Julie Kitchen "The Queen of Muay Thai"
That's the name Julie Kitchen has had bestowed upon her for many a year and rightly so. A 14 time world champion with numerous other titles to her name puts Julie right up the top of the UK's most successful sportsmen and women. But how many people outside the world of combat sports in the UK have heard the name Julie Kitchen? In my opinion not enough.
Julie's dedication to the sport she loves and success inside the ring deserve highlighting, and at AddictedMMA we recognise her incredible achievements so we touched base with Julie and her husband and trainer Nathan to find out more about the undisputed Queen of Muay Thai.
AddictedMMA: Hi Julie, thanks for taking the time out for us today. On a personal level it's great to talk to you as I've been a fan for years.
How are you feeling after last weekend's fight in the states?
Julie: I feel fine body wise as I walked out of the fight uninjured bar a few leg bruises, i'm just a little deflated with my performance as I think the occasion got the better of me and I didn't give 100%. Every fighter loses but I really hate to lose as I know how much time away from my kids all the training has cost me.
AddictedMMA: You came out on the wrong side of a decision against a tough opponent in Miriam Nakamoto. Looking back on the fight do you feel it was the right decision on the night?
Julie: I feel that Miriam brought her A-game and deserved the win. I know I underperformed so i'm looking forward to the rematch.
AddictedMMA: I've seen pictures of a very nasty cut that you inflicted upon Miriam during the fight. Did you feel at any point it might stop the fight at all?
Julie: Yes, I thought the cut was a bigger cut than the cut that Miriam stopped Sandra Bastian with earlier in the year, but the cut didn't faze her performance in the last two rounds so fair play to her.
There was a dispute over the downward elbow which resulted in a few small arguments between officials and coaches, but we were officially told we couldn't use the six o'clock elbow at the rules meeting. If I had used them in the clinch I know I would have opened up the cut easily from the clinch position and gained a stoppage.
Miriam then scored highly with three jumping downward elbows and a hip throw in the later rounds, but it went un-warned because no-one else was told that the downward elbow wasn't allowed, I'm not sure about the throw either.
Miriam wasn't told and wasn't warned so it wasn't her fault, just one of those things.
AddictedMMA: She had an awful lot to say before the fight. A lot of it went beyond the boundary of "hyping the fight" in my personal opinion. Did that get to you at all or influence the way you fought?
Julie: It definitely influenced my training for the fight. I trained very hard and enjoyed my training more than usual. My children were reading stuff on the net about how she would break my legs and KO me in a round which upset them and gave them nightmares.
I have never been wobbled by anyone in the ring and this fight resulted no different.
I have got to the stage where I believe it doesn't matter how many fights I win, I will never be respected by some in the UK so I needed a bit of hatred to push me into the fight, unfortunately it worked against me as I traded too much in boxing and elbows and forgot to kick (Laughs).
However, although I didn't perform to my best, I promised a war and delivered, but forgot that it was technical ability that got me this far-not aggression.
AddictedMMA: Miriam and her team have offered you a rematch anywhere in the world which speaks volumes as to how close the bout was. Have you given this any consideration yet and where would you like the bout staged?
Julie: I want to beat Miriam in her own backyard so I favour the USA, the show was excellently promoted by Dennis Warner and it sold out with females as a main event, even though a male show was promoted in the same area on the same night, so it proves that the American's respect female muay thai more than the UK which is a shame.
Also, the fact that a rematch was offered shows professionalism from the CSA camp, who had nothing but nice things to say after the bout.
AddictedMMA: You met and trained alongside some incredible people in the lead up to the fight. It's time to "name drop" now, who did you enjoy meeting and/or training alongside the most?
Julie: We spent most of our time with Manny Pacquiao's entourage which was amazing, they were intent on making me feel like a superstar and I loved it.
We also trained at Freddie Roach's wildcard gym which had an amazing atmosphere.
I did an internet interview for Delicious Dames whilst sitting in Kat Von D's office in High Voltage Ink and got tattooed by Khoi as well as meeting the rest of the crew.
We went down and watched Ronda Rousey train for her upcoming fight which unfortunately fell on the same day as mine, I'm hoping she will have me as a sparring partner one day in the future.
I got to train with future UFC star Tom "Kong" Watson who is such a nice, genuine person and extremely talented.
