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Interview with

Erin 'Nitro' Linley Speaks Out!


by Mike Miles

Having just won her second world title fight encounter in Canada, we spend a few moments with the brand new WIKBA World Flyweight Muay Thai Champion and the WMC World Flyweight Muay Thai Champion from Canada, Ms. Erin Linley.

Mike: It's been a really big year for you! Congratulations on winning your second World Title. How do you feel?

Erin: I feel really good. I was very excited by the prospect of this fight.

Mike: How did you feel about fighting Ria Ramnarine?

Erin: I was somewhat nervous because of her fight record and her accomplishments in boxing. Thus I felt it would be a hard fight. I figured she would be very good with her hands. But on the other hand, it was my second fight against a women's professional boxer so that helped.

Mike: Were you surprised by Ria in any way during your bout?


Erin: Yes, I was expecting different movement. I expected her to move laterally. She threw some nice sidekicks but they did not really hurt, more just surprised me. I kept expecting her to move and more so, to move away, but she moved forward mostly allowing me to engage in the clinch. I was surprised by her game plan.

Mike: Do you think her battle plan was smart on her part?

Erin: Not really but it was effective in a few ways. When we clinched, I kept kneeing her arms because she placed them in the way. She has had K-1 style rules fights which allow knees but try and keep the clinching to a minimum. She would rush in when we clinched and try and punch my body to slow me down. She would sometimes get into an awkward position and twice while kneeing she put her head into the path of my incoming knee. It was accidental on my part. The second knee really hurt me as I caught the top of her head (in round four). But during the fight, now that I think about it, I am not sure if she clinched because she wanted to, but maybe more so, because she had to. Needless to say she covered well, but did not hurt me at all in the clinch.

Mike: During the fight you pulled some smart moves and strikes during the clinch. Do you think she expected it?


Erin: No. My battle plan worked very well and I am sure I surprised her.


Mike: People have stated you could have out boxed her and more so say you did in the third and fourth rounds. How do you feel about this?

Erin: Personally I would have liked to throw more kicks in with the boxing. It is a nice compliment about the boxing and it feels great, but I know I have a lot more improvement to make.

Mike: Ria showed no pain during the fight. Yet afterwards she was covered in ice to bring the swelling down. Any thoughts?

Erin: She has a great game face. At times during the bout, I was wondering if I was hurting her but deep down inside I knew my blows were. After the fight seeing her covered in ice confirmed my suspicions.

Mike: Any thoughts about her skills that night?

Erin: A few of her crosses were powerful. I was surprised because I expected more combinations but I guess the game plan I had worked. She threw a lot of single shots during this fight because I would disrupt her flow with the clinch, the kicks or counter quickly. During a few of our exchanges there were a few unintentional head butts where we both crashed forward with the strong shots. Luckily neither of us was hurt or cut by the clashes. I will have to think about correcting this a lot for my next fight.

Mike: Could you have knocked her out?

Erin: Honestly, I tried, but at the same time, I did what was wanted of me. I am happy about that. During the fight I needed to try some different follow ups. I should not second guess myself because what I did worked because I won a second title.

Mike: What would you say Ria's strong points were?

Erin: She threw cut kicks but they did not hurt. Siriporn hit much, much harder with her kicks. Like I said, she had a good game face, and she was relaxed. She punched as hard as Anastasia from my first world title shot (2001).

Mike: Did you learn anything from the fight?

Erin: I learned to really mix it up to get into the clinch. I also need to work harder on my punches.

Mike: People were impressed by your right hand.

Erin: I did work hard on this hard in training and it felt pretty good in the ring. However, had I knocked Ria out with it, then I know it would have impressed people more.

Mike: Before this fight you just returned from fighting in Thailand. How did it feel to be fighting in Thailand again?

Erin: It felt really good. I was nervous yet really excited. I wanted to go back and beat Siriporn (Somplod). I knew I could beat her even the first time.

