Liam “The Hitman” Harrison’s Interview with the Science of 8
By Mike LNg
Liam Harrison is a strong United Kingdom nak muay standout. Harrison has been named in Thailand’s Muay Siam magazine as the foreign fighter of the year. Among the titles Harrison has captured are the WAKO-pro World Kickboxing Champion 62kg,WPMF World Muaythai Champion, and the WMC World Muaythai Champion -61.5kg.
Harrison recently has been competing in Thai Fight: the tournament broadcast on Thailand’s Channel 3 TV, along with a filmed reality TV show to coincide with the tournament. In Thai Fight Liam fought and won in the thus far 2 rounds of the tournament.
Q:What made you choose Muay Thai as a sport?
A: I used to play a lot of football and started Muay Thai just for some extra fitness. As I got a bit better I had my 1st fight which I won by KO. After that there was no turning back.
What sports did you prior to Muay Thai?
Only football. I played at quite a high level until I was about 18 years old.
The United Kingdom is becoming increasingly known internationally for producing high quality Thaiboxers. Why do you think that is?
We have some top gyms and coaches here in the UK. Also a lot of the gyms regularly bring Thai coaches over from Thailand to stay in their gym for long stints. I think this helps increase the sport here a lot.
Who were your earlier influences for martial arts?
To be honest, I was never into martial arts until I started Muay Thai. I still don’t really like any other sports apart from Muay Thai, football and (international) boxing.
You’re known for fighting some top tier Thaiboxers in Saenchai Sor Kingstar among others. What sort of adjustments do you make for fighting such high caliber Thai fighters?
I just train the way I always do: give 100 percent in the ring and in the gym. I’m always working with top coaches so whatever game plan they give me for these fights I trust them.
You recently competed in Thai Fight where you made it into the second round to defeat, by KO Soishiro Miyakoshi. Yet after the fact they disqualified you from the win because they said you failed to make weight. Can you explain the circumstances of the weight disqualification to your knowledge?
I was ill before the fight for about 4 days with a stomach virus but it wasn’t too bad. The day before and the day of the weigh in it kicked in very bad and my stomach was hurting so much I literally couldn’t move and if I did I began throwing up. My walk around weight is 69kg which when I fight usually I cut down to 62-63.5 over a 2-3 week period. So to get to 67kg it was no problem. For the 1st round of the tournament I just ran for an hour on the day of the weigh in with a sweat suit on and ended up weighing 66kg which was too light, especially since I was the smallest fighter there.
But with being ill this time on the day of the weigh in I literally couldn’t do anything. I ended up being about 68kg just through vomiting and it was so bad I was going to withdraw myself from the fight. I was in a right state, but was talked back into it by the production as they wanted the TV show to look good and was told I would still be paid for this round of the tournament. I turned up the day of the fight having not eaten anything that day and was still very ill. I ended up winning by KO but only received half my money not the full purse as I was promised. I thought this was unfair seeing as everyone knew my usual fight weight was a lot lower and in the 1st round I was only 66kg. Fair enough to be disqualified but I still fought whilst sick and still put on a good fight on TV.
Wouldn’t it have made more sense to disqualify you for not making the weight before instead of after the fight?
I was fully aware I couldn’t advance on in the tournament that’s why I didn’t want to fight. I was very sick and didn’t want to be made to look stupid or jeopardize my health. I only fought because I thought I was receiving the full wage.
Having been a part of such a high profile event in Thailand representing the UK is there any other big Thai event you’d like to be a part of in the future?
Just any high profile and high paying events.
Your gym, Bad Company has become renown for consistently producing very good quality fighters. What do you think separates Bad Company from so many other good Muay Thai gyms in the UK?
Richard Smith. In my eyes he’s without a doubt the best coach in the UK and probably Europe. He always is producing top tier fighters and has been for years
As a well traveled fighter who has fought extensively internationally, who outside of Thailand seems to have the strongest Muay Thai?
The French fighters are very good. All the top fighters there have a nice Thai style. Also the Dutch for K-1.
Having fought and trained in Muay Thai in Thailand what is different about the Thai method of training and fighting?
It is just more intense and a lot harder. In the UK because people work for a living they can only fit the gym in at certain times and only for a few hours a week. In Thailand its 5 hours a day and working with all the top seasoned veteran cocahes and trainers who are there…you’re only going to improve.
Where would you like most to visit and fight next in the world?
I would like to fight in America. I’ve had a few offers so far but nothing that has taken my fancy. I really hope next year brings something new though.
Do you train in Muay Thai fulltime or do you have a day job as well?
I work in the gym teaching as well as training and fighting full time.
What other interests do you have outside of Muay Thai?
Football (I’m a massive Leeds United fan) and boxing. I also try go to the cinema as much as possible too.
If you weren’t a professional Muay Thai fighter what else could you see yourself doing?
I can’t see myself doing anything else 🙂
What opponents would you most like a rematch with and why?
Saenchai, as I feel if I had stuck to my game plan in that fight I could have done so much better.
What upcoming fights or plans do you have ahead for 2011?
So far there’s quite a few in the pipeline. The 1st one is in Scotland on Brian Calder’s promotion versus Phetsawin Zezenferry in a rematch from earlier this year.
Do you have any final words for your fans?
Just thanks for the support and I hope I can keep giving entertaining fights for everyone to watch.
Much thanks goes to Liam Harrison for taking the time to answer my questions. Liam has with out a doubt fought some of the most entertaining and competitive Muay Thai bouts internationally and I look forward to what will come in the future with Liam.