Big interview: Former Thai boxing champion Stephen Scott
Craig Salmon talks to former European and British Thai boxing champion Stephen Scott, who now runs a successful gym in PrestonThe young Stephen Scott was always under the strictest of orders from his protective mother '“ under no circumstances was he to take up the sport of boxing.
Unwilling to see her son exposed to the brutalities of the fight game, she urged her little lad to find and enjoy a different past-time.
But as a youngster, he had a love for the ring and a longing to pull the gloves on, and nothing was going to stop him from fulfilling his dream – even if it meant cheekily pulling the wool over the eyes of his sweet and innocent mum.
“My mum did not want me to get involved in boxing at all,” said Scott, who is from Preston.
“She told me I wasn’t to do it, but I always wanted to.
“So I took up Thai boxing instead and the only reason I did that was because my mum did not really know what Thai boxing was.
“She didn’t realise that in Thai boxing you can kick and use your elbows.
“It’s the same rules as boxing in the sense that you can win by knockout or points but it is probably more of a brutal sport than boxing.”
Although his mum was kept in the dark about the realities of her son’s new-found hobby, Scott’s foray into Thai boxing proved to be his calling.
He went on to enjoy a fantastic career, winning the vast majority of 200 contests during the 1990s and became a British and European champion.
At first he was trained by renowned local coach Ronnie Green, before that role was later taken up by John Saint Ryan – a man who acted as Sean Connery’s stunt double during the film ‘The Medicine Man’.
“I remember when I was about 13, I was walking past my local gym and there was a bloke called Ronnie Green in there teaching Thai boxing,” Scott said. “ I stuck my head around, saw what was going on and though, ‘I want to have a go at that’.
“ It all sort of took off from there. I just took to it.
“At the same time that I started doing Thai boxing, I was also doing judo.
“I did that until the age of 18 and got selected for the British Under-21s squad.
“But I just decided at that point to concentrate on Thai boxing. John Saint Ryan became my trainer and trained me for most of my fights.”
Scott’s talent enabled him to compete across the globe and even resulted in him fighting twice for the world title.
Unfortunately, he was unsuccessful on both occasions.
In 1993, he lost to the great Thai Coban Lookchaomaesaitong and was then beaten by Dutchman Ivan Hippolyte a year later.
“I fought for the world title twice and lost both times,” Scott said.
“Coban Lookchaomaesaitong – he was the Thai world champion and a great fighter.
“We fought in Perth in Australia.
“My trainer told me I was winning the fight until he hit me and knocked me out.
“I then fought Ivan Hippolyte. He was from Amsterdam and he beat me as well.
“The defeat against him was a technical knockout in the third round.
“But I have held five British titles at five different weights, which is something I am really proud of.
“I have fought all over the world – Thailand, Australia, Switzerland, France, Holland.
“Holland was like my second home at one time – I fought that many times over there.
“I actually never fought in the USA –Thai boxing was not that big over there back when I competed, so I never bothered going over there.
“I think I had about 200 fights. I don’t know exactly what my record is but I reckon I probably won over 170 of them.”
After retiring from the sport, the former Ribbleton Hall School pupil, who is aged 52, decided to move into coaching.
He runs the Fighting Fit Mixed Martial Arts Thai Boxing gym in Eldon Street and is hoping to inspire the next generation of fighters.
He believes he has got some fighters who have the ability to fight for British titles and possibly progress to the world stage like he did.
“Some of the lads we have got have a lot of potential,” said Scott, who is married to Melanie and has three children, Leon (27), Alexandra (13) and Bryony (10).
“I would like to get them to a stage where they are fighting for British titles and see how they do from there.
“I have got the experience to get them where they want if they have got the ability and are willing to devote themselves to the sport.
“We have a lot of people who don’t want to fight, they just come down to learn a martial art as a hobby and also to get fit.
“Ninety percent of people don’t want to fight, they just come down to get fit and learn a bit of self defence.
“The sport is something that I have been involved in for 90% of my life.”