Kung Fu Vs Muay Thai

Kung Fu Vs Muay Thai

If you look at where Kung Fu and Muay Thai started, the cultures were similar, even though Muay Thai started about 1900 years later. Kung Fu origination is disputed. Some believe that it originated at the Shaolin temple by an Indian Buddhist monk while others claim it was around long before that temple existed. It’s based on animal movements and was the father to karate, which started on the island of Okinawa, close to China. Kung Fu started as a program to help the Buddhist monks get stronger and healthier and then developed into the fighting technique of today.

Muay Thai was developed to protect the nation of Siam, which is now Thailand.

The Siamese army was created in 1238 AD to protect the capital city, Sukhothai. Hand to hand combat was taught, just as use of weapons were. To give the soldiers more defense, the use of the entire body as a weapon was also part of the focus. It became part of the culture are camps were created that focused not only on the self-defense, but also exercise and discipline. The Buddhist monks even learned the art and passed it from generation to generation. The name means combat from Thai—Thailand.

What is Muay Thai?

Often called “The Art of Eight Limbs,” Muay Thai uses the hands, elbows, shins and knees to fight. Each is used as you might use a weapon. The hands can be used as swords and daggers while the elbows are used as a weapon to create heavier blows. The forearms and shins are the armor to protect the fighter from his opponents blows. Muay Thai is unlike Kung Fu in that form mimicking animal movements is prominent in Kung Fu, while Muay Thai uses the body as you would use a weapon.

Muay Thai is all about sparring and Kung Fu about practicing form.

Learning various poses may provide the appropriate form, but doesn’t give an advantage when the real battle comes. Looking back at the start of Kung Fu as a form of exercise for health that later was used for self-defense, compared to Muay Thai as a weapon for war and self-defense first that was later used for health, you can see why sparring is an effective way to learn skills in a real fight faster.

  • Training for many martial arts involves punching in the air, Muay Thai practices with real opponents.
  • In the 1970s, there was a match between five Muay Thai fighters and five Kung Fu fighters. The Muay Thai fighters won all five bouts in the first round.
  • Both Muay Thai and Kung Fu use punches and kicks, but Muay Thai also involves the knees and elbows.
  • If you don’t want to compete in MMA matches, but love the idea of style, Kung Fu might be right for you. If, however, you want to win matches and enter competitions, Muay Thai is best.

How To Long Guard

How To Long Guard

If you want a defense that will help you get through a whirlwind of punches from your opponent, the long guard won’t let you down. It’s used to protect the head and upper body during those times you’re opponent is throwing a series of quick punches and can protect you while you’re planning your next move, while allowing your opponent to wear out without injury to you.

Your lead arm is used to keep your opponent at bay.

Keeping your lead arm out is important. It can act as a defense and to help you judge the distance your opponent is from you so you can plan strategies. Your chin should be down and your shoulder should be tight. Your other arm goes across your face with your elbow at a ninety degree angle and your palm out. You can use your lead arm to push against the head of your opponent and adjust the elbow and outstretched arm to ward off any punches.

The long guard is about using your shoulders, arms and upper body to not only defect punches but to create space.

The more space you have between you and your partner, the more time you have to react to your opponents move. While there are more intricate Muay Thai guards, this one is effective in a multitude of situations and lets you plan your next offensive move while protecting yourself. Your opponent is busy trying to overcome this defense and it could allow perfect timing to take the critical jab that will help you win.

The long guard is one of the best defenses against a strong puncher.

Another name for the long guard is a good defense against a heavy puncher. It keeps a strong opponent at enough of a distance by using your lead hand to press against his face, forehead, chest or shoulders. Your shoulder, glove and lead arm protect your chin and shoulder, but allow you to see the punches coming. You need to use kicks and quick offensive moves when you can to get the upper hand.