Finally we met Benny "The Jet" Urquidez who has been Nathan's hero since he first started training in 1995.
Alongside these amazing people we also met up with some fantastic new and old friends within the circles of muay-thai which is always a pleasure and trained/visited some amazing gyms.
AddictedMMA: You've touched upon how the American people welcomed you with open arms and really made you and Nathan at home in the States. Did this surprise you at all and will that affect where you will fight in the future?
Julie: I think so, i'm not sure how many fights I have left and obviously coming off a loss is always difficult, but I am not an undefeated fighter, losing now and then is good as it will make me the underdog against Miriam next time which I like as it's less pressure. I learn greatly from my losses and have only lost one rematch in my whole career so I will be seeking a victory.
Nathan my husband won't train me for any fights in the UK as I have never featured on many big shows and their internet trolling skills leave a lot to be desired, so I will probably continue to fight abroad unless someone offers to train me in the UK and the purse is good.
I like the idea of trying to bring the wins home to the UK as it's more challenging, but America is definitely where I would like to wrap up my fighting career. The American's have an amazing way of getting behind people who sacrifice and work hard to succeed and this suits our way of living. I can't wait to revisit.
AddictedMMA: Over the course of your career you've seen and done it all. You're a 14 time world champion and that puts you right up there with our most successful sportsmen/women in the UK. So what keeps you going? Are there any other goals you want to achieve in the sport?
Julie: I don't enjoy competing anymore so I am always looking for different opportunities, if competing gets me those opportunities then I will have to fight. I'm always lacking sponsorship so I keep on working in the hope that something happens. I have been taking acting lessons and have auditioned for films a couple of times.
I also have my prodigy Lucy Payne ready to compete abroad now and it won't be long before Amber and Allaya my daughters will be making it big in the states.
I am also starting a new project and new gym in a boarding school where students can live, train with me two times per day like in Thailand, but they will also get a high standard of education as well as a sports scholarship.
I feel the respect level has dropped in the female muay thai divisions; no-one is willing to defend or wait their turn for big fights and go leaping in with both feet and big attitudes. When I fought Angie Parr and Germaine de Randarmine I was honoured to be sharing the ring with them because they had been competing at top level longer than me and had paved my way into the sport, whereas nowadays its cut-throat and a lot of females forget the sacrifices myself and others have made to give them decent purses and headline bouts, so I would like to carry on teaching seminars and giving inspirational talks so that the future generation of female muay thai fighters develop a more respectful, humble attitude which is what muay thai is about.
AddictedMMA: Do you feel as if your achievements have never been fully recognised on these shores? I can't remember too many occasions when your incredible achievements have been celebrated.
Julie: It's not good, especially in my own birth town. We have a local paper that covers a 10 mile radius, but they cut my stories to the basic and to what suits them so I don't overshadow the other more recognised sports that only compete at county level at best.
It's ridiculous but where I live isn't in the city and journalists often wear blinkers or fear something different and take the easy option rather than educate themselves with what muay thai really is.
The fact remains that we take more children off the streets than any other sports club locally, our students win both nationally and locally as well as worldwide so it's ludicrous that we get no backing for our success or help with funding.
AddictedMMA: Is there anybody you'd like to thank or give a shout out to?
Julie: Yes, Protech Sports' Andy Shapcot, Awakening's Rew Mitchell, Bad Breed by Blitz co., Yan-Plan's Yan Czerwinski, mind coach Vinny Shoreman, my sparring partners Carl Thomas (St. Ives ABA), Jimmy Regan (WAKT) and "The Moose." Plus all of my students, helpers, family and friends at our fantastic Touchgloves gym.
AddictedMMA: Before I let you go I'm going to hit you with our signature question. What is Julie Kitchen Addicted to?
Julie: Unfortunately, muay thai x
AddictedMMA: Thanks for your time Julie and all the best with the rematch and everything else you have planned.
Follow Julie on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JulieKitchenUK
To find out more about Julie and Touchgloves visit their website here: http://www.touchgloves.co.uk/
All pictures courtesy of Rew Mitchell, Awakening.
Find them on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/rewkachu.awakening
Pics 1 & 2: Julie at her fight against Miriam last weekend.
Pics 3, 4 & 5: Julie at her Touchgloves gym in Penzance, Cornwall.
Published by Steve Wickett - Sat, 25 Aug 2012 14:13