Meet Danial Williams, winner of the 2015 IFMA Award in the category of “Breakthrough of the Year”. After having swooped in like a bat out of hell with a stunning performance at the recent FISU patronised University World Cup in March, Williams instantly turned heads and grabbed our attention. Not only was his performance in the ring impressive, but his friendly, humble and respectful nature that so well represented a true muaythai athlete also did not go unnoticed.
Coming from a mixed-race background, this half-Thai, half-Aussie boxer was touched by the sport and art of muaythai from a young age and it quickly became the essence of his drive for a life in sports.
At age 21 Williams made his entry onto the IFMA scene at the 2014 world championships in Langkawi, Malaysia where he quickly learned the hard way the standard of elite athleticism which IFMA breeds.
With a strong sense of respect for one’s entourage and responsibility as a role model, Danial Williams is sure to have a long and successful career as an athlete and one day dreams to instill those well learned values for future generations in his own gym in the north of Thailand.
Q & A
1. How long have you been training MuayThai and what made you want to fight?
My Uncle was a former Northern Thailand Champion and apparently my great grandfather was a fighter to so since I can remember I have known about the art of Muay Thai. I had the chance to try Muay Thai around age 11 after my kickboxing trainer at the time found out my brother and I were half Thai. His passion being Muay Thai quickly evolved into teaching us the art since most of the time we were his only students in the class and we were extremely happy to learn it. I saw my first fight show at a very young age on one of our regular trips to Thailand while visiting my mum’s family. During the show I fantasized that I would be picked out of the crowd to fight in the ring and showcase amazing skills to win the fight with ease and become the hero of the night.
2. What do you believe to be your strongest asset in the ring?
I would have to say my never give up attitude. I have never been stopped in the ring with over 30 fights experience. My heart and mind refuses to give up even when I can feel something is broken and/or my conditioning and fitness is terrible.
3. What has been your biggest challenge as a fighter?
Getting down to my weight category for weigh-ins (haha) I love food. But my two biggest challenges fight wise have been winning the IFMA University World Cup and my recent WMC world title win. I fought in a heavier weight category for the IFMA since I was given the opportunity to represent my country with very little notice (1 week prior) and to have 4 fights in one week was very demanding mentally and physically. The WMC title was challenging because I was up against a current top Ranking raja and Lumpinee stadium fighter, so at the time I knew I was in for my hardest challenge ever.
4. Your hardest fight and why?
There are probably 3 I can say have been my hardest fights. One because I was rocked and given an eight count with a spinning back elbow and had to fight on being completely dazed and exhausted. In another I broke my hand going into the fight and made that risky decision to fight with it having the game plan to not use it, but instinctively my first shot was with it on the top of his head so the rest of the fight was spent in a lot of pain and stress. Then off course there was my WMC world title fight up against a fighter that had the best technique and balance I have come across.
5. Proudest moment?
Most of my wins I am very proud of since I did not expect to be where I am today, but recently winning the WMC world title in front of family and friends is a proud moment hard to beat.
6. What do you think is the most important thing to remember as a fighter?
For me it would be that you are not alone and there are certain people in your life that help you achieve your goals such as your trainers, training partners, family, friends and mentors. Listen and learn from these people and you could come a long way.
7. If you could rematch anyone you have fought who would it be and why?
My first ever IFMA fight was against Alexander Abramov from Russia – the silver medallist of the 2014 world championships in the -57kg category which I lost on points. My preparation was poor and expectations of the event were high. I found out the hard way the high level of competition in the IFMA and regret my laidback attitude representing my country in the tournament. A rematch would be nice.
8. Any embarrassing moments?
Would have to be losing my first IFMA fight just mentioned. Nothing felt right and I feel like it is the worst performance to date for reasons also mentioned above. But I guess it was a good learning curve that you can’t expect to perform well against the world’s elite without preparing properly including training hard well before the event.
9. Describe your daily diet from breakfast to dinner.
I have a bad sweet tooth and even a grease tooth if that is such a thing (haha) but when I am preparing for a fight I recently committed to healthy eating receiving some good advice from training partners and mentors. This is only a rough guide but; breakfast can include protein pancakes with oatmeal and some fruit. Lunch I would usually have a lean meat and veggie wrap. Before evening training (2 hours before) I have a cup of brown rice with lean meat and veggies, then a black coffee (including – stevia, mct oil, honey and acai berry drops) consumed 45mins to an hour before training. Dinner is a protein shake then basically meat and veggies cooked in a variety of herbs and spices and then topped off with soup and dark chocolate before bed,
10. How long have you been competing at IFMA events? How do you feel being part of it?
2 years now since my first appearance at the world championships in Langkawi 2014. They are amazing events and it is awesome to be a part of them. I have made achievements and also met friends from different countries as well as my own country that I still keep in contact with and have visited all due to the IFMA and the love of Muay Thai.
11. What are your plans for the rest of your fighting career?
I would love to go as far as possible and keep highly achieving until my body cannot handle it anymore and it’s time for me to retire. One goal that has been on my mind is competing in the IFMA world championships 2016 in Sweden.
12. Have you thought about your after career?
I would love to give back to the sport and be involved in Muay Thai somehow. One idea is to open up my own gym in the peaceful Chiang Rai, Northern Thailand (near my mother’s family) but right now I am just going with the flow and plan to finish my studies and keep fighting.
13. You recently won the 2015 IFMA Award in the category of Best Breakthrough. What does this accomplishment mean to you?
It means a hell of a lot that my achievements are being noticed by a strong body of Muay Thai and people around the world.
14. Do you feel a certain responsibility to be a role model for youth? How so?
Yes, Muay Thai is growing and in Australia alone there are an increasing number of children and young adults competing in the sport. Being a good example for them can guide them and inspire young people to achieve their goals in the right manner.
15. Any advice to anyone wanting to start training or fighting Muay Thai?
Stick at it! In the right environment you can learn a lot from Muay Thai. The IFMA itself I believe promotes supreme pillars – ‘Respect, Honour, Tradition, Fair Play, Excellence’. These pillars can benefit any part of life and not just fighting.
16. Any last words? Or people you would like to Thank?
Anyone who has played a part in my life to help me become who I am today and helped me achieve my goals so far, there are many of you and I thank you.