  • While you can move your crossed arm to help prevent contact, one of the main weaknesses of the long arm is the upper cut.
  • Don’t linger in the long arm too long. Make sure you immediately start planning offensive moves once you’re in it and wait patiently for the best time to use them.
  • Varying your guard will help you improve your game. You can go from tight guard to long guard when the situations calls. Knowing more possibilities provides more possibilities.
  • Muay Thai is all about being able to find the best spot to start your attack. Having an arsenal of tools, like the long guard, to protect you and good footwork, can help keep you protected until the time is right.

Effective Muay Thai Sparring Techniques

Effective Muay Thai Sparring Techniques

No matter how long you train to get into shape, work on combinations with a heavy bag or hone those combinations with Muay Thai pads, at some time, if you want to use what you’ve learned, you have to spar. I know a lot of my students in Long Island, NY are initially intimidated when they go into the ring and that’s why I’ve put together some Muay Thai sparring techniques that can help anyone for their first real chance to test their skills.

Relax and put your fear aside.

One good relaxation technique is deep breathing. Staying calm and use your breathing to help slow your heart and get more in focus with yourself and what you’ll o next. Take in everything about your opponent as you do. Deep breathing will help you slow down everything around you. Always face your opponent and don’t take your eyes off him or her. If you focus on your partner’s chest, rather than trying to look him or her in the eyes, you’ll get clues from the muscle movement about the move he or she’s about to make.

Don’t try to get fancy, but stick to the basics.

Whether you’re on the attack or defending yourself, keep it as simple as possible. You’ve probably practiced all the basics until you know them by heart and started learning a few more complicated ones. Keep the complicated ones at home for your first few sparring sessions. Sticking to the basics means you can act without trying to remember the next move. You’ll have more power with these tools. Always remember, there’s a reason they’re basics and why they’re taught first.

Don’t worry about getting hit.

One of the biggest problems faced by people new to sparring is they try to avoid being hit at all costs. That doesn’t mean you should let your guard down and forget to deflect, block or evade a punch. What it does mean that don’t it affect your offensive tactics that could help you come out victorious. Worrying about getting hit can take its toll and stop you in your tracks. You’ll get hit sometime, no matter how hard you try not to, so learning how to handle it early is good.

  • Use your time wisely. If you’re sparring mirrors the real fights, there are three minutes in each round and five rounds. Don’t burn up all your energy in the first round only to fade at the end.
  • Remember that sparring is all about practicing and making your skills better, not about winning.
  • After you’ve had a few experiences sparring, look for partners with totally different styles and strategies. The more experience you have against different styles, the more you’ll be able to learn new ways to handle them.
  • Make sure you have all the right equipment before you start sparring.

The Top 5 Reasons To Include Muay Thai Kickboxing In Your Exercise Program

The Top 5 Reasons To Include Muay Thai Kickboxing In Your Exercise Program

Have you ever really thought about your workout program? Have you considered what you like, what works, and what you seriously hate to do? Some people in Glen Cove, NY never really stop to gauge how effect their workout is, whether they look forward to it or find a million excuses to avoid it. If you include Muay Thai kickboxing in your exercise program, you’ll definitely know the answer to these three questions and find a host of other reasons it can help you on the road to fitness.

Let’s face it, Muay Thai kickboxing is fun!

Okay, so maybe the term fun is not quite accurate, but the time in sessions flies by quickly. You won’t be standing around watching the clock or counting each repetition, hoping to quickly get to the last one. It keeps you focused and involved. If you aren’t, you’ll either miss important information or end up losing a match. You’re never doing the same thing twice, so there’s no boredom. It’s a challenge that makes you want too keep on working to get better, so you’ll keep coming back for more.

Muay Thai Kickboxing provides a great workout that is both aerobic and anaerobic.

You’ll get a full body workout when you practice Muay Thai kickboxing. Not only does it build strength and endurance with the anaerobic actions like kicking the bags and pads, it also tests your aerobic endurance with shadowboxing or warming ups with jumping rope. You aren’t isolating muscle groups, but working several groups of muscles at once for a total body workout. You’ll build all types of fitness, flexibility, endurance, strength and balance.

