (Crom Martial Training)

 

 

If a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one to hear it, does it make a sound?

If a fight judge makes a decision, and no one hears the reasons behind it, does it benefit the growth of a sport?

Chris “Mr. Classic” Romulo knows how it feels to be on the receiving end of a judge’s decision.  It’s a very particular position to be in.  Adrenaline still flowing, former opponents sharing respects and (depending upon the tone of their fistic conversation) their injuries throb to life.  These few quick moments are sometimes the most tense of a fighter’s night.  But in reality everything that can be done, has been done.  It’s all been put out there, for better or worse, and suddenly it’s in the judges hands.

The real shame about instances of poor judging is that is takes the focus away from where it should be, which is the performance of two warriors.  Instead it puts it on the questionable judgement or training of the officials at ringside.

That’s why when Chris founded Battle-Rock Promotions with his wife and partner Sarah, he aimed to make fair and competitive fights as true to Muay Thai as possible .  Same day weigh-ins and properly qualified judges and officials are all part of that formula.

A dramatic pause while the decision awaits is understandable, but too often the crowd is left to think  “Let’s see if these judges know what they’re looking at”.  If you’ve ever been in that crowd, shifting uncomfortably, sharing glances with team mates who came to support, you know how it feels.

With those moments in mind, retired Professional Muay Thai fighter and current judge Ben Case proposed a solution.  Transparency

A post-fight review, performed in the cold light of day.  A way to give a reason for the scores, and give the audience an insight into what goes on at the judges table.  Although only 5 feet separates the most expensive seats in the house from the most scrutinized, the divide is much larger than that.  Within that gap there lives and breathes a sport, with all it’s triumphs, let downs, glories and realities.  And all of it evolves, decision by decision. Round by round.

The Muay Thai Project is proud to present a fight, from the ringside perspective.  A review by the judges who made their decisions, and myself, the color commentator who called the action.

The judges at ringside, acting on behalf of their experiences in the ring included Aaron Fisher, former professional Muay Thai fighter and owner of King’s Thai boxing in New York City, and Ben Case of Sit-Kangmonkorn (Pittsburgh MuayThai).  They were both performing their duties on behalf of the Thai Boxing Association Sanctioning Authority.

So here is a round by round breakdown of the fight from our perspectives.  We decided to use this fight because it provides a notable different in fight styles.  This is by no means the be-all end-all of Muay Thai judging, but this is simply an introduction to the field.  Enjoy

BattleRock 1: Puttipong Phusaranttanakul vs Marco Silva

 

Round 1

Ben:

Red lands damaging punches. Has his feet under him and is the aggressor. Red gets a dump off a caught kick.

Blue is pushed back by effective punching, and wobbles towards the end of the round. He lands some body kicks but they have little effect. Though he lands body kicks early, he is off balance, reducing the score of the techniques. Later in the round Blue lands better kicks, but they do not outweigh the effective punching and dump by red.

Score: 10-9 Red

 

Aaron:

Red starts out and stays aggressive throughout the whole round attacking with punches and an occasional leg kick.  Blue is back peddling and throwing kicks that have little to no effect. Red’s punches are snapping Blue’s head back and at one point seems to have blue out on his feet for a second as blue’s hands drop and he gets caught with a flurry. Red’s leg kicks are connecting and his punches and aggressiveness have blue running all over and off balance. Red also scores with  a nice sweep in the middle of the round.

Score: 10-9 Red

 

Myself:

The more effective shots are clearly being fired by Silva in the red corner, but Puttipong in blue  shows a greater variety of technique. Being ringside definitely gives a different perspective to the fight vs. watching it on video. When you watch someone’s head snap back and see the look in their eye change, its definitely tough to translate that on YouTube. Red corner inflicts the more damaging shots having a visible effect on his opponent.

Score: 10-9 Red

Round 2

Ben:

Good dump early in the round by red.

Blue gets two dumps mid-way through the round that score well. He is more aggressive than in round 1, and lands clean body kicks on several occasions. He also moves Red with his high body kicks from both legs. Red closes the round with a flurry of punches, but Blue consistently fires back with clean body kicks that easily outscore the punches, which, though they landed, did not significantly damage Blue (e.g. shelling up, wobbling, falling down, etc.). The round is close, but Blue’s clean body kicks and two dumps take it.

Score: 10-9 Blue

 

Aaron:

Blue was throwing head kicks and teeps and all around utilizing cleaner Muay Thai even while going backwards as opposed to Red just throwing punches. They were pretty even in the clinch. Blue landed two dumps to Red’s one and looked to be getting stronger as the round went on. Red’s punches had less effect this round on Blue as well.

