Stornoway scrappers flying the flag for Eilean Siar Muay Thai in the ring

Ian Macdonald and Gordon Macintosh from ESMT.
Ian Macdonald and Gordon Macintosh from ESMT.
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Another pair of fighters have begin their journey from Eilean Siar Muay Thai Club to the competitive ring under the expert tutelage of coach Norrie Mackenzie.

Hot on the heels of ESMT’s Gary Thomas Reynolds hitting the ring for his début, Stornoway lads Ian Macdonald and Gordon Macintosh have both gloved up and taken the next step in their journey with the art of the eight limbs for their own competitive fight débuts.

Coaching all three of the ESMT fighters is former Scottish British Muay Thai champion Norrie Mackenzie with the man himself travelling to each of the fights as coach and corner man for his students.

Fighting at 64KG was 29-year-old Stornoway man Ian Macdonald who says stepping in between the ropes was ‘a bucket list’ moment for him.

“I wanted to test myself and see if I could cope with the stress of it. The mental stress especially,” he explained, “and fighting was on my bucket list.”

The fight was on the talent-packed card at the Marriot Hotel in Glasgow earlier this month and Ian admits in the immediate run up to the bell he felt a few pangs of nerves.

“I was really nervous in the run up but not as much as I expected to be. I was focussed and in the 20-minutes before the fight I had to remind myself the other guy was going to be trying to hurt me so I had to try and adopt the same mentality,” he said.

His opponent connected with some well aimed blows but Ian says during the fight he didn’t feel any pain with adrenaline filling his body – unlike stamina he jokes.

“I went too fast and was out of breath after just 30-seconds. I trained really hard for three months then within 30-seconds I was shattered.”

Between each round ESMT coach Norrie was on hand offering words of encouragement and expert advice with Ian saying he was urged to dig deep give it everything he had.

In the third round Ian drove a ferocious knee into his opponent’s body, taking the wind out of his sails, and forcing a standing eight count from the referee.

It was too much for his opponent who couldn’t continue as the Stornoway scrapped had his arm raised in the air after a TKO victory.

In sporting battle just a week before was fellow ESMT club mate Gordon MacIntosh who made his in ring début against an opponent who failed to make weight twice.

Despite being offered the chance to pull out of the fight due to his opponent’s weight, MacIntosh gloved up and went bell to bell and toe to toe.

“It was an amazing experience and a whole range of emotions. It took a while to decompress after and reflect on it all,” he told the Gazette this week.

“I had some nerves but I was more relaxed than I expected to be. One second I was in the changing room and then punching someone in the ring.”

In a close fight Gordon was disappointed not to have his arm raised but he is already itching to get back into the ring having been bitten by the competitive fighting bug.

“I think I learned more in this one 15 minutes I was fighting than in six-months of sparring and I’m looking forward to doing it again,” he grinned. “To be honest I’d do everything different next time and a different mental approach. I’m quite critical of myself and I want to do it again and do it better.

“I was disappointed with the result. It was close and I wasn’t sure who had won in the end. I don’t regret going for it despite the weight issues but I regret not performing the way I think I should have.”

Both Ian and Gordon point to ESMT’s Gary Thomas Reynold’s decision to fight earlier this year as acting as the catalyst for them taking to the ring.

Gordon added: “I think Gary having his fight started a chain reaction for the rest of us to step up and give it a go and hopefully more and more will too. It’s a great sport, a great club and we have a coach who had done it all the very top level.”