Towering Over The Competition
Standing at 194 centimeters, George Mann is a presence. The lanky Scotsman began occupying the ring when he was 14. Now, 11 years later he’s towering. Mann uses his length in a WBC Muay Thai Super Middleweight title defense against Daniel Bonner. The fight is coming. The two battle on November 18th at the Melbourne Pavilion.
Mann Performs The Wai Kru Ram Muay
Redefining Big Guy Muay Thai
Growing up in the sport Mann was always big for his size.
“I started in the lower divisions. I’ve grown up to be almost a Thai, but with a large frame,” Mann said.
Maturing through the sport developed his style.
“Because I grew up in the game, I developed the skills to move like a smaller individual,” Mann said.
While he’s tall, he’s defining what large fighters can do. Many bigger fighters lack the grace and movement of their smaller counterparts.
“A lot of big guys can be robotic, or static,” he said.
This is due to a lack of experience. As often there are no large athletes in the gym.
“Big people can often pushed to the side and they don't get to train and clinch with the Thais. You can be isolated to the big guy corner,” Mann said.
In Thailand, most male fighters range from 60kg to 75kg. They are much smaller than their western counterparts. Most westerners are 65kg to 80kg.
Yet Mann moves smoothly around the ring using his number one asset, his length.
George Mann With The Head Kick
Redefining Big Guy Muay Thai
One of his primary tactics is to use his southpaw lead hand. He braces or posts it against his opponents. Then he follows up with other shots.
“It’s a huge part of my game. It measures the distance between you and your opponent. It’s a type of guard. It covers your face and protects your chin. Plus you can attack off it. Use it almost like a jab,” he said.
A jab uses the lead hand as a punch. A brace or post extends the lead hand outward. It is not punched.
The long lead hand figures out the range. Once the hand touches the rear powerful kick attacks. Or the hand can turn into a punch, or set up for the rear knee.
Despite its regular use, people often don’t see the skill behind the weapon.
“Some people don’t give me credit for it. People say ‘George is big. George is tall. George is this.’ But for me being able to use the reach is vital. It’s such an important skill. It doesn’t matter your height,” he said.
When you understand how to use your length, you understand what distance is required to land powerful shots. What makes success is the ability to adjust to the difference in the moment. It is something done in the ring, and long before it, in the gym.
Mann With Darren Reece At Rebellion
Imagining the distance is as important as the physical practice for Mann.
“Visualization is something that is huge in my gym, Riddler's in Australia. Because you're putting yourself in a moment where anything can happen,” Mann said.
By running through all the scenarios Mann maps out adjustments ahead of time. He can adapt faster because he’s seen the problem before.
“Visualize yourself stuck in the corner, where would I move? Imagine pulling yourself out of a hole. Then envision yourself being on top of the world and winning,” Mann said.
By putting your mind through the paces, you build the mental muscles necessary to win. It is something to practice in all aspects of the game.
“It’s very important in this game, not just in shadowboxing but in pads, sparring, everything. It’s important that we train how we fight,” Mann said.
In fights, there will be moments of doubt. A hard punch, a felling shot, a crippling kick. Experienced fighters know the experience. They can pull themselves out of the hole and onto the winner's podium.
Mann Body Kicks Yodkhunpon Sitmonchai
Getting To The Top
Arriving at the WBC Muay Thai title was not easy. It required something more. For Mann, it was a passion that kept him fighting.
“I love the sport. I love everything that it stands for. It’s made me who I am today,” he said.
Self-actualization is the pinnacle of success. And defending his title is an equally lofty goal, especially at Rebellion.
“Fighting on Rebellion is an honor. I've fought on a lot of top promotions, but for me, it's a show that I've always wanted to return to,” Mann said.
Earlier in his career, he took on Yodkhunpon Sitmonchai. He also took on Alex Petroulias. He beat both via split decision.
For his title defense, Mann wants to make sure.
“This time, I want to make it unanimous. I want to show the Rebellion crowd that I'm here to win,” Mann said.
He looks to win on November 18th at Rebellion 30th. He takes on Daniel Bonner where Mann will be defending the WBC Muaythai Super Middleweight belt title.