Farmer to face giants at worlds
At 2.03 metres and 112kg, Palmerston North kick boxer Jake Farmer is used to being bigger than most people.
That will change when he competes at the IFMA Muay Thai World Championships in Malaysia next month, where he will be one of the smallest competitors.
Also going to Langkawi Island, off Malaysia's west coast, is Farmer's clubmate, Freya Thomson.
It will be the second world championships for Farmer, 25, after he went to Thailand in 2010 where he had his fight stopped because of blood.
A medical scientist at Palmerston North Hospital, he competes in the super heavyweight division (91kg and over), and in 2010 he was the smallest in his weight class - the lightest and was average height.
He is expecting to face a few giants when the tournament starts on May 1.
He said it was hard to know how he would perform, but was going over there to win it.
"Last time I went I got my nose broken," he said.
"This time I'm going to break someone else's nose."
Thomson won't have the same problem because she is competing in the under-51kg division.
She has only been doing Muay Thai for 3 years after converting from taekwondo.
The New Zealand 55kg Muay Thai title holder felt Thai kickboxing was the next step because she didn't enjoy the pattern side of taekwondo as much and just wanted to fight.
"I remember travelling to my first Muay Thai fight saying I wanted to be the best," Thomson said.
"There's no point doing it if I wasn't going to be the best."
Thomson has had 12 fights for nine wins, with two by TKO. She said last year was the biggest step in her career when she impressed at an eight-woman fight, and since then has been more popular with promoters.
Thomson had a fight in Australia recently and even though she lost, it was to a four-time world champion.
The 25-year-old Thomson, who is a personal trainer at the Massey University gym, said it would be nerve-racking competing in Asia.
"It's their main sport; It will be huge."
The pair qualified after the New Zealand championships in Auckland at the end of last year.
Both fighters train out of the Farmer's Zero Tolerance Gym on Tremaine Ave, which has about 50 members.
There are about 20 New Zealand fighters going to the championships, with the top kickboxers from every country competing.
Fighters won't know who they're up against until they turn up and see the draw for the knockout competition.