A bloody gash on the forehead may seem like a common occurrence in a Muay Thai match but when world champion contender Marcela Soto aka Baitong Sutai sustained a minor injury from a well timed elbow strike, it meant giving up hopes of winning the coveted 2015 King’s Cup.
There is an unwritten rule in Muay Thai that a competition fight must be stopped if a female boxer is cut and bleeds. So when Marcela, who looked set to win the match, got cut by ‘knife elbow’ it was a major disappointment.
“I was praying that I wouldn’t start bleeding”, recalled Marcela. “But when I felt the blood dripping down, that’s when the referee called for time”
After months of training, a setback like this could discourage others but for this tenacious 30 year old Costa Rican, it has only served as additional fuel to an already burning desire to become the best in her sport.“I couldn’t say to hell with it. In Muay Thai, you have to accept it because rules are rules and I need to respect that. When you lose, your opponent always tells you sorry.”
It is this very code of honour, respect and kindness that Marcela loves about the sport. Already an accomplished triathlete, surfer and stand up paddle boarder, Marcela took up Muay Thai 10 years ago and has never looked back.
“There is so much more to it than just training and competing, You respect your trainer, your opponent, your training partners, your gym. They become family and you want to keep the honor for them and for the sport.”
“You respect all the rules for fighting, Muay Thai techniques, the ceremonies, the whole cultural side of it. And you don’t fight just because you have to. It’s because you believe in it. “
Perhaps it is this respect for the Muay Thai tradition that has helped Marcela to emerge so effortlessly from this unfortunate adversity. Perseverance is a given.
“I think it is the challenge.. the challenge of training, the challenge of the lifestyle, the challenge of every fight, the challenge to be a better version of yourself each time. “
Marcela’s training which involves at least twice daily 2 hour workouts at the gym, is rigorous and demanding . As sports nutritionist at Thanyapura, Phuket she is also a strong believer in the healing qualities of good food to aid athletic recovery and maintain energy. She is a true testament of her motto “Eat Clean,Train Dirty”.
For Marcela, who has already training hard again for her next fight in Bangkok, competing at such a high level is an both an honour and a challenge. Clearly, it is the passion for her sport that is the driving force behind her resilience.
”You know what Sutai in Thai means? It’s “Never give up, or die before giving up”
“That’s why during my fights, they always say I fight: “Su su su” which means fighting with all your heart.”
Marcela may have lost the fight of the year but not of her Muay Thai career. If true grit is any indication to success then Marcela has the right quality of perseverance and passion combined with powerful Muay Thai techniques to help her succeed in her quest to be the best female Muay Thai Boxer in the world.
Whether you’re a complete beginner or looking to brush up your Muay Thai techniques, book a training session with Marcela and get a glimpse of her undeniable fighting spirit first hand. Check out our website if you’re up for the challenge.