You’ll burn a huge amount of calories when you add Muay Thai to your program.

As noted before, it’s a total body workout. It also uses moves that heavily involve core muscle groups. Those are two flags that this workout is sizzling away the calories. While the amount of calories per hour varies by not only your actual movements, but also your body weight and muscle tissue, it’s estimated it could be as high as 1,000 calories per hour.

  • Because it is a full body workout and uses all types of moves, it improves your functional fitness. That’s the type of fitness you need to do every day tasks and avoid injury.
  • You’ll be gaining both a healthy body and a valuable self-defense tool. This is especially important for women. Size doesn’t matter when it comes to Muay Thai. It’s all about technique.
  • You’ll boost your self-confidence and that will show in other areas of your life. Nothing succeeds like success.
  • When you add Muay Thai kickboxing, you’ll learn the basics fast. That will keep you coming back for more as you add more technique and refine it.

Find Your Passion

Find Your Passion

If you want the most out of your life, you need to find your passion and give it your all. That doesn’t mean you should live your life in a single-minded manner. You can have more than one passion. My passion has always been Muay Thai kickboxing. However, as I moved through life, I found that people needed my kind of help in other sports in Glen Cove, NY. That led to me being aware that there were people who never participated in anything athletic, but who would benefit from my help to become healthier. Helping people has become an important priority in my life. That doesn’t mean my passion has become any less for Muay Thai kickboxing. In fact, it expanded my interest.

My love for kickboxing has become a vehicle to help people lose weight and get healthier.

People sign up for kickboxing for a number of reasons. One of them are simply a love of athletics or the sport itself. I can truly appreciate that. Getting healthy and losing weight are two more reasons. It makes me feel so glad I have the ability to help these people. Not only do they become more active, they enjoy doing it. I watch them change from someone who could barely move without breathing hard and carrying far more weight than their frame could maintain, to a confident, muscular, slender individual with energy galore.

Kickboxing is a means of boosting energy levels to achieve other goals.

While your goal may not be physical, it doesn’t mean that kickboxing can’t help. One of my clients was in a male dominated industry and felt she needed to build her confidence. Not only did Muay Thai kickboxing help her do that, it also boosted her energy level and helped her think clearer when she wasn’t in the gym. She excelled at her chosen profession and gives the Muay Thai workout credit for it.

Muay Thai kickboxing can also build your confidence.

Do you have a passion that almost scares you? It’s so big you simply are overwhelmed and doubt yourself continuously? Don’t give it up because of the intimidation, but instead build your confidence and rise to the occasion. Achieving success in one area helps you achieve success in another. Kickboxing can help you build that determination that keeps you on the path to succeed at your passion. I’ve watched people become mentally stronger as they became fitter and new determination develop in those who have almost given up their goals.

  • Kickboxing has helped others feel more confident in their ability to defend themselves. It’s an amazing form of self-defense for women.
  • Kickboxing has helped some people achieve their fitness goals by providing a workout that’s not only engaging, it’s also extremely effective.
  • Part of my passion to help others live healthy involves teaching healthy eating habits. What you eat affects all areas of your life, not just your fitness goals.
  • When you learn Muay Thai kickboxing, you’re welcomed into a community of people who care. You learn self-discipline as well as provide and enjoy the support of the group. It makes it a great way to help children learn the lessons they need for a successful, happy life.

Benefits of Muay Thai Training for Fitness

Benefits of Muay Thai Training for Fitness

You can improve your health and have a physically fit body by getting into Muay Thai training fitness programs. This is the best way for you to have a stronger body and gain confidence. Muay Thai workouts can help you to be at your best fighting form as well.

Many people see positive results from Muay Thai trainings. You may build stronger and more defined arms, stomach and legs. These programs and classes also help you to gain a sense of inner strength and emotional balance.

Muay Thai training has seen the benefits on the cardiovascular and toning of the muscles by simply taking Muay Thai training workouts.

