Peng Lei Wang
Written by Veronica Noronha
Block (Bat), Dodge (Pang Nga), Elbow (Sawk or Sok) and Fight (Chok) are a few Muay Thai terms that serious fighters and fans of the sport know well.
Peng Lei Wang, a resident of China and professional fighter, is an expert in these terms and everything else there is to know about Muay Thai. Wang has been training and battling in the Muay Thai ring since he was 13 years old and is interested in nothing else but becoming the best fighter he can be.
In December 2019, the Markham Pan Am Centre hosted the Wulinfeng Thai Boxing East vs. West Battle Series where Wang battled against some of Canada’s top amateur fighters. The event welcomed eight fighters from China and six fighters from Canada for eight jaw-dropping matches. To support this international event, our world-class sport complex was transformed into a Las Vegas-like arena with state-of-the-art production, including floor and stadium seating for over 1000 fans. With a packed house for most of the matches, the crowd jeered at and cheered for their favourite fighters. When the hardest hits were made, there was a collective gasp from the audience as they sat on the edge of their seats waiting for their choice fighter to get back on their feet. The energy in the building was incredible.
Before the event started, Wang shared what it is like to be a Muay Thai athlete. Speaking through a translator, Wang recalls the night he fought in three matches and took home a golden belt – the ultimate prize for Muay Thai athletes. He goes on the say that his biggest challenge leading up to this event, and most events, is maintaining his weight to ensure he qualifies for each bout. He believes his innate discipline and focus is what keeps him on track. He also learned early on in his career that, “paying attention to the most basic moves is the key to becoming a successful fighter.”
Muay Thai fighters, such as Wang, will tell you that preparation is key for a sport as physically taxing as theirs. Training includes running, skipping, and heavy bag work, sparring and meditation. The sport also has a bit of mysticism which is evident in the pre-fight Wai Kru Ram Muay ritual where athletes show respect and gratitude to their teachers, parents and ancestors. The athletes, who are about to fight, simultaneously walk around the ring in a counter-clockwise direction, one gloved hand on the top rope, as they go into what looks like a meditative state while stopping to pray at each corner of the ring. All this while the sound of ancient instruments blast through the sound system. It is awe-inspiring to watch. Once the ritual is over and the bell chimes, the fighters come out of their corners ready to take each other down.
After the Wulinfeng East vs. West Battle Series, Wang headed back to China where he will continue to train and compete in the ancient sport of Muay Thai. We hope to see Wang again in Canada at the next Wulinfeng East vs. West Battle series.