The last time Loma Lookboonmee was in Japan, things didn’t quite go in her favour.
She had just turned 16, and was set to face professional kickboxing champion Erika Kamimura. While the Muay Thai rule set favoured Loma, the fresh faced teenager from Buriram couldn’t even make weight and was 2kg under the required 48kg weight limit.
Arriving only a day before the fight, it was her very first time going abroad. She wasn’t even aware the fight was for a title.
“I was so young back then, my body wasn’t strong like it is now. I wasn’t prepared for that fight,” Loma tells Asia MMA.
While the clinch monster showed success in rounds one and two, a right hand in the third sent her to the canvas, leaving her out for the count.
Nearly six years have passed and Loma will finally get her chance to return to the land of the rising sun. This time however she’ll be fighting MMA, a sport she’s only been training in for a little over a year.
Now, returning to the cage for her second MMA fight, Loma will face Hana Date at Pancrase 298 on the 5 August at Studio Coast in Tokyo.
“I’m excited to return to Japan and show the fight community what I am capable of. I’m strong now and confident I can bring back a win.”
In preparation for this fight, Loma has been training at Tiger Muay Thai under the tutelage of head MMA coach George Hickman. She’s had a full two month camp completely immersed in MMA, with access to some of the best facilities and training partners in the world.
She is currently practicing Brazilian Jiu-jitsu with Stu Copper and Alex Schild, and has shown a natural aptitude for American wrestling which she trains with Frank Hickman.
Loma’s opponent, Hana Date is versed in MMA having competed for both Deep Jewels and Rizin. Date is also very popular on the Japanese wrestling scene. But what Loma lacks in MMA experience, she makes up for in ring time, having fought over 300 times in Muay Thai.
In terms of MMA, it seems that the stars have aligned for this young Thai prospect. Having secured a management deal with Ruby Sports & Entertainment and access to a full sponsorship program from Tiger Muay Thai, all she needs to do now is perform.
The future is bright for the Muay Thai prodigy from Buriram.