3 Muay Thai Strategies For Tournaments

3 Muay Thai Strategies For Tournaments

Rebellion Muay Thai hosts its 2nd big money tournament. The event is at the Melbourne Pavillion. The weight? 70kg! Athletes like Hugh O’Donnell, Victor Hugo, and Damon Nelson signed their contracts already. The stakes are high. The path to victory will see the winner fight 3 times in one night. For the work the champion receives $25,000 and the Qest x Rebellion Belt.

The game is afoot. And it’s hard.

But for fans these tournaments are very exciting.

“Tournaments have a story to them,” Reblelion promoter Sy Nadji said. “Fans can follow a boxer throughout the night.”

How will the boxers win?

There are three major strategies for fighting in tournaments. There are two major variables for the fights as well.

Hugh O'Donnell 70kg tournament
Strategy 1: Go For Broke

Fighters that use this game plan are looking to sprint as hard as possible. The boxer swings hard right from the start. The ideal situation for this game plan is an early knockout without an injury. By starting off fast, the boxer hopes to catch their opponent before they can settle in.

But it’s a hard strategy to pull off when you are facing experienced fighters. Australian athlete Hugh O’Donnell is as tough as. While Brazilian boxer from Phuket Fight Club Victor Hugo is defensively sound.

Victor Hugo 70kg Tournament
Strategy 2: Play It Safe

Technical athletes will use this game plan. Their goal is to do enough to squeeze out the win. The idea is to limit injuries and energy expenditure. Boxers that do this are looking at the tournament as a whole as a marathon rather than a fast sprint. They may try to win the first two rounds of the fight, then control the third to coast to a points victory.

There are two major issues with this strategy. The first is that in the final round of a tournament style fight, the opponent will come out going for broke. They have nothing to lose and everything to win by throwing unorthodox wild shots. Dreams do and can come true.

The second issue is fight management. There are many variables in a tournament structure. The boxers will not know who they fight in the first leg, nor in the second, or in the final stage. Controlling the fight is nearly impossible if you don’t know who your opponent is.

Damon Nelson 70kg tournament
Strategy 3: One Fight At A Time

This is by far the most common game plan and also the most successful. The boxer wins the fight by taking it one step at a time. First, win the exchange. Then win the round. Then win the fight. Then win the final. Going one step at a time is difficult when the path is so treacherous.

There are major obstacles on the journey. Even when a boxer wins they may still get banged up. That leads us to the two major problems of fighting tournaments.

 Singpayak at Rebellion

Injuries and Cardio

Picking up bumps and bruises in a fight is normal. Even an easy victory usually involves some pain. In his fight for the final against Saemapetch, Singpayak PTJ went in with one eye almost completely shut. He’d taken a few shots to the face. His eye was badly swollen. It was $10,000 AUD on the line though.

You can watch the fight here. 
Getting cuts of any sort can be a deal breaker. Once a boxer is cut, opening the wound becomes even easier in the next leg of the tournament.

Managing injuries is very difficult. The athlete will break for an hour or two, and then get right back into it. Ice can reduce swelling and some level of injury between fights. The recovery is not 100% though. The fighters' conditioning will play a big role in their ability to proceed.

Fighting once tires athletes out. Fighting three times in one night can be very, very difficult. Maintaining the gas tank over 9 rounds, or longer is near impossible. It’s also what makes the fights so exciting. Sometimes it comes down to which fighter has the bigger and better gas tank.

Big challenges and big money are on the table for August 12th.

Make sure to tune in!

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