She’s the world champ Canadians don’t know about. But in Thailand, Lindsay Ball can’t even go to the bank without being recognized.
A Victoria kickboxer living and training in Thailand since February, Ball hit it big in August when she won a nationally televised fight at the Queen’s Cup, a birthday celebration for Thailand’s royal leader.
Thing is, Ball didn’t even know she was fighting for the World Professional Muay Thai Federation (WPMF) super featherweight (57 kilograms) world title until she got there.
She defeated France’s Miriam Sabot by unanimous decision, in what was a chess match of jabs, kicks, knees and elbows.
“I think (my promoter) didn’t tell me because he didn’t want me to freak out.”
However, Ball wasn’t any more nervous about the fight than she was about the fact it was televised throughout Thailand.
“Muay Thai in Thailand is as big as hockey is in Canada. There were some ladies at the bank who didn't like me because I was a foreigner. After I got stitches and they realized I was a Thai boxer, they love me now and want to talk to me.”
Ball, who was an NCAA hockey player with the Northeastern Huskies from 2000 to 2003, spent the past eight years training in Victoria with former world champion Stan Peterec at Peterec’s Martial Arts.
In 2005 she made her fight debut in boxing, later switching to kickboxing and by 2010 she won the International Sport Kickboxing Association Canadian featherweight title.
“(In May) I left my (first) gym because I wasn't happy with where I was and ended up with a lung infection.”
That’s when thing took off. She was recruited by the owner and head trainer of Sinbi Muay Thai Gym in Phuket. With a new promoter, Ball continued her frequent fighting schedule with bouts on June 25, July 15, the Queen’s Cup on Aug. 11, in China on Aug. 28 and in South Korea on Sept. 6.
She hasn’t lost a fight in Asia yet. Among her wins is a defeat of the southern Thailand regional champ and Korea’s Pro World Association of Kickboxing Organizations championship on Sept. 6.
“I wanted to fight in the Queen’s Cup as it’s very prestigious. I didn’t get the call that the fight was confirmed until 10 days (prior).
“My coach told me it was for a title of some sort but I didn't know it was for a world title until I got to the weigh-in and saw the belt.” It led to “a bit of a panic attack” since she weighed around 60 kilograms and was unsure how she was going to cut weight down to 57 kgs.
Though cutting weight is a standard pre-fight routine, “Thailand is very humid and the body tends to hold onto more water.”
Ball dehydrated herself to the point of delirium but made the mark, a process documented in a dramatic video posted to YouTube.
This excerpted from the above YouTube video the day before her Queen's Cup win:
"I feel like a crack addict, you know? Like a junky. I haven't eaten, I'm all tired, I'm all messed up, I don't really care anymore. I'm weak and delirious and everything, it makes me feel high, but I'm going to win anyway, it doesn't matter. I thought I'd tell you that."
She credited Sabot as her toughest opponent since defeating Jessica Gladstone for the Canadian ISKA title.
For now, Ball is trying to relax, unsure when she’ll have her next fight, possibly here in Canada come November.
“In Thai they say ‘Sabai sabai’ which means ‘relax, relax,’ my favourite phrase.”
Fighting for a living
Lindsay Ball is getting by in Thailand as a pro fighter.
"I make a decent amount and I have all the things I need. Although it pays for my home and puts food on my table, I have never done anything just for the money."
Varga doubles as K1 champ
Victoria's Gabriel Varga added a second world title to his kickboxing résumé in Austria on Sept. 24.
Varga defeated Roy Tan (Netherlands) by referee stoppage for the World Kickboxing Federation’s K1 rules world pro championship belt in the super-lightweight category (142 pounds, 64.5 kilograms). Prior to fighting in Austria, Varga trained in Thailand for three months and was already the World Kickboxing Networks’ champion in the same weight class.