Caged Muay Thai: Street, Badato and Leigh

Like it or loathe it, Wayne Parr’s new promotional venture, Caged Muay Thai, is here to stay. Some of the other featured fighters give us their two cents’ worth on the experience. 

Flip Street

“It was awesome; a different feeling. You’re locked in there, surrounded. It gives the event a different atmosphere. A little bit more adrenalin.

“I didn’t train any differently. The biggest difference between normal Muay Thai and the Cage is those little gloves. When your hands are up, they’re not protecting your whole head. Next time, I’d focus more on training defence. More footwork; getting in and out to avoid being hit.

“The atmosphere was probably the best I’ve felt in a long time. It was packed and everyone was into it. Because the venue is a small stadium , the audience was closer to the action. All my friends said it was the best show they’d ever been to.”

Reinhardt Badato

“My brother, Michael, fought. It was different preparation, because the cage is bigger; you’re working in a bigger space. We’d do pads and then go into the ring for one or two rounds. That way, you’re always prepared for close-quarters. We also paid attention to footwork and angles for that explosive ten-to-fifteen seconds. There’s lots of punches, and not much kicks, because you don’t want to give any room. You want to be ready for when you get pushed against the cage, to push forward and explode. We stuck to the plan [and won], so I guess it worked!

“The venue was packed! It was overwhelming. A really good, positive atmosphere. Really loud. We fought Mark Ritchie, so there was lots of drama. The fighters were screaming at each other, the crowd loved it! Afterwards, we thought Michael had broken his hands. We couldn’t see the knuckles, his hands were so swollen. Those four-ounce gloves make a huge difference. The other thing is that the cage doesn’t bounce like ropes do. You can go back expecting the cage will spring you forward, and find yourself stuck.”

Aaron Leigh

“It was my first fight back in two years. I was able to fight in front of all my mates, which made it extra special. The little gloves adds to the hype. You hit harder –  and faster. Parr asked me over Facebook if I was interested. Back in the day I used to fight on Boonchu cup with him and Flip – it made it like old times. I wasn’t really training, just working. Then thinking about it, sent shivers up my spine. I knew I’d regret it if I didn’t do it. I even got a sponsor out of it – Mr Bulldog, who is a lawyer. I’m not working anymore, I’m back to fighting; it’s officially a comeback.

“I trained at Strikeforce, under Mark Pease. This time, I also had a strength and conditioning coach. I’d never done anything like that before. Now I was in the gym three days a week in the morning, and doing my normal training at night. As far as strategy goes, it was lots of head movement. With those four ounce gloves, if you wear too many, they’ll cut you open. I took it as it came, wore him down and go in for the KO. I was a bit flat in first, but it was a wake-up call. I got him in the second for a KO.”

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