Muay Thai training and the innovative variations of the sparring, jabs, power punches, defense, and fitness has all blends of aerobics exercises. You will learn the proper execution of the punch, knee, kick, elbow combinations for a more intensive workout that will help you become stronger and more confident.

The combinations you perform on the blocks, jabs, and kicks are executed to an imagined opponent. You may see classes where participants throw punches and kicks on the air. You will also find training camps that have quality equipment such as punching bags, Thai pads, and a Full size boxing ring.

You may also enjoy more benefits aside from the physical aspects of Muay Thai trainings. Muay Thai workouts allow you to burn out 850 to 1000 calories or more in just an hour. It also helps maintaining the heart rate at 75 percent to 85 percent regular beat. This has been proven to be good and is the recommended range if you are exercising or into training.

Moreover, Muay Thai training improves your speed, resistance, and strength. Flexibility and the reflexes of the muscles are also enhanced. Repetitive motion on arms by hitting pads, punching heavy bags, and sparring helps your arms, stomach and legs gain strength and power.

These workouts also enable your joint movements to build very efficient fitness results.
These movements require you to develop balance and coordination that enables your body to be stable and maintain a good form.

These physical benefits you gain from Muay Thai or thai kickboxing are just few of the many benefits that they can provide. You will be able to learn more about self defense skills, which you may use in case of an emergency. You will also feel the satisfaction when you punch, kick, knee or elbow. Relaxation and self-motivation is also developed.

You will feel a sigh of relief and feel that you are released from stressed. It also helps you to get rid of that anger that is inside of you. Once these things are releases, you may feel lightness into your body and peace of mind as well.

Many fitness experts recommend Muay Thai training for beginners. It allows you to workout on your desired pace and body condition. Muay Thai allows you to push yourself to the limit and it highly elevates your Strength and Conditioning levels as well.

Positive results await you with Muay Thai training. You will enjoy a physically fit body and will keep you in better shape. You have the option working out and exercising at your preferred level and skill. Enjoy the fun of these Muay Thai training programs.

Boxing rules must adapt to keep fans interested

Boxing rules must adapt to keep fans interested

Golden Boy, Bob Arum and Gary Shaw are the world’s top three boxing promoters but only Shaw has crossed the line into the world of martial arts.

And Shaw insists that Muay Thai can learn a lot from the rise of K1 kickboxing and the MMA Ultimate Fighting Championship phenomenon.Shaw compares Muay Thai to “delightful Thai cuisine _ hot and tasty” and UFC fighting in the cage as “McDonald’s takeaway _ fast and ready to go”.According to Shaw, Thai restaurants and Muay Thai have been around for centuries. And while Thai boxing was able to adapt to the international boxing rules of a roped ring and boxing gloves, the sport needs to keep evolving.

“In boxing and Muay Thai, the battle is fought with two fighters standing up with gloves on making the knock-down with punhces the main assignment, but Muay Thai has the X-factor of kicks, knees and elbows that adds excitement to the contest,” he said.  But now, according to Shaw, the challenge for Muay Thai is to keep the pace of the fight at full-throttle for the five three-minute rounds.  “Five rounds is a lot less than 12 rounds of championship boxing,” Shaw said.

Muay Thai is often criticised for its slow first and fifth rounds that are notoriously scored 10-10 with the boxers seemingly content to strive for a winning score in rounds three and four when the heat is on.  Shaw says K1 organisers “tried to be clever” by removing grappling and elbow-strikes from their tournaments.Lack of grappling allowed the less hardened fighters to stay competitive in the kickboxing contests.  According to Shaw, the elimination of elbows as weapons also gave the Japanese and European kickboxers an advantage over the combatants trained in Muay Thai.

