Spencer Brown, the lad from Irvine, Scotland is one of the most prominent foreign fighters in Thailand today. Fighting out of Yokkao Training Center Bangkok, the 21 year-old counts legends like Saenchai and Singdam among his campmates. It’s certainly a sweet position to be in.
Brown is one of thousands of farang fighters who have come to the Muay Thai motherland in search of glory, motivated mostly by a love for the sport. It is fiercely competitive out here, and scrambling for a place at the top against the Thais on their turf can be much more challenging than any preconceived expectation.
The young Scottish fighter first arrived at the Yokkao gym in 2016 after finishing high school. Then, at the age of 18, he impressed everyone at the camp with his respectable work ethics and landed himself an offer that he took up without hesitation. He recalls,
““It was my first time in Thailand and I trained my ass off for three weeks. Everyday, morning and afternoon. I helped to clean up and tidy up after training, sat with the Thais and tried to learn everything I could learn from them. After the 3 weeks, they offered me full time sponsorship and I‘ve been with the Yokkao fight team ever since.”
Brown has been based out of Bangkok for over two years now and has been given opportunities to compete in places far and wide. During this period, he fought in Thailand, UK, Spain, Australia, Hong Kong and Italy. He attributes the progression in his career to keeping it real. Brown says,
“I stayed with the fighters in the shoebox for about a year and half. Same bunk, same bed, nothing different. It wasn’t great but it helped me get to where I am, by humbling myself completely.”
Hard work will get you places, especially in the world of Muay Thai; humility will take you further; and a sense of humor is always appreciated. Besides his enviable position as a fighter with the famous Yokkao Fight Team, Brown is perhaps, best known for his hilarious antics and witty captions on social media.
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He currently counts over 40 thousand followers on Instagram and the number is still rising fast. Like his sponsor, the Yokkao fighter is acutely aware of the power of social media where he posts daily and engages his fans. He opines,
“It’s important for a fighter to be active on social media and for anyone, actually. It gives you opportunity, as anyone around the world can see you, your personality, and offers you opportunity that you would never have gotten otherwise.”
Hard work online and in real life is certainly paying off. In January, Brown fought on Yokkao 35-36 in Turin, Italy in front of a sold-out crowd at a 5000-seater arena. The Scotsman took on local champion, Luca Roma for the WBC Super-Lightweight European title and the two went to war for a good 5 rounds. Brown’s hand was raised at the end when he fought once more, this time to hold back the tears but lost to the overwhelming emotions. He reveals,
“It wasn’t so much just about winning the fight itself – it was the whole journey that led up to that point. Not just physically but also emotionally, being away from family. I’ve never been the most technical, or talented fighter. I have been working my ass off completely everyday and finally it pays off. I couldn’t hold back the emotions.”
The Yokkao gym fighter now holds two European titles including the ISKA champion that he captured back in 2017. With his burgeoning reputation as a fighter from one of the most well-known camps, things are only looking up.
Brown is booked for what is arguably the most talked-about event of the year: All Star Fight: World Soldier. On 9 March in Bangkok, he will star alongside the event’s headlining Muay Thai superstars such as Buakaw, Superbon, and Yodwicha from the renowned Banchamek camp.
“I am really proud to be on the show. The amount of people who are going to be there, the atmosphere, I’m really looking forward to it”, Brown said.
The WBC European champion will go toe to toe against Belarusian fighter, Maksim Petkevich for a 3-round match under Muay Thai rules. The 21 year-old Petkevich hold numerous Belarusian and European titles, with appearances on notable Chinese kickboxing promotions such as Wu Lin Feng and Kunlun Fight. This will be no walkover for either side but with just a week to fight night, Brown is feeling unworried about the upcoming challenge,
“I don’t really think so much about my opponent since there’s nothing you can do to change it. I am more focused on showing people that I can do more than just wars, and that I can be both technical and versatile.“
Two years in Thailand, with 2 European championship belts around his waist, there are now talks for Brown to make his debut at the elite stadiums of Lumpinee. The Scottish lad parts with his goals as a fighter,
“My goals are the same as anybody which is to be the best. If you don’t have that goal, then you are in the wrong sport. I outwork everyone I have ever fought or will fight. Sometimes I get myself sick from over training but I would rather work too much than not enough.”
The man has spoken and as author Robert Half once said, “hard work without talent may be a shame, but talent without hard work is a tragedy.”
All Star Fight World Soldier goes live on 18:30 local time, Saturday, 9 March at Royal Cavalry 2nd Division in Bangkok. Admission is free.