Caley Reece - Multiple World Muay Thai Champion - Q&A
For those that don’t know who you are, can you tell us a little about yourself?
My involvement in Muay Thai has been solid for about 15 plus years. Prior to retiring almost 2 years ago, I fought out of Riddlers Gym. I had 60 fights; 55 wins and 5 losses, with 6 World Titles. I have also been co-promoting with my husband Darren for many years, bringing interstate and international opponents over to fight our WA fighters. This really helped my fight career, as we were able to bring in international champions for me to fight in my hometown and during my career. I was able to fight girls from nearly 20 countries. I started back in the day where female fighters weren’t as popular and you would be lucky to see 1 or 2 fights matched on a card. During my time as a fighter and promoter, I have worked hard to push the female fight scene and today, so many more females are involved.
I have recently created EVOLVE, an amateur fight show in Perth, to help push the scene and grow the sport. I'm so proud to say that almost half the show are female fights too – which is incredible to see.
Tell us a little about Riddlers Gym.
Riddlers Gym was established in 2003 by Darren Reece. He trained and lived in Thailand for years, so he's very experienced and passionate about what he does, which is evident when you see him in action teaching and cornering. We are a great family at Riddlers – everyone is equal and the support between everyone is tight. We have a busy fight team at the moment- I think we have around 30 active fighters or maybe more, so it’s a busy time for us but the energy is brilliant. We don’t just cater for fighters, that is a small part of what we do. We love general health and fitness and provide almost 50 classes per week, teaching classes in Muay Thai, Strength and Conditioning, BJJ and kids.
You have a great stable of fighters currently coming out of Riddlers, such as Llyod Dean and Nicola Callander. Anyone we should keep an eye on?
Yeah we have a solid team at the moment which is great – there's certainly no shortage of training partners which is great as you get a good diversity of styles. Barrie Oliver is a little powerhouse at the moment, he isn’t afraid of backing down from a fight, taking on Thai fighters with hundreds of fights to his 30. Tyler Hardcastle has a brilliant style to watch. Alicia Pestana is getting back in the mix after taking some time off. Ben Cant and George Mann have recently joined us too which brings some depth and experience to the team. Zac Einersen could out-kick a horse at 60kgs, and we have little Amanda Thomson who has also had a busy year.
You’re starting a new Muay Thai promotion, can you tell us how it came about?
There were a lot of sparring days going on and the step to actually fighting wasn’t happening – so I created the Evolve show as a novice, amateur fight show – for people to jump in and take that next step from sparring to fighting. I had been thinking of it for a while, but with being a new mum I just hadn’t really gone much further with it. But it was talked about on Facebook recently about these guys needing to step up and fight, so I bit the bullet and put the show on for them to do it on! Within a week and some hard work, I had a fully matched card.
How will Evolve differ from Epic, the event you currently co-promote?
Theres a LOT of work that goes on to promote a show like Epic. It’s a professional show, with professional fighters, fighters flying in from interstate and overseas that we need to look after in terms of flights, hotels, food etc. Then there are the extras like ring girls, dancers, special lighting, catering etc. Evolve will be basic. Weigh in. Turn up. Fight. It’s the platform for something like Epic.
After achieving so much in Muay Thai, you’re currently taking on the sport of Crossfit. How do they compare in terms of training? In terms of mental focus?
Crossfit has been great for me physically and mentally. I've never not had a sport to compete in since I was 5 years old. So after retiring from fighting it was nice to have another sport there to focus on and get involved in and learn. The training is different but the same if that makes sense :). Different in terms of there are so many more aspects you need to train for and be good at in Crossfit because there are so many movements you are required to be good at, but they're same in terms of the fact you need that grit and mental push. That’s what I love about Crossfit. I think it’s the closest sport I will find to Muay Thai in terms of what I get out of it mentally and physically.
You’ve recently become a mother to a healthy baby boy, but faced some controversy when you posted videos online of training while pregnant. Did this surprise you?
Umm, I don’t know if surprise is the word because nothing surprises me these days. When you have been a high achiever at something, there will always be someone ready to knock you down, so over the years I've become pretty thick skinned in terms of letting things bother me. I know my own body better than anyone else in the world so training the way I was, was not a problem to me. So having other people tell me it was, was more their problem, not mine.
Any Muay Thai career highlights? Have you been tempted to come out of retirement?
Hahaha funnily enough I was matched to fight in May this year. I hadn’t announced it because I wanted to be sure after training a couple of weeks for it. In about March, I sat in the bath with Maddox one night and the penny just dropped. I was going to miss out on so much if I went back to fighting. It was back to nights in the gym, cutting weight, recovery sessions, etc. and I'd have a baby that I would need to have him looked after every night or have him at the gym every night while I trained. I had him to spend time with him and have fun with him. So I called it off and have never regretted doing this, and am not at all tempted to come out of retirement. Leaving on top of the world is how I want to be remembered.
Follow Caley's Facebook Athlete page here to learn more and follow her journey!