What has been Jo Nattawut’s favorite memory of his time in America so far? It would probably be the snow-capped mountains in Colorado, where Nattawut first arrived when he came to the United States roughly two years ago.
Nattawut’s time training among the Rocky Mountains also enabled him to take up a new hobby that he wasn’t able to do in his native Thailand: Snowboarding.
“We don’t have snow in Thailand. So when I moved to Colorado, everyone was doing it, so I started doing it too,” Nattawut told Combat Press.
Being graceful and light on your feet is paramount to being an effective snowboarder. It’s in that vein that Nattawut finds himself enjoying the sport of Muay Thai kickboxing.
“There’s beautiful movement with your whole body, and it makes it fun for you,” Nattawut said.
Although he also grew up playing soccer, Nattawut devoted himself full-time to Muay Thai at the age of 18. He’s since compiled a record of 58-7-2 and currently holds the Lion Fight super welterweight title. The kicking component of Muay Thai makes up a large portion of Nattawut’s repertoire, but he also likes to make use of his elbows and sweeps.
Nattawut has since moved to Atlanta, which he described as a “cool city, but the traffic is really bad,” while adding that he also had to get used to Americans speaking English at a much faster pace than what he is used to.
“I learned English in Thailand, and in Thailand people speak English, but speak it very slowly,” Nattawut said. “People here speak it faster.”
Nattawut has fought all over the world, in countries like Canada, Australia and China. He has seen the sport of Muay Thai grow in popularity thanks to its increased visibility, including Lion Fight cards broadcast on AXS TV.
“I train really hard every single day, and I don’t work on just one single thing,” Nattawut said. “I work on my skill set, my defense and my movement. I think I get stronger with every fight.”
Nattawut trains for three hours daily, a little less than the typical five hours that fighters in Thailand spend training daily. Nattawut supplants his training with work as a personal trainer and instructor, though, and hopes to continue traveling the world during his fighting career and compete against the best fighter from each country.
“I like to work out and be in the gym,” he said. “A lot of people come up to me and ask questions, because they want to be healthy.”
Nattawut puts his super welterweight title on the line at Lion Fight 37 on Friday, July 28, against Petchtanong Banchamek, who’s competed in 400 Muay Thai bouts in his career and has won 345 of them.
“It always the same as every single other fight,” Nattawut said of his bout with Banchamek. “I’m going to train hard, be healthy and do what I need to do. But I know he has good defense and a good counterattack.”