Bec “Lightning” Laurie
My name is Rebecca ‘Lightning’ Laurie. I am 23 and fight in the amateurs. I live in Toowoomba and I fight between 69-75kg. I started boxing training when I was 14 and started fighting at 15. I represent Smithy’s Gym in Boxing and Spain’s Muay Thai Gym. I’m relatively new to Muay Thai as I only began training at 22. In boxing I’ve won the Australian golden Gloves twice, the Queensland Titles once and the Queensland novice titles once as well. I had quite a few years off with injuries with both my shoulders reconstructed and with due to lack of opponents in my division haven’t had as many fights as I would have liked. My boxing record is 7-2 and my Muay Thai record is 1-2. Currently I am recovering from a spinal fusion and should be back fighting sometime after June 2013.
1. How long have you been doing Muay Thai and how did you start?
I stopped and started a few times with my shoulders. I wanted to start training years earlier but my boxing coach at the time didn’t approve. I wasn’t enjoying my boxing much at the time and decided to go to a Muay Thai class twice a week in a hall. The trainer was great but didn’t have any fighters at the time and when I expressed interest to fight he told me to go to Spain’s Muay Thai. I started there but after a few weeks I had back problems that lasted 3-4months. When I eventually went back to Spainy I was only training there for probably 2- 2 ½ months before I had my first fight.
2. You have done a lot of boxing do you think that helps you with your Muay Thai?
In ways it does but I have to really focus so I don’t revert to the other stance. I think I picked up elbows fairly fast due to the similar movements and weight transitions to punching. The conditioning and mental toughness from Muay Thai has helped my boxing in leaps and bounds.
3. What has been your biggest challenge as a fighter?
If I had to pick one particular moment it would be at the end of last year. I had a boxing tournament which was for selection for the Aussie Titles with the eventual winner to get a shot at being one of the first female Olympic boxers ever. The same weekend I also had a Muay Thai fight scheduled. My boss was giving me a hard time about having the time off so I quit my job 3 weeks out to fight. I had a back injury, struggled with weight and lost 3-4kgs a day to put it back on after the weigh-ins only to lose it again the next day. I ended up weighing in 4 times over 3 days. I got a by the first round and was in the finales which were on the same day as my Muay Thai fight. I lost my first round and then switched to southpaw and I thought I won the next 3 rounds very convincingly. I felt like I wasn’t only fighting my opponent but also the ref. I don’t know what I did to upset him but he was picking at me something chronic and cautioning me for things my opponent did or things that weren’t even rules. It was a case of land 3 punches and get cautioned. I’ve always been someone that tells it how it is and I ended the fight with a really warped score. My opponent could barely stand up and I felt like I’d barely even got a sweat going even though I set a very fast pace. My only previous loss at the time was when I was 15, tore my rotator cuff and dislocated my shoulder in the 1st punch of a fight against a 28year old eventually losing by one point. I packed up and drove straight to my Muay Thai fight an hour away with just enough time to wrap my hands and get a quick warm-up in. This fight I was completely out gunned and out grappled. I will safely say I got bashed for the first time in my life. lol I was so upset with my boxing that I got ripped off majorly, lost my shot at the Olympics and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It took me months to decide if I ever wanted to fight boxing again. Looking back I am so grateful for what the Muay Thai fight taught me and because of that fight I fell I evolved greatly as a fighter.
4. Do you get treated differently because you are a girl?
I’ve been turned away from gyms because they don’t train girls. I trained at gyms and was told just to hit the bags continually all session for weeks on end while everyone else got to spar, do pads etc. When I was younger my age was difficult as well and trainers told me to come back when I was 18 (so they could turn me pro and make money off me). These events have made me the person I am today and have greatly motivated me to show those trainers what they missed out on.
6. You train under Leon Spain at Spain’s Muay Thai what do you like about training there?
Training at Spainy’s feels like a family. When someone has a fight coming up we all help them out and the priority goes to that person. There’s no ego’s and this was a pleasant change from other gyms I’ve been to. Spainy inspires me to get better and even though I have my bad days in the gym I always walk out feeling like I couldn’t have given more that session. Spainy also helps and gives me technical advice with my boxing that my boxing coaches have never even thought of. I’m lucky to be a part of his team and will always be grateful for what he has taught me.
7. Your weight class doesn’t have very many opponents this must be frustrating for you?
Like most girls I’ve had a lot of other girls pull out of fights. Others not show up to weigh in after agreements to fight were made. It does get frustrating and both my coaches both want me to drop down a division and look at fighting at 68kg for that reason. It’s something that I’m working towards. In boxing they are finally getting a few more girls because my division is one of only 3 weight divisions in the Olympic Games/ commonwealth games now.
In Muay Thai it seems to be much harder. I have only had 3 fights against 2 different opponents. With lack of opponents in my division both the girls I have fought have had quite a bit of experience over me.
8. What would you be doing if you didn’t fight?
I would probably be either basketball player or would have stuck with hockey. I made 10 QLD teams/squads before I was 16 in hockey as a goalkeeper before I gave it up to try to fight more often.
9. What advice would you give to females wanting to take up fighting?
Do your research and find a good experienced trainer. Use all your recourses available. You can learn so much from watching others. Watch your trainer, training partners, other fighters at fight nights, you-tube etc. I always train better when I have a specific goal for the session. Weather it is working on your jab or trying to focus on checking kicks. Find a weak point in your game and focus on it until it becomes a strength. Be patient
10. Anything you would like to say or anyone you would like to thank?? I’d like to thank my friends and family for always having my back. My sponsors Brett Nixon (East Meets West Massage) and Warren Iacono (Warrens Towing). Anyone that has helped me in the past. Of course my trainers Leon Spain and Brandon Wood for shaping me into the fighter I am today. Thanks to all my training partners and sparing partners I couldn’t have do what I do without you all.
Interview by Natasha sky January 2013 Photos from facebook