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CARLEIGH CRAWFORD Lovin’ The Muay Thai Life

Carleigh Crawford

Carleigh Crawford

At just under six foot with long blonde hair, Carleigh Crawford isn’t what most people imagine when they visualise a Muay Thai fighter. “I wear a suit or a dress to work (at law firm O’Sullivan Davies) and always have my nails done, my hair, and a nice handbag, and people say, oh, you’re too girly-girly to be a fighter.”

Don’t be fooled by the glamour; Crawford has 18 fights under her belt, some at home, some interstate, some overseas, with all opponents bar one interstate or international fighters. “My fight record is 13 wins, four losses, one draw.” Five of those victories were knockouts, hence the nickname Carleigh “Angry Lady” Crawford. She currently holds the M.A.S.A welterweight World Title, and on Saturday, March 14, at Domination 14 in Byford she fight’s New Zealand’s current welterweight champion, Gentiane Lupi.

The training schedule for a Muay Thai fighter is intense and often gruelling. “In the lead up to a fight I train five to six times a week. I’m at The Thaiboxing Pit in Canning Vale, my head trainer is Blair Smith and assistant trainer is my husband Burty, but we come under the same roof as Synergy Martial Arts, which is MMA, Boxing, and Muay Thai (but I actually fight out of The Thaiboxing Pit). And then I do my strength and conditioning work at The Mill Gym in North Fremantle.”

May sees Crawford head to Thailand for a five week training camp (training twice a day, six days a week), before the promoter matches her for fights held at traditional Muay Thai stadiums. These fights are quite the crowd pleasers in the sport’s motherland. “Last time my husband and I were there it was so funny, we drove down the hill and the first thing we saw was a palm tree with my poster on it! The streets were plastered with fight posters. People recognised me everywhere. They have these big trucks that drive around promoting the fights, so a truck would drive past with a life-sized poster of me on the side. So bizarre.”

When it comes to the ring, Crawford has her own rules in regards to fight wear: she likes her ankle straps to match her shorts, and she never fights in the same pair of shorts twice. (Her collection’s hit the hundred mark.) Shorts from victories hang in a designated cupboard, while shorts from losses are another story. “If I lose in a pair of shorts, I wear them to training. You feel like crap when you lose; putting them on makes me train harder, because I never want to feel like that again. So if you’re feeling flat, or you’re feeling lazy, put your shorts on that you’ve lost in, and remember what it felt like when the other person’s arm got raised at the end of the fight instead of yours. It makes you get out of that lazy mode, and makes you work harder.”

Her walkout song for a fight is Marilyn Manson’s Beautiful People. “The only times I’ve used different tracks, I’ve lost. The four times I’ve lost are the four times I’ve changed my song.” She concedes it may have nothing to do with it, but Crawford’s sticking with the Manson track all the same.

GILLIAN O’MEAGHER

 

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