Melbourne favorite Joanne La is back to business. The Lioness takes on Zehra Dogan on May 27th. It’s familiar territory for La.
“I’ve had over 10 fights at Rebellion. I started from Roots and I had basically no fights.”
La started with nothing but went to the top. She recently faced Barbara Aguiar for the WBC Muay Thai title. The battle raged for five rounds on Rebellion 27th at the Pavillion.
The war against international top talent helped La. She’s gained confidence and some new skills.
“Every fight is a little bit different. At the start, I used to get nervous in the back room. But then once I grew that confidence within myself I was more calm and more relaxed in the back room.”
There were tactical lessons as well. Aguiar used a vicious lock on La.
“In the clinch, I was stuck and I felt very pressured by Augiar’s strong clinch,” La said.
What worked against La may be the key to victory in her fight against Dogan. The Turkish athlete comes from a kickboxing and IFMA background. A Rajadamern veteran Dogan recently won the WBC Muay Thai flight weight title as well.
Dogan uses volume. She bounces and attacks with combinations.
La though, she uses her claws. The 8 Blade Warriors fighter is known for her heavy hands. She punished Soraya Hamami on Rebellion 26th with her heavy mitts. It became a clear victory for La.
Watch the replay here.
The Lioness has locks, hands, and intelligence as well. She understands when to capitalize on the moments by listening.
“If I can't hear my corner when the ref splits us, that's when I try to tune in. I get that split second to refocus because they can see something that I can't see. They are gonna have the keys to winning the fight because you may not see it in front of you,” La said.
Training with Superboy at 8 Blade Warriors helps with understanding the game. Superboy is a veteran of over 200 fights. The experience is key especially against Dogan.
In the Rajadamnern World Series final, Dogan battled the skilled Somratsamee Chaisuya for the title. Somrat used superior timing against Dogan. She backed away and blasted.
Superboy and La will look at Somrat as a guiding light.
“I do a lot of drills. We try to mimic her style as much as we can through pad work and through our sparring.”
The best laid plans can change in an instant though. Total focus is needed for the fight. That determination comes in the walk to the ring.
“Once I know that I'm walking out the nerves dissipate. I've got my coach and my corner right beside me. When we go to the ring, you feel it's showtime. You are there. You bow, you go into the ring and you don't see anything else besides the ref in the middle and your opponent,” La said.
It’s there that La puts on her best work. The outcome is a bonus. The journey is the prize.
“I'm always happy with whatever result I get because it's all part of the process. Win or lose, it should be the same emotion if you put in the prep leading up to the fight,” La said.
La is going to be happy about her next battle on May 27th. She’ll be taking on Dogan at the Melbourne Pavilion.