1. What propelled you to kickbox, how old were you, where did you begin, and why??
Being half Aboriginal, I am from a very sporting family and always been active in many different sports growing up. I was always doing different sports but never really concentrating on one particular sport. When I was 18, I started taking an interest towards the martial arts sports. There was a girl who I went to school with and she was very good at karate. She was winning national titles in every event she went in. At this point I was thinking that I will do karate. Then One weekend I went along to a local kickboxing show held in Moree, NSW, the town where I grew up. There were a few local fighters fighting on the show and I discovered one of my cousins (female) was also fighting. Unfortunately, she lost a tough fight, but all through her fight, I just kept thinking to myself, "I could do that!" The following week, I went and joined the local club and that's where it all kicked off for me! After 2 years training in Moree, I was just boxing and kickboxing. Then, I started to take more of an interest in Thai boxing. That's when I made a move to Brisbane, QLD to train seriously in Powerhouse Thai Boxing under former ISKA world champ Scott Bannan. This is when I discovered my heart belongs to Muay Thai. Moving and training with Scott was one of the best moves I've made. Scott worked with me a lot and changed and improved my style completely.
I trained alongside him as we usually had a fight around the same time as each other. Then Scott gave me some advice one day, he said "Julie go to Thailand to train and fight". Then, within the next 2 months I was in Thailand kicking Thai pads. So, most of my last year and a half has been spent in Thailand. Now I am in Australia, on the Gold Coast training with my new trainer and manager Mark Pease at the Strikeforce Gym.
2. What keeps you motivated??
I think everyone has different reasons for their motivation. My motivation would have to be the challenge of this sport and also personal goals I set for myself. As a fighter I set personal goals to keep my mind focused and keep pushing myself. My goals at the moment are to win a WMC Australian title and win gold in the IFMA World Championships later this year in Kazakhstan. You need to have something to look forward to achieving, whether you achieve it or not maybe another story, but you should strive for something. Also living an active healthy lifestyle is much more attractive. I don't smoke or do any drugs, and I very rarely drink alcohol and I am happy to stay this way. So health is another motivating factor for me.
3. How do you keep from not kicking smart asses?
I actually haven't had any trouble at all since I've started training, I don't think.. I seem to get more support rather than any smart ass starting any trouble. I've not needed to sort out anyone anywhere. I've found that people respect you when they know you're a fighter, which is a good thing. There are some fighters that act tough and think everyone has got to fear them and will bully people etc, but I'm not like that.
4. What exactly is Muay Thai ?? Please explain difference between Muay Thai and kickboxing.
Obvious differences between Muay Thai and kickboxing is the included use of elbows, knees, grappling, sweeps etc in Muay Thai. Kickboxing is just straight kicking and punching. Another difference is the scoring system used in muay Thai. In kickboxing, punches are scored highly I think. In muay Thai they are probably the lowest scoring weapon. Muay Thai is more scored on technique and power. Body kicks and knees score highly in Muay Thai. The pace of a muay Thai fight also differs to kickboxing. In muay Thai fighters start off slowly and pick up the pace during the fight, and finish very strongly. It is very important to win the later rounds of a muay Thai fight, as they are the highest scoring rounds. Round 4 is the money round, so they call it in Thailand. In my opinion, Muay Thai is a more beautiful and graceful sport. Fighters show a lot of respect to fellow fighters and officials, their gym/trainer, the sport and their religion. Fighters perform the wai kru before a bout commences. This fight dance shows respect to the fighters trainer and gym. Muay Thai is also a more exciting fight to watch.
5. Do you live in Thailand? What made you focus on fighting there, instead of Australia?
No, I don't live in Thailand, though my friends seem to think I do. I've been back in Australia now for about 5 weeks and I am enjoying being home again. I decided to spend time in Thailand to just train full time, learn heaps and get my fight record up. In Australia it is a little harder to get regular fights. Whereas in Thailand I would fight every 3-4 weeks, or even more often if I wasn't injured. You're constantly training while you're over there, so you're pretty much fit to fight anytime. I was training and living in the WMC Camp, Koh Samui. The lifestyle of living and breathing muay Thai was a great learning experience for me. And other things you see over there make you learn to appreciate what you have a bit more. And other things make you fall in love with the place.
6. Tell us something about your experiences in Thailand?
Thailand was an awesome experience for me. I now have more respect for the sport and I have gained much more knowledge. I am happy with what I have achieved over there. I have improved out of sight as a fighter. I've developed a different belief in myself now, and improved myself as a person. I am the fighter I am today because of my time spent in Thailand. I have been looked after well during my stays in Thailand by the WMC crew Stephan Fox, Carl Drapper, Reece Purser and Hanarong. Anytime I needed any of them they were only a phone call away, if they weren't at the camp at the time.