Mike: How did you feel during the actual fight itself?

Erin: During the first two rounds I felt real good except for the fact that the center of the ring was very slippery. In the third round I started to feel a little fatigued. I think the later rounds had me become a little tired prematurely because I honestly felt I had overtrained for this fight.

Mike: How did you feel when you won the title?

Erin: I was surprised because I had lost on the two world title fights when I was traveling. I think deep down inside I had expected this to happen again. The fight itself was close but I decided during the fight I would outscore her. I would try and double back the amount of successful blows she hit me with. In the end I was very happy! I finished the fight stronger and in better shape than her. You know the old saying, "it's not how you start the race, but how you finish."

Mike: What about Siriporn? Strengths, weaknesses?

She was still strong with her kicks and she only landed one knee that had power on it. She threw no elbows and had no punching power, at least not what I am used to.

Mike: Your clinch really improved for this fight. Any thoughts?

Erin: I know she was surprised. I was one step ahead of her most of the time in the clinch. She put me to the canvas once but I returned the favor to her as well. When she dropped me in the clinch I did not expect it. It was very explosive of her. She had me under the arms and I was trying to arch my back to get out and then she pulled me off balance quick. My knees and clinch felt very good this time and I do not feel her clinch or her knees improved for the second encounter.

Mike: What would you do if you were offered to box professionally?

Erin: I do not like boxing as much. I like kicking and kneeing too much to forget about using them. Boxing to me does not have as much action as Muay Thai. But on the other hand, if the money is good, I would possibly consider it.

Mike: There are not many women in your division left to fight. So what is the plan?

Erin: I would like to move up in weight. I know I can do this but I have to be smart and do it gradually.

Mike: How long have you been training?

Erin: I started training about 4 1/2 years ago.

Mike: Why did you start training?

Erin: I started training recreationally for the fun of it with a friend of mine. My friend started first and I tagged along. I never had any plans on becoming a competitive fighter. On my first bout, I was asked to fight on three hours notice. I said yes, and I have been involved as a fighter since.

Mike: Who did you fight and how did you do on your first fight?

Erin: It was three rounds kickboxing. I fought Leeanne Liesemer and I won. She had fight experience and I did not.

Mike: You threw a lot of good kicks during this fight but...

Erin: I know, I know! I did not want to hurt her and a lot of my kicks flew over her head as she was so short.

Mike: How many fights have you had?

Erin: I have had 17 fights. I have 15 wins and 2 losses. The 2 losses have been in international bouts.

Mike: Who has been your toughest fight?

Erin: I think the toughest fight I had was against Anastasia Touktaulova from Russia. It was for an ISKA World Kickboxing Title. I weighed very light and got on the scale fully clothed.

Mike: Why was it your toughest?

Erin: She is a champion boxer (European Boxing Champion). I was surprised because she had massive experience over me in both Kickboxing and boxing. I thought she was going to really take it to me.

Mike: Tell us a bit about the fight.

Erin: It was an 8 round fight so I knew I would have to work my cardio-endurance. We knew (coach and I) that I would have to be real smart with our tactics to win the fight.

Mike: Though the decision was split for Anastasia, a lot of people thought you won. How do you feel about that fight?

Erin: I personally thought I won as well but I was not sure as we were in another country (Russia). The two Russian judges gave it to her where as the English judge gave it to me. I thought it would go the other way and it did. I was happy with the way I fought and that is what counted.

Mike: You were not even in the same division as Anastasia.

Erin: I know originally the Russian promoter wanted Vanessa Bellegarde to fight but she had just recently retired. We (coach and I) thought it was an excellent opportunity to gain much needed and valuable fight experience. We tried a program to have me gain weight and I could not because I was actually leaning up by training so hard for the match. The fight was 4 full divisions above what I fight at. I weighed in 2 divisions under Anastasia and as I said I was fully clothed, plus I had a little help even making that weight. She weighed in stripped. I took the fight for experience and being truthful, though it hurt to lose, I felt it was too early in my career to be wearing a world title. I had so much to learn and frankly, I still have so much more to learn.

