Eimear Codd, without being conscious of it, is a perfect representative of Muay Thai – she is respectful, modest and has an indelible desire to learn.
But for those unaware of the art of eight limbs, or Muay Thai, how would Codd (24) explain it?
“Well, the way it was described to me was a more advanced version of kickboxing. I suppose that would be the simplest way to describe it to people without putting them off because I found that if I explained that you use your elbows and knees, they’re like ‘Jesus that’s very vulgar.’
“That word has been used a lot,” laughed Codd. “So I just say it’s an advanced form of kickboxing or else I will say ‘you know the stand-up game in the UFC that you see in MMA, that’s what it is basically.’”
It was Eimear’s sister who was the catalyst for the Wexford woman starting combat sports. She wanted somebody to go to a kickboxing class with and Eimear agreed.
A couple of weeks later, Codd met her current coach, Anthony Walsh, who invited her down to a Muay Thai class.
In March this year Codd made history and took part in the first ever female Cage Kings Muay Thai bout against Ula Mydlowska which was held in Dublin.
“As I was coming into the ring, being the only female was not on my mind at all. It was more, do not mess this up because it’s such a big platform,” Codd laughed.
“But in the build up to the fight it was a massive deal, it was in my head all the time, I wanna do well and make the girls look good whether I win or lose.”
It was Codd’s hand that was raised after three rounds inspiring an abrupt feeling of exhilaration.
“I was like ‘oh my god I’ve just won’ and there was shock and I was delighted. It really made me feel that I did represent the girls well,” Codd said.
Looking back, what was the response of Codd’s family when she first commenced training in combat?
“I’d come home with bruised legs from just hitting the bags and stuff, they first thought ‘you’re never going to keep this up’,” she said.
“Then when I told them I was training for my first fight they were quite shocked, and then when I followed through with it and won my first fight they were very happy. But they’re still kind of doubtful of me,” she joked.
Codd believes more needs to be done to encourage women to take up sport at school and she argued that combat sport isn’t as brutal as some suggest.
She discussed the benefits of training in Muay Thai.
“More confidence, not just in how you look, how you can go about your business day or night. Self-defence as well, although I don’t know what would happen if it came to it,” laughed Codd.
“It makes people more confident, and for me that’s a big thing, because I’m a bit of a recluse, I stutter when I try to talk to people, as you can see. But I guess for a woman, confidence would be the biggest benefit.”
We concluded our conversation by touching on a topic so prevalent in combat sports, pre-fight anxiety.
Codd was refreshingly open about her nerves.
“For me it seems to be getting worse,” she began. “For the first fight I didn’t know what I was getting into, I had no idea what I was doing really, I had no idea of the atmosphere on fight night, so my first fight was the calmest I’ve ever been.
“But it seems to be kinda almost getting worse for each fight, because I know what can happen, the crowds are getting bigger, the likes [of] Cage Kings and stuff, obviously it’s a good thing the crowds are getting bigger because it means I’m getting on good shows but it’s like ‘oh no more people, more people to watch, more people to either disappoint or impress.’
“Whichever way it goes it’s still nerve racking getting in there. I’m quite shy and quiet about things so I kind of prefer smaller crowds so it means I can just get in and get out. But then the bigger crowds it’s like ah there’s so many fights, no one will notice mine, it’s fine,” added Codd.
On February 25th, Codd will challenge for a world Muay Thai title, something she still can’t quite get her around.
She will fight Claire Clements in the UK for the WKA 63.5 belt.