In a month’s time, YOKKAO Next Generation Kids is set to be staged once again at Barnsley Metrodome. The young rising stars of the UK and Europe will come together to pit their skills against each other in the ring of the world’s eminent junior Muay Thai promotion on July 21st. Headlining the event will be YOKKAO Kids Fight Team member and junior world champion, Ellie Barker who fights out of Hanuman Darlington. Below is an interview with Ellie in the lead up to the show.
YOKKAO (Y): Hi, Ellie. You are co-headlining the YOKKAO Next Generation Kids in Barnsley. Are you looking forward to it and do you know much about your opponent?
Ellie (E): Yeah, I’m really looking forward to it as I couldn't get matched for the last show. My dad and I came to watch and it was really weird not fighting. The only things I know about Siria is that she is usually a K1 fighter and she fought my best friend Erin on the last Scotland show C class rules. It was at a higher weight and she was very tough. It’s going to be a hard fight but I can’t wait.
Y: You are just entering the young adult stage of your career. Are you looking forward to moving through the classes?
E: I had my first N class fight since turning 15 a few weeks ago but I had fought N class and pro-am before the rules changed. I love fighting head contact and I think it suits my style of fighting better than junior rules. We are going to Thailand in January and I’m hoping to get a fight over there if possible.
Y: Tell us a little about your journey into Muay Thai to date. You have already done so much at a young age, also to have worked under some of the very best instructors in the game. What does your fight record stand at currently?
E: I started competing when I had just turned 10 starting with the WKA British Championships with my first 3 fights in one day and ended up winning the title. In my first year of fighting, I went 10-0 and finished it at the world championships in Italy where I won Gold in both K1 and Muay Thai. Since then I have fought in Germany and Thailand and I have another World Gold medal and 2 silvers. My current fight record is 47-7.
Y: What was it like when you got the call from YOKKAO to join the Next Generation Junior Fight Team?
E: Being asked to be part of the team was amazing but very unexpected. YOKKAO is the best Thai boxing brand and has the best shows in the world. Being asked to be a part of the team was unbelievable. I thought my dad was messing about and kidding when he told me.
Y: YOKKAO Next Generation Kids is a great stage – you must look forward to the day if you ever get the chance to star on the big stage in Bolton or even some of the events worldwide ?
E: Fighting on the big YOKKAO show would be dream come true. We always go to watch the shows and everybody who is a fighter wants to fight on them. If I could fight on it or any of them around the world it would be a privilege.
Y: Who do you look up to in the sport & who are your favourite fighters in both the junior & adult ranks male & female?
E: In the junior rankings, my two favourite fighters to watch would be Konnie Grace Sowerby and Lewis George. I love watching these two juniors fight because they are both entertaining. My favourite adults are Iman Barlow, Amy Pirnie, Liam Harrison and Craig Coakley. I love the way Coakley fights - it’s the way I want to fight.
Y: Have you thought about instructing one day or perhaps even having your own gym ?
E: I was asked to be a junior instructor at my old gym but I wanted to train and fight and I've still got lots to learn. I don’t mind helping out with the kids from time to time.
Y: We all know fighters say take one fight at a time but if the next goes well - who is on your radar?
E: I have no idea. I have just started to fight N class and there are not many girls at my weight that are fighting head contact at the minute. Hopefully there will be alot more over the next year as they all turn 15. I’ve been the same weight practically for the last 3 years and never seem to grow. I will fight anyone they ask me too within a couple of kg. I really wanted to fight Jazzy Parr (John Wayne Parr’s daughter) when she came over to the UK but we were told I was too experienced. I watched her fight today A class in Thailand so that would be a dream fight for me.
Y: What has been your best moment to date ?
E: I have two: winning in Thailand was brilliant and of course, being asked to be part of the YOKKAO junior team. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Tickets for YOKKAO Next Generation Kids July 21st show can be purchased at asia.yokkao.com/events/yokkao-next-generation-kids-may-2018/.