Nugget McNaught: I've rediscovered my passion for Muay Thai
|Written by Administrator on 30 October 2012|
Nugget McNaught talks to IK about his adventures in Thailand - the motherland of Muay Thai.
Better known now throughout Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand as Ajarn Nugget following his part in the 2011 reality TV show, Challenger Muaythai, where he trained some of the best fighters on the planet. Plans for this adventure started in late 2011 when he made arrangements with his long-time student, and now partner at Nugget’s Gym, and undoubtedly the best man for the job, Soren Monkongtong, to run the gym and take care of his boxers while he was away.
Leaving the shores of Australia, Nugget was dedicating three-to-four months of solid training in Thailand. With the help of Stephan Fox, vice president of WMC, he was fortunate enough to be offered the position as a trainer and event consultant by Toli Makris, the founder and director of Elite Boxing.
Nugget found his new home at Elite Boxing — in the centre of Bangkok on the famous Sukhumvit Road — very accommodating. Nugget was warmly welcomed and accepted by the Thai trainers, headed by long-time friend and trainer Gae Muaythai. There he had the opportunity to train fighters like Changpuek Por Pao Inn, Nonsai SorSanyakorn, Valdet Gashi, Ilya Grad and Leo Monteiro, to name a few, as well as having the opportunity to help train and corner Australia’s very own superstar Micheal Tomahawk Thompson.
After one month of six-day per week training at Elite Boxing, Nugget met Turkish/German-born Serdar Karaca, a veteran of the European fight scene at 39 years old and fighting at 83kg. Serdar boasts an impressive record of 47 fights for 40 wins with 30 of those being by KO, and lives by the motto “age is no limit”. These two quickly formed a strong friendship and Nugget took on the position of Serdar’s head trainer for his upcoming bout in Switzerland, scheduled for 2013. As a result, Nugget’s three to four month trip turned into a six to seven month one, as he was now set to be travelling throughout Asia and Europe with the Elite Boxing team.
“I have to say, so far, the highlights of my trip would be training Changpuek every day for three months because he is just an absolute machine and he really trains hard, that mixed with grappling him and Leo, really helped motivate me to get back into training.”
Changpuek developed a real respect for Nugget and honoured him with the task of taking his Mongkol off at both of his fights at the famous Ratchadamnoen Stadium. “That gave me a tiny little tickle,” Nugget laughs.
Another highlight for Nugget was witnessing Micky Thompson KO his Thai opponent on the Prince’s Birthday event. But what really inspired Nugget and reignited his passion was meeting Serdar. “My main highlight would have to be taking on Serdar’s motto – age is no limit,” reveals Nugget.
This trip could not have come at a better time in Nugget’s life. “I had always planned this trip but after all the bullshit at Evo, I guess it was just good timing to go away and clear my head. And just for the record, I never hid my beliefs or who my friends are! I think the freedom of association is the cornerstone of any constitution of people’s right”, shares Nugget.
So, what was it Nugget was in search of when he planned this trip? “I think anybody doing the same job for 24 years may lose the motivation, sight and passion for something they once loved. I’m lucky enough to feel like I have not only found my passion for Muay Thai again but also the drive and desire to be the best I can be again.”