Shaw contends that it is not the Muay Thai rules that are holding back the sport _ rather it’s how the first and last rounds are scored that spoil the sport as a popular spectacle.  If the judges scored the first round 10-9 or even 10-8 for the fighter who is the more aggressive, then that would make the fighters go harder from the start, he said.  But rules aside, Shaw contends the biggest obstacle for Muay Thai in the past and present is the ongoing perception that the Thai ring sport is fringe and boutique and not mainstream.  Shaw is the former frontman for ProElite, which took on the UFC in Mixed Martial Arts, but withdrew after a face-off with the UFC juggernaut that today totally dominates major TV and has become the fashionable sport for a new generation of fight fans.

While Shaw is now comfortable promoting elite boxers, exclusively, away from the cage, he does concede that, as far as young people are concerned, “the only game in town is the UFC”.  “But you can’t beat them any longer. They’re miles ahead of everyone right now,” he said.

“[Competing with them is] like coming up with some fast food franchise and beating McDonald’s. It’s not gonna happen.”  Shaw has plans for a Muay Thai championship event in Las Vegas in March or April this year, but next week will be in Sydney focusing on the ‘showdown’ fight for the world IBF championship, featuring his latest world champion boxer, Daniel Geale.  Geale won two world title belts after his unification title bout against WBA champion Felix Sturm in Oberhausen, Germany.  But the Australian, who Shaw rates “as good as (Australian former world champion) Jeff Fenech” had to forfeit his WBA belt after being stripped of the title when Geale decided to fight Mundine _ his Australian rival _ rather than defend against mandatory No.1 challenger, Gennady Golovkincom.

As a promoter, Shaw’s philosophy is “let the best fight the best and the results will sort itself out”.  And, should Geale beat Mundine, as expected, he will be looking at challenging Sergio Martinez for the WBC belt.  But first, Geale has to beat Mundine, a proud indigenous Australian who excelled in rugby league before embarking on a professional boxing career.  Jan 30 is the must-win day for Geale, the boy from Tasmania, and Mundine, the footballer who wants to known as Australia’s undisputed boxing king.

History Of Muay Thai

The history of Muay Thai is deeply rooted in the history of Thailand (formerly Siam) itself. The country was repeatedly invaded by its neighbouring countries whilst it was still in its infancy. The Thai people depended on their own ability to defend themselves and their lands. In those times before the introduction of gunpowder, only short range weapons were available such as bows and arrows, spears, swords, pikes and clubs when going into battle. From this type of hand to hand combat, weapons could be lost and so, combatants had to learn to quickly rely on unarmed combat using hands/fists, elbows, knees, feet – and their heads (not least to outsmart their adversaries). Without doubt, this systematic use of ‘natural’ weapons developed into a practical and deadly fighting art for the battlefield – that would later become Muay Thai.

There are few records of the history of Muay Thai before the twentieth century. Knowledge was passed down by oral tradition which can sometimes alter historical fact. During times of peace the monarchy and the military leaders realized that self defence techniques were of great importance. Thai soldiers certainly studied Muay Thai at earlier times. Muay Thai has most likely earned money for ‘prize fighters’ since at least the Sukothai era. Over time, Muay Thai became a way of personal advancement as the nobles progressively admired the most skilful fighters.

The 16th Century saw the beginning of warfare with Burma. In 1568, the Burmese captured the city of Ayutthaya and dominated the country until 1585, when after the death of Bayinnaung the Burmese King, the Siamese prince Narusuan re-organized an army to drive the Burmese from their land and to achieve independence. Prince Narusuan and the crown Prince of Burma, who had known each other since childhood finally engaged in combat astride the backs of war elephants to determine the independence of Siam. After a ferocious battle Prince Narusan cut the crown Prince in half from shoulder to waist. The Burmese army withdrew, giving independence to Siam. Later King Narusuan honoured the bravery of the Burmese Prince by erecting a shrine at the site of the battle.

During the Ayutthaya period, which was a period of unending battles against Siam’s neighbours i.e. Burma, Cambodia and Vietnam, history records state that King Sri San Petch or Khun Luang Sorasak (also known as Phra Chao Sua, the Tiger King) often boxed incognito in various up-country temple fairs. He is said to have been a skilled boxer and enjoyed the sport so much that he often disguised himself thus in order to test his skill against villagers, thereby becoming quite a legend in his own time.