Mike: What about the fight itself?

Erin: As the fight started, she danced a lot and show boated. Unfortunately, two of the three judges were from Russia and their background was in boxing. So she was scoring points with them by doing nothing. During the fight she surprised me and rushed in and I got my feet caught up and I fell to the canvas. The referee called it a knockdown. That really surprised me.

Mike: Any thoughts about the decision?

Erin: The only international Judge was Paul Hennessey from the UK and he felt that I had won the fight clearly. I would love to fight her again.

Mike: Let's talk about your other loss, the one in Thailand. It was for an IFMA World Title.

Erin: I felt the same for this fight. As it was on the Thai girl's home turf, I felt it would be difficult to win the fight. A problem during this event was the language barrier. Do not mean this as an excuse but it seems the Thai athletes were always a step ahead of us when it came to information and we always had our information sprung on us at the last moment. All the visiting countries made the same comments.

Mike: What do you mean?

Erin: I am only going to speak about my fight. I was told I would be fighting right away, the first one out. I got fully dressed (in the IFMA competition gear) and sat and waited for the event to begin. I was the first ladies final and was told the finals would be 5 rounds of 2 minutes. It was not. I fought the fourth round conserving my energy for the fifth only to find out the fourth was the final round.

Mike: How did you feel at the end of the fight?

Erin: I felt exhausted at the end of the fight. I think it was the combination of the heat and the humidity as well as the fact we had to wear all the equipment required in the World Amateur Championships.

Mike: Who is your favorite fighter?

Erin: When I first started it was Vanessa Bellegarde. I really looked up to her and I wanted to be just like her. I really admire and respect my female team-mates like Jennifer Cutbill, Shelley Evans, Rayelene Kellock, Leeanne McLim, Sandra Bastian...

Mike: Who would you like to fight?

Erin: I would definitely like to rematch Anastasia from Russia. There is a girl or two from Finland that I would like to fight. The one who beat Tevi Say (Mappela Lehtonen).

Mike: Other plans?

Erin: I would love to travel more fighting. Maybe win another title, but what is really important is to know I am improving in my skills.

Mike: Which is your favorite way of fighting (rules)?

Erin: When I first started kickboxing I wanted nothing to do with the knees. It was with great reluctance that I decided to fight with knees. Once I had a fight using knees it became my favorite way of fighting. Then I went through the same thing, I wanted no fights using elbows. I loved it. I love full Muay Thai because there are just so many more weapons you can use.

Mike: What do you think your strong points are as a fighter?

Erin: I feel my knees are strong. I feel I have speed and I can put together my combinations effectively. I know there are still a lot of things that I have to work on.

Mike: Is there anybody else you would like to fight? Do you watch video on other female athletes?

Erin: I would like to eventually fight Lisa-Houghton Smith (UK) and Ilonka Elmont (Holland). I guess Laura Skinner (Australia) and Sachiyo Shibata (Japan) are up there as well. I do not watch video though I did watch Anastasia box before I fought her.

Mike: Last year you had a lot of bad luck with breaking your arm and then breaking your toe and still fighting. How did you feel about that?

Erin: I felt quite discouraged and upset with it. I missed fighting and in truth I think this really motivated me to fight. I was hungrier than ever.

Mike: What do you think you would do if something else broke again?

Erin: Roll with it and remain focused on training and fighting again.

Mike: How old are you now and how long do you want to continue fighting for?

Erin: I am 22 years old and I want to fight for as long as I can. I want to travel around the world and fight and I want to be the top female in my weight division and then possibly move up a division at a time. So many possibilities and so much to do and achieve.


Many Thanks to Acharn Mike Miles and Erin Linley for  sharing this interview.





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