Score: 10-9 Blue

 

Myself:

Red coming forward with punches but Blue repeatedly lands kicks and teeps with no response coming from Red, and there were a few nice dumps by Blue. Red ends with a flurry of punches but its not enough to make up for Blue’s lead built up during the round.

Score: 10-9 Blue

Round 3

Ben:

Both fighters tire in this round, but over the course of the fight Blue gets noticeably stronger. Blue lands arm kicks and clean body kicks almost at will in this round, and gets a headkick in as well. Blue lands a couple good straight knees that score for him.

Red continues to land punches, but they are more jabs than power punches in this round. Blue is bleeding out of the nose, but apart from that the punches do not appear to hurt Blue. The fact that Blue got stronger in the 3rd round further diminishes the scoring of Red’s punches, because they are clearly not having an effect on blue.

Score: 10-9 Blue

Aaron:

Blue starts out controlling the round, scoring with two head kicks, a body kick and a knee right away.  They clinch and nothing really happens. Blue appears stronger and confident as the round goes on. Red snaps Blues head back a few times with jabs but Blue returned those with higher scoring head kicks. Blue finishes the round looking strong and confident showing that Red’s punches had no effect.

10-9 Blue

Winner: 29-28 Blue

 

Myself:

In person I felt that Puttipong in the Blue corner was behind, fight-wise.  If this was a street fight, Silva would be winning, but this is a Muay Thai fight and Puttipong definitely displayed better Muay Thai techniques.

In the final round, most exchanges were even when they did happen but Puttipong still landed too many unanswered kicks.  Silva pouring on the punches at the end but as throughout the fight Puttipong still comes forward for more.  The late flurry can’t make up for the lead which puttipong’s kicks had built up.   10-9 Blue (Puttipong)

 

Final score 29-28 Puttipong Phusaranttnak of Coban’s Muay Thai Camp

 

Overall fight summary from Judge Ben Case:

Red starts the fight stronger and more aggressive, landing solid punches that visibly damage blue. Blue turns the fight around though, consistently landing body kicks, and getting stronger despite being tagged repeatedly by punches. Clean body kicks and kicks to the arm that move an opponent are some of the highest scoring techniques in Muay Thai. Red may have thought he was on the verge of a knockout at the end of round 1, and focuses on his head punching for most of the rest of the fight. While he lands punches, he is unable to knock blue down or hurt him again like he appeared to in round 1. Blue exploits Red’s focus on lower scoring techniques and outscores his opponent with high-scoring body kicks and better Muay Thai comportment.

29-28 Blue

So next time, watch those few tense minutes after the final bell has sounded.  Ask yourself this question,  are we waiting on a decision about the fighters or the judges?

Who’s judging who?

 

-Liam Tarrant

_____________________________________________________

Ben Case is a (retired) professional Muay Thai fighter with over 10 years experience in the sport, and has trained and competed extensively in Thailand. Ben is currently a trainer at Khaay Muay Sit-Kangmongkorn in Pittsburgh, PA.

____________________________________________________________________________

 

Aaron Fisher is a former professional Muay Thai and MMA fighter and the head instructor of King’s Thai Boxing in New York City.  Aaron has spent extensive time living, training and fighting in Thailand.  Aaron contributes his time to the Muay Thai community and has judged over 200 matches and is also experienced as a referee. In January 2010 Aaron founded Sommai Muay Thai Academy in North Carolina. After 3 years he moved to New York City and became the head instructor at Kings Thai Boxing in Manhattan where he currently trains the next generation of champions.

 

2002 United States Bando Champion

2004 W.K.A. United States Muay Thai Champion

2006 U.S.K.B.A. Muay Thai Champion

2007 W.P.M.O. Muay Thai Champion (Thailand)

2007 K.O.T.C. Fighter (MMA Singapore)

First American to Fight MMA in Singapore

____________________________________________________________________________

 

Liam Tarrant is a former professional Muay Thai fighter based in the United States. He is the co-founder of the Muay Thai Project, a 501c3 charity organization dedicated to promoting the sport of Muay Thai to the next generation . He is the co-host of the first podcast created to help promote Muay Thai, Muay Thai Radio. Liam is an experienced fight commentator, and works for multiple promotions throughout the United States. Liam is currently a coach at North Jersey Muay Thai in Lodi, NJ.

 

2007 W.K.A North American Tournament Champion

W.K.A North American Champion

W.K.A National Champion

U.S.M.T.A United States Champion

 

 

 

The Muay Thai Project is a 501c3 charity organization dedicated to spreading the art of Muay Thai and changing lives through practice of the sport. The project currently provides scholarships for youth students throughout the country.  You can find the Project at www.MuayThaiProject.org or on Twitter and Instagram at @MuayThaiProject

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