When Ayutthaya fell in 1767 AD, many Thais became prisoners of war. In 1774, the King of Burma held a festival to celebrate the Chedi containing the Buddha’s relics in Rangoon, with various forms of entertainment and festivities. This included a boxing display for the King by a Boxer named “Nai Khanom Tom” a prisoner of war from Ayutthaya. Pit against Burmese boxers, Nai Khanom Tom defeated 10 Burmese opponents in a row. To reward this tremedous feat, the Burmese king gave Nai Khanom Tom his freedom. Till this day, the Nai Khanom Tom ceremony is a major event in Thailand’s Muay Thai calendar, attracting participants from all over the world.


During the reign of King Tak Sin the Great, the king had a close aide-de-amp named “Phraya Pihai Dab Hak”. The latter had studied the art of Muay Thai with many famous teachers and displayed his talent for the King. As a result, he was chosen to become a soldier, and was later promoted to the position of Chao Muang (governor) with his name recorded in history.

In the Ratanakosin Period, Muay Thai was still a national art form, with competitions in annual national festivals. Time-keeping was done by floating a pierced coconut shell. When the coconut sank, a drum would be beaten to signal the end of a round. In 1788, during the reign of King Rama I, two French brothers arrived in Thailand by boat, having defeated many boxers across the Indo-China Penninsula. King Rama I consulted the Crown Prince, his brother, who offered to find boxers to fight against the Frenchmen. Phraya Phra Klang would accept the challenge, settling the bet at 50 chang (4,000 bhat). The Crown Prince chose a boxer named Muen Plan of the Royal Guards. The match was held in the grounds of the Grand Palace. Muen Plan wore full battle regalia – bare chested, seeped in magic charms, cabalistic writing and oils to ensure invulnerability. When the fight began, the large French fighter tried to attack, aiming for the neck and collar-bone. Muen Plan defended himself with Muay Thai. The other Frenchman, seeing his brother making no progress became frustrated, and pushed Muen Plan’s back to stop him from backing away. Members of the Royal Guards saw this break of boxing etiquette and proceeded to help Muen Plan tackle the two Frenchmen until they had to be carried back to the boat. They set sail the next day, with no thought of ever challenging a Thai Boxer again.


During the reign of King Rama V, Muay Thai matches were widely popular. Boxing matches were held for the King’s pleasure. Skilled boxers received titles from the King, for example Muen Muay Mee Chue from Chaiya, Muen Muay Man Mudh from Lopburi and Muen Cha-ngad Cherng Chok from Korat. Also in this period, boxing camps were established. Members of the royal family sent out talent scouts to recruit potential boxers from up-country and arranged matches between camps. Winners would receive money and valuable prizes. This period could well be called ‘the Golden Age of Muay Thai’.

During the reign of King Rama VI, Thai boxing matches became more widespread. Matches that used to be held in make-shift rings in any available courtyard gave way to a standard raised ring surrounded by ropes. The first ring was built in 1921 at Suan Kularp field. Although standard rings were available, boxers still bound their hands with rope. Foreign boxers came to take on Thai boxers. An important free-style match took place between Young Harntalay and Chin Chang from China which attracted a huge crowd of spectators. The result was that Young Harntalay floored Ching Chang with a beautiful kick. In this period, they also had referees in the ring and kept time by the clock. These innovations were probably adopted from abroad.

Rope binding was needed until 1929 when boxing gloves took its place. Earlier at the Lumpini Park Ring, a Filipino boxer gave an international style boxing exhibition with boxing gloves. Later, gloves were also used in student boxing matches (called “Muay Farang”) and in professional international boxing between Thai and foreign boxers. This led the organizers of Thai style boxing to see that gloves were less dangerous than rope-binding, and decided that gloves should be adopted in Muay Thai. However, fighting with elbows, knees, feet and fists would still be allowed.