7. Who are some notable fighters you met while in Thailand? And what did you learn from the associations?
I met some great people and made some very good friends from many different countries. \I had the honor of training with fellow female champions, Amy Birch, Mappela Lehtonen, and Mia Etelapelto. We all trained together for around a month. It was good because we all had different styles, so we were all able to learn something from each other. I also spent a lot of time with fellow Aussie Amy Birch. She is a great training partner for me as well as a best mate of mine. She is a true champ and she helped me out a lot. I learnt a lot from her. We formed the Australian team on many shows. She is still in Thailand now, I'm not sure of when she is coming back but when she does we will be meeting up as often as possible to train together. Training with the Finnish girls, Mappela and Mia was great. Mappela is the girl that beat Laura Skinner in the IFMA World Championships in Bangkok last year. She is a very good fighter and I believe she will go far- and no, she is not scared of fighting without all the amateur padding. She was my sparring partner and I was able to learn from her as she fights a different style to me, and she is around my weight. Mia is the IFMA gold medallist who beat New Zealander Sue Glassey in Bangkok last year. She is a very good fighter also who has a lot of potential.
8. Would you like to return to train with these people in Thailand next year?
I will have the pleasure of training with them again in Finland next year. I met and trained with loads of other good fighters while I was there including Fiona Hayes, Sue Glassey, Alex Dally, Paul Slowinski, Sak Nayagam, Ashley Gettings, Nik Winburg, John Hallford, Ashley White, Chris Collard, Ben Steele and many more.
9. Who are some of the people who really helped you grow as a fighter?
I would like to thank all the people that helped me during my stay in Thailand. I would especially like to thank Stephan Fox for all the support he has given me and I appreciate it a lot. And of course have to thank my parents for their financial support and the high phone bills they received. Oooops.
10. Can you describe some of the experiences from your most recent fights. Such as lessons learned, experience gained, etc?
My last few fights in Thailand were all very tough fights. I would have to say some of the Thai girls are the toughest you can come against.
They don't give up!! I have hit some of them girls with big punches, elbows, knees and kicks and they just fired back at me with the same. They kick damn hard as well. They are very strong and smart in the grapple, that is usually how they will try to beat a foreigner fighter
11. How have your fights been going lately?
I have won my last 5 fights, stopping 2 of them. I fought Somsatan, the Thai Champion and IFMA Gold Medallist and she beat me by one point. I give her credit and respect because she did beat me. It was a very close fight, and one of the best fights I have fought so far. She had wicked kicks especially her left body kick. And she had an awesome right step up knee. It was a very technical fight with both of us going at it with everything knees, kicks, elbows, punches. I learnt a great deal from this fight and am happy with it. My last fight which was in Rangsit, Bangkok March 16 was an absolute war. This girl was quite tough. She came out early charging me trying to get an early stoppage. But I had other plans!! I picked her off and blocked what she was throwing at me, then I picked up the pace myself. I ended up putting 2 standing 8 counts on her in the 3rd round, if that round had gone any longer I would've stopped the fight then. My corner yelled to me that one more count and the fight is over, but the bell rang. Then we continued and the fight ended up going the distance. I won on points. We received a standing ovation from the Thai crowd. They loved it!! Afterwards the promoter asked me if I would fight for the Intercontinental title. But I had to decline because my visa had run out and I was booked to fly back to Australia the following day.
12. Have you noticed any differences evolving in your fighting?
A difference in my fighting now is the fact that I have matured a lot more as a fighter. In my first few fights, there is not a lot I can remember during the actual fight, everything seems like a blur. But for say my last 8-9 fights I can remember everything. During the fight I can hear what my corner is telling me and I can follow their instructions. In between rounds now I am more relaxed and can communicate with my trainer clearly and take in what he is telling me. My style has completely changed since my days back when I was kickboxing. I've become a more technical and tidier fighter, and possess more power in everything. I now pick my shots a lot better. I guess this all comes with experience but these are just the differences I have been noticing now.
13. What are your thoughts on fighting Laura Skinner?
My thoughts on fighting Laura? hmmmmmmm.... I believe it is going to be a hard fight. I'm not under any impression that it will be any different. I am an upcoming fighter who is young and have been very active. I've just turned 22, This fight is a test and a challenge for me. Laura has been around the fight scene for a long while now. I give her credit, she has fought some very good fighters in the past and beaten them. She has won a world title which I think is great for her. She has paved a way for other girls to follow her footsteps. I have also fought some very good, top fighters and came out the victor.
I have been very active, and I am young. I'm not going to trash talk or anything because that is not my style. Our battle will be in the ring not anywhere else. It has been advertised as a Grudge Match which I really don't understand. But if it gets people to the show on the night, then so be it. The better fighter will win on the night, but it's not going to be easy for either of us. I'm prepared for 5 hard rounds. With hard work and belief my light will shine through in the end. I'm sure I am ready.
14. Who are some of the people you most look up to in Muay Thai?
Number 1 - Daniel 'The Rock' Dawson: He's my buddy, and one hell of a fighter. Illonka Elmont - She's always active and kicking ass lately. Amy Birch - She's a champ, my training partner, a kick ass fighter, and a best friend. John Wayne Parr - One hell of a fighter and a tough mother. Lisa Houghton-Smith - I met her in Bangkok. I liked her perception of life and fighting and her personality/attitude.
Thanks so much, to Julie Livet, and Dan Stone for making this interview available to womenkickboxing.com
Dan Stone's website can be accessed at