Fighting – the life of Brad Stanton
I must say, first time stepping into the gym there was a huge amount of anxiety and adrenaline pumping and it was one of the scariest buzzes of my life. I didn’t know that stepping into that gym was going to be fighting and for it to be the rest of my life but it was a choice I will never regret. The beginning was exciting; I didn’t have a clue what I was doing but learning something and going further into my newest journey was memories I’ll never forget! Competitions weren’t a thought at first; it was for self-defence and confidence for me. I remember my dad forever telling my brothers after they had a fight with me, well not a fight just one sided brawl, but my dad always said: “One day you’ll never hit him again.”
My first competition was to get over that mountain first, then competitions came after because I had battled my inner demons of low confidence and lack of respect for myself. I never believed in myself and it wasn’t just my brothers it was many. After that, my first fight was surreal! I can’t remember it but one thing, I got caught in the nuts and I got so angry I threw the guy down in clinch and shouted “stay the f**k down” while having my gum shield in. I was raging but I couldn’t control the fire inside me! That fight woke me up and it also woke something up what I’d never felt before nor seen before. From then I just wanted to fight!
Diet, my dad always cooked for me and with him having experience in catering, his cooking was amazing! After some time, I gained a sponsorship; that not only changed the way I ate but the results of the fight and the way I still cook to this day! So, thank you Lee Rickards and Wellocks for the amazing support! The regime we go through as fighters is sometimes fun but strict. So strict, I often felt like a robot but I loved it! I felt insanely strong yet gaining more strength everyday with the teachings of Jompop, Simon and Maria, I felt better and better every day just from practising that one kick, that one knee a thousand times over. The running, the diet, the pad work, clinch and sparring was like you were in the army or something.
It felt like hell, I remember crawling out of the ring, struggling to move the morning after a big session with the Kiatphontip family. If you want something so bad, you need to realise how bad you want it and realise what you’re willing to do for it! I remember, no one believed in me, then I won my first title and family saw me fight, friends saw me fight! I sacrificed everything, my childhood ie when I was a teenager I travelled back and forth to Leeds to train with the best. Then eventually moving to Leeds where my whole life was sacrificed because I remember being told I could be the best! The words kind of scarred me and just because I say scarred I do not mean in a bad way, they spur me on every day!
I remember being sat in front of my coaches and they said I could be the best, a world champion, a very good foreign fighter who could be remembered. That day I knew I would sacrifice everything to be what I was told that day and I still get chills thinking about it. The biggest stress of any fighter is trying to sell tickets, period! Family, friends, associates will let you down when it comes to tickets, you become so disheartened and all you want is their support, you don’t want them to lick your ass or anything you just want to make them proud so getting them there is a big mission!
I couldn’t contain myself the first time Jompop said I’d be fighting elbows! I fought Dave Copestake from K-Star in his home show! The first ever elbow I got was straight smack bang in the middle of my forehead and it felt like someone flicked me in the head, a ping to the head! My adrenaline was pumping so bad I felt like someone just flicked me in the head, the buzz I got was insane! Everyone thinks it’s scary, no, you worked hard to get to professional so enjoy that accomplishment! Anyone can do it, you just have to be consistent with training and work hard! Never stop learning…. With coaches like Jompop, Simon, Maria and Ja you have a huge pool of knowledge to soak up. Literally forever learning, tweaking your biggest points in fighting.
I’ve changed my way so many times but, it’s like, you’re forever evolving. I often wonder will I ever be a final product of Kiatphontip’s fight team. I mean, I know I aren’t a product to them, we are family but forever changing and adapting to a new style will I ever be happy with the end stage of my fighting? Evolution of fighting, I guess! Not complaining at all, I love the fact I’m still learning after 11 years of Muay Yhai. Encountering difficulties; there will always be difficulties. There are countless difficulties such as injuries to prevent training a certain aspect of fight prep, weight loss issues, the mental game is by far the biggest difficulty anyone will ever come across. You suddenly become your own enemy, I remember when Simon wrapped me up in towels and sent me to the sauna.
I cried that day! He called me a soft ass but the mental drain it had on me was by far the biggest I’ve ever had! You have so many doubts when it comes to fighting with your own mind. You think, what would people think if I lose? What is going to happen if I get hurt? When will my next fight be if I lose or win? Speaking as I was there now striping weight, I’d be cursing myself and becoming more harsh to myself by the second. The doubts that fill your mind when you’re lacking energy or when you climb over them ropes are immense but when that bell goes your suddenly invincible! I literally feel untouchable most times!!!
Family can sometimes be a mental difficulty and a physical difficulty, depending on the situation it can affect your whole game! Fighting abroad can be amazing but also very demanding, some are really relaxed and let you do as you wish, others want you to do everything they can possibly squeeze out of you in that time your there! It can be draining but an experience you’ll never forget!
You’re the only one in that ring and you’re doing it for yourself, for your future family, your wife (if you’re happily married) your son, daughter but you can be the one to decide whether you’re going to turn up on that day! It’s up to you. Remember your dream, your goals and what you want in life! Who can complain about doing what they love!!!! Really, like I love my job, as I say, above there can be difficulties but if you love Muay Thai, how good do you feel after you leave that gym! Last year I learnt a big lesson and you can call it selfish but I know in my defence I will always, I repeat always go to the gym unless I’m sick. I moved to Leeds to do Thai boxing! I was made for this, it’s not a chore, don’t let the difficulties of life have a bad influence on your love for what you do! Leave it at the door whether you’re a carpet fitter, a Muay Thai fighter or you teach in a secondary school! Love what you do and you’ll love your life! Memories and photos to hang up in your home! I can honestly say I love my career, which is Thai boxing and if you’re lucky you might just meet the love of your life throughout all the journey! No matter what you do. I wish you the best of luck in your career choice and life! Take care! Peace!
If you are local to the Leeds area, of even if you aren’t, I can’t speak highly enough of the Kiatphontip team and the quality of training they are able to provide. So if you are in two minds whether to begin training or want to take that extra step in furthering your fighting career then come down and get a taste of what real Thai Muay Thai in the UK is all about. I never looked back and I am certain you will do the same… What you waiting for?