Monday, April 4, 2016

Going for A-class with MuayThai fighter Eimear Codd


MuayThai fighter Eimear Codd is on a mission, having spent a year fighting just for fun she’s determined to make 2016 more focused. She’s off to a good start, winning on points at Cage Kings in Dublin last week against tough opposition.

When we spoke she was still on a high from that win taking her record to 13 fights (5W 1D 7L), and full of plans for herself and her gym Valhalla in Wexford. 


She said: ‘Last year was for fun, this year is going to be a bit more serious. I lost a lot at first, but it didn’t matter – I was learning, getting experience. I had my first fight in 2014 so I had a lot to learn.

‘And my first Thai-style fight was in April last year, she was so strong in the clinch, it really made me think. It was a great experience, I wasn’t bothered to lose. It was a great experience.’

Like a lot of female fighters, Eimear was first inspired by her brother who was into MMA. He encouraged Eimear and their sister to try classes, starting with kickboxing. She jokes life got in the way for her family but she’s still going.

Those classes led to meeting Tony Walsh, now head coach at Valhalla Gym but two years ago a man dreaming of bringing MuayThai to the south-east. Back then the sport was so unknown Eimear just nodded when friends thought she was doing kick-boxing, there was no point even trying to explain.

“It all started so fast. At my first fight the gym didn’t even have a name.  I fought in Athlone, and two of us won fights without even a name. It felt really good,” she said. 


Eimear Codd w Valhalla team
PIC via MuayEireann

With less than 20 people in Valhalla, the gym feels more like an extended family than a business she said. Even the tragic death of one of the original fighters brought them more closely together, with Eimear still wearing the first club T-shirts he designed.

 

So why MuayThai and not the camogie Wexford women are more known for?

 

She said: “What I love about it is you are learning every day, and you see results. Maybe not every day, but over time you see results. I sparred with someone who used to beat lumps out of me in kickboxing classes, just 13 years old or so but really good. I went back and could punch and get a few in, it felt great. I was thinking in my head ‘Ah, I’m learning, I’m learning’.”

And it was the explosive knees and elbows which pulled her from Kickboxing to MuayThai, as she explains:

“I really love knees, there is real power behind the knee. It’s just cool, it feels effortless. I need to work on my hands, but I love knees.

“My aims this year is to go A-class. I love using knees, so I imagine using elbows in a close-style fight would be great".

Eimear Codd (l) vs Ula Mydlowska PIC via MuayEireann
Eimear’s already catching eyes on the Irish fight scene, sponsored by Kingdom MuayThai, and supported by Karl England from Olympus Fitness and ‘Ultimate Nutrition’ in Enniscorthy.

She trains four times a week at Valhalla, and on her own at least twice doing weights and running. Her fight weight is 59/60Kgs at the moment but she's working at being a 58kgs or lower fighter as there are more opportunities at that weight in Ireland.

 

Inspiration



Eimear remembers watching Thai superstar Saenchai PK Saenchaigym in Cork taking on Dublin fighter Stephen Meleady. She said: “That was just an inspiration to me, watching that level make me want to take fighting more seriously.”

And she looks to American Sylvie von Duuglas Ittu, who is coming up to a record 200 fights in Thailand. She said: “Sylvie is bad-ass. She is breaking records, but just the fact she keeps living out there and fighting. She loves MuayThai, she’s just really cool” 

Eimear is planning a trip to Thailand next year, hoping to save enough from her accountant job with Atlantis Seafood to stay for a month of training. And fight of course.

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