An interview with Tanya Merrett
Tanya Merrett is a National Muay Thai Champion fighting out of Eagles Muay Thai in Cardiff, Wales under Lee Power. You'd be hard pushed to find someone who's met Tanya and doesn't love her, she is an absolutely lovely girl. At age 30, she has had 16 fights in total, and her current Pro Muay Thai record is 6-4-1. Otherwise known as Machine, she is fast becoming known as a fighter that just doesn't say "no" - she's faced Lucy Payne (for the Awakening World Title), Alexis Rufus, Kelly Creegan, Shiv Foley, Madeleine Vall and Vicky Church to name a few. On April 6th, she faces yet another accomplished fighter, Maritzarda Hersisia.
Hi Tanya, thanks for speaking to us today!
“Hi guys, pleasure is all mine, thanks for contacting me”
First things first, are you aware that everyone loves you? Whenever you come up in conversation, to whom ever it is, the response is always the same! "Oh I love Tanya!"...
“Hahaha that’s so sweet. Well I like to think people like me. I treat people in the way I would like to be treated, with kindness and respect. In this sport I find it goes hand in hand. My father taught me well.”
Now that we've given you a big head, let's talk about your upcoming fight against Maritzarda. You both took the fight on relatively short notice, what do you know about Maritzarda?
“I know that she is a well accomplished Dutch fighter. She is good with her hands and movement in and out. I know she recently fought Iman Barlow and I had watched that fight before I knew I would be facing Maritzarda. I am grateful for her taking the fight as we were hard pushed to find a replacement and didn’t want to go much longer without being in the ring.”
Without giving your game plan away, how are you preparing for this fight? And does it differ to other fights?
“I am always trying to improve myself in regards to my performances from previous fights. The game plan has changed to suit Maritzarda as she has a very different style to whom I was previously meant to be fighting. I’ve been given long enough and she is in the same boat but outside of the game plan, the fitness and strength preparation side remain the same.”
Can we get a prediction from you as to how you think the fight might go down?
“I think it will be a good hard fight. I am going to put on an A Class performance, fight with all my heart and head, and get the WIN”
Nice answer! Changing the subject now, we've asked you this before - but for the benefit of our readers… When and why did you first start Muay Thai?
“I was first introduced to Muay Thai as a teenager; my dad took me to help build up confidence as I was bullied a lot in school. I only did it for a year or so, and then took it back up just for fitness when I left university at 21. It progressed from there with me falling more and more in love with the sport. The more I knew about the sport, visiting and training out in Thailand I was hooked!!!”
Tanya Merrett. Photo Credit: Joe Singh, www.snaprockandpop.co.uk
Who inspires you, and has this changed since you first begun?
“Anyone who gets into a ring and fights inspires me, I think it’s a very brave thing to do and hats off to all that do it regardless of age or ability. I watch a lot of fighters both male and female, and I equally enjoy the really technical fights as much as the all-out war fights.”
Another nice answer! As we mentioned in the pre-amble, you have fought some very tough opponents… is there anyone in particular you would like to fight in the future?
“I don’t choose my opponents; I put that trust in my Coach Lee Power. We discuss people that would be a good match and he will work his magic. I have accepted every challenged placed in front of me, I wish that could be the same for people I have asked to fight but time will tell”
We won’t ask you to dish the dirt, we know that’s not how you roll. What are your goals for the future? Inside and outside of the ring…
“Goals for inside the ring are to continue to fight top level and to keep learning and loving the fights I have. To be a World champion is a big dream of mine and to achieve that accolade would be a major highlight of my career. Outside would be to keep having fun and have one amazing life, live it to the full; I love to travel the world seeing amazing places and share awesome experiences with my friends and family.”
A few off topic questions now. Every time we see you fight, that tattoo on your leg has become more and more impressive. Can we get you to share a photo with us for our readers?… and also talk us through it!
“Haha yes, this tattoo has been a project of mine for a few years now. It’s a personal story that starts with the bottom of my leg. It shows all the Thai Warriors including Hanuman the Thai Monkey Warrior God. This represents the fights I had through life for various reasons. Fights to stay true to myself and to the path I have chosen for myself. Coming up my leg are the Thai Guardians, they are there for protection for me and the life I have and am extremely grateful for. Further up still (you can’t see this as it goes right up the side of the leg) is the image of Buddha… This is to show that one day I will be at peace and remain on a good path, one that I can be proud of.”
It’s definitely becoming a work of art, and even more so now you’ve explained it!
Final question… you might not see it yourself, but with your work ethic, attitude and demeanour, you are a great role model for the younger generation. Do you have any words of wisdom you could share with us, perhaps aimed at the younger ladies who are still deciding if they want to fight or not?
“To anyone, I would always say be true to yourself, be kind and grateful for opportunities you are given. To take those opportunities, and try your best. My dad has always been proud not because I am the best at anything, but because I have always tried to do things to the best of my ability. Put your heart and soul into what you love, be it fighting, training anything and your rewards and recognition will come.”
Thank you for that, and indeed for speaking with us Tanya, we really appreciate it. We wish you the best of luck for your next fight against Maritzarda on April 6th. We hope to see you soon! Before we go, do you have any thank you's or shout outs you would like to make?
“Firstly, thanks to you Rew for this interview. I want to thank my coach Lee and Jimpy and the Eagles family that see me every day at my worst, best and everything in between. I couldn’t do it without them. To Ric and the Supergym fighters, again they always welcome me with open arms when I am training with them. To my family that are so supportive and accepting of what I do even though it means I rarely get to see them half as much as I would like to, especially my sisters. Lastly my dad, who comes to every fight I have in the UK. Love you pops.”
You can see why people adore her!