Monday, April 25, 2011

From Karate to MuayThai with Denise O' Connell, Ireland

Denise O’ Connell started her sports career with Shotokan Karate but after watching one session of MuayThai knew that was her real passion.
Denise O Connell, Sitjaipetch Gym
Denise trains in Ireland – along with some of the other Irish fighters profiled here – and says: “Every time I fight, afterwards I say that’s it now, no more. Then my trainer asks me and I say yeah, sure, I’ll do it.”

At 6 foot 1 inch (1m 85cm) and 76kgs, Denise carries her strength easily now. But she says it’s wasn’t always like this. Without training, she says she puts on weight easily. Last year, while travelling and working in Australia (a typical rite of passage for young Irish people) her weight shot up to 96kgs. I met her at a fight-night in March, and she had lost the weight in less than three months. She just grinned and said: “Yes, I was living in the sweat-box. I had Weetabix for breakfast, protein shakes during the day … and often ran while wearing the sweat-suit as well.”

She won against her Scottish opponent that night, but says one of the highlights of her career so far has been the week at the Amateur European Championships. She says it was a “brilliant week” and she was proud to watch fighters from countries like Russia in the ring and think: “I can do that as well, great.”

But after five years of Shotokan, doesn’t she miss it? Apparently not. “I did some competitive bouts in that, but you only hit someone once. It’s a points-game. After one training session of the MuayThai, I never did karate again.” That said, she does have an interest in UFC. She says it’s harder to get fights in boxing as she is in a different weight category to many of the girls competing at the moment. So we might see her adding a third sport to her list someday.

Do you know anyone else who moves between different sports?


Snowcatcher said...

This truly was inspiring. Fun to know there are others out there who don't just stay the right weight without having to work at it!

Anonymous said...

The frightening thing is, she would be in my weight category. Except, I would be running away as fast as my legs could carry me. Her reach alone would be enough to take me outta the frame.

Good on ya, Denise.

niamh said...

@ Snowcatcher - it's all about the exercise! The worst-kept secret ever

@ Titanium - That's what boxing coaches always strive for, the balance between height and low weight - lower and lower and lower!