Although many improvements or changes were applied. These included the type of ring; breaking each bout into rounds; using the minute-system of time keeping; and using gloves. Interestingly, the original Thai boxer’s groin guard consisted of a triangular-shaped pillow tied to the waist. The pillows were red or blue according to the boxer’s corner. These ‘guards’ remained in use until Thai a boxer visited Malaysia where he saw foreign boxers using ‘modern’ jock straps. He brought the idea back to Thailand. Since then jock straps have replaced the ‘triangular pillows’.

During the reign of King Rama VII, in the revolutionary period, permanent boxing stadiums were established both in Bangkok and in the provinces. They gradually disappeared in 1942 during World War II. After the war, boxing stadiums sprang up like mushrooms overnight. Skilled boxers from up-country flocked to Bangkok to take part in tournaments. Finally, the first standard boxing stadium was established – the Rajdamnern Stadium in 1945. Rules were set, and later on regular bouts were set at 5 rounds of 3 minutes each, with a two-minute interval between rounds. The weight was taken down in stones (like for horse racing) and later converted into kilograms.

In the early days, the match-maker system was used. Stadium officials would organize matches providing cups or talent jackets as prizes. Matches were not classified into weight groups until many years later when the pound system replaced stones and kilograms. International names were given for each weight group, such as flyweight and bantamweight. Matches were arranged to select a champion for each class, following the international style.

Muay Thai is still developing, but what remains unchanged is the use of the pipe and drums as musical accompaniments for the matches. This remains a unique characteristic of Muay Thai. Muay Thai has been initiated under many names, which have not received prolonged interest because the original has already become known worldwide.

Many additions have been made to the regulations of Muay Thai. It is forbidden now to hit the private parts since this technique has become quite infamous as a form of attack and is considered debasing for the fine art of Thai boxing. Muay Thai remains a national art form. If all parties concerned help to uplift and conserve this form of martial arts – and faithfully pass it onto following generations – it will remain a valuable possession of the Thai nation and a wonderful gift to the world at large.

Rugby-Cooper pitted against Muay Thai veteran in pro-boxing debut

Rugby-Cooper pitted against Muay Thai veteran in pro-boxing debut

Jan 10 (Reuters) – Australia flyhalf Quade Cooper was on Thursday pitted against Muay Thai veteran Barry Dunnett for his professional boxing debut scheduled in Brisbane next month.

The 24-year-old New Zealand-born back is currently honing his punching skills in Brisbane ahead of the charity bout which will keep him out of the Queensland Reds’ second and final pre-season trial.

When he steps into the ring at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre on Feb. 8 on the undercard of close friend and former All Black Sonny Bill Williams’ bout with Francois Botha, Cooper will confront a 32-year-old rival with some credentials as a fighter.

“He’s fought for a Queensland light heavyweight Thai boxing title. He’s had two pro-boxing fights, one win and one loss, in 2010,” Shannon King, whose Corporate Box facility Dunnett used for practice, was quoted as saying by the Brisbane Times.

“He’s not a basketball player turned boxer. It’s all he’s done for the past eight years as a sport. If he goes down, it will be because he’s sleeping, or because he’s got a rib pushing on a vital organ. He won’t give up,” King added.

According to the report, Dunnett has fought 15 times under Muay Thai rules which allow the use of elbow and knee, and the pair will meet for the first time on Friday at a media session.

On the rugby field Cooper was a shadow of his creative self last year, producing a number of below-par performances after recovering from a serious knee injury and featuring in a well-publicised spats with the governing body.

His boxing venture appeared to have the backing of Queensland Reds coach Ewan McKenzie.

“If you are going to put yourself out there in front of a big TV audience and a crowd one-on-one … you can’t help think he is getting some benefit from a confidence point of view,” McKenzie told reporters on Tuesday.

“He’s been getting his boxing done around normal training. The quality of his rugby training has been outstanding, he seems in a very good space.” (Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Ossian Shine)