The National, Thursday July 25th, 2013
THE country’s only Muaythai fighter Lee Henry Garap says he could not be more preparaed for next week’s title fight against Rangsan Poonsang of Thailand.
The welterweight (64.5kg) scrap pits Garap, a 90-fight veteran, against one of the sport’s most experienced men in a 5 x 3 minute rounds World Kick Boxing Federation-sanctioned and World Muaythai Council-recognised title bout in Port Moresby on Aug 1.
Garap said he had been in training since late March and was determined to avenge a points loss to Poonsang in Brisbane last year.
“I’ve been practically training non-stop for this WKBF Muaythai title since my last fight which was on March 23 when I stopped Alfred Samuel for the PNG title at the Sports Inn,” Garap said.
“I trained for the Samuel fight so that training just carried on and I feel really strong, fast and light at around 64kg. I’ll probably be close to the weight limit on fight day anyway, which I’m comfortable with.
Garap from Chimbu said his training had intensified over the past weeks and he felt he was fit enough to fight more than five rounds
“I’ve doing a lot of road work, around 10km a day and I’m fit enough to go more than five rounds. I feel great.
“I’m up against a very experienced opponent who has fought something like 480 fights. Obviously he’s good but I’ve fought him before and I know some of his his flaws,” the 30-year-old said.
“If he thinks he can come here to my country and take the title, he’ll have to knock me out first and I’m not going down easily.
Garap said he had learned from his first encounter with Poonsang and had worked out a game plan to handle the skillful Thai.
“He (Poonsang) kicks well to the head and legs but he’s not a great boxer and he doesn’t fight well off the ropes. Those are areas I will be looking to get on top of in the fight.”
The 163cm Garap (pictured left) said he would also need to be wary of Poonsang’s (pictured right) penchant for grappling and clinching as the crafty Thai had been known to do in his career.
“He likes to clinch a lot and tire his opponents out. He’ll wrestle if he has to, and things will get rough but I’ve a few tricks of my own. I know how counter this.”
The fight at the Sports Inn is PNG’s first Muaythai title bout.
Garap, who is a trainer and contrator at Life Gymnasium, said he wanted to emulate PNG kickboxing legend Stanley Nandex by winning a world title and also helping to develop other talented fighters.
“I’ve got a few young fighters with potential that I want to develop and hopefully take to shows with me here and overseas. If I win the title I’ll take a break and focus on my family and my work. I think two titles in 2013 is good enough.”
The show will also feature other PNG fighters in Jeffrey Daka and Rickson Yamo as well as amateur boxers Alex Waragop and Chiko Emmanuel on the undercard.
Daka is up against Queenslander Trent Hudson and Chimbu’s Nathan Joe faces Stix Buckley. Yamo will fight a Thai opponent.
Henry Garap thanked major sponsor Air Niugini, Life Gym (Holiday Inn), L & A Construction and Sports Minister Justin Tkatchenko for their assistance in making the show possible. He appealed to Chimbu MPs and other businesses to support the event.
For information on the event Garap can be contacted on 73696293.