Some of the fighters who will line up in the Warrior FC fight night at the AIS on Sunday. Photo: Colleen Petch
NURSE by day, destroyer by night - Vanessa Taylor works to save lives, but when she steps in the ring the Canberra Muay Thai fighter turns into a different beast.
And despite admitting she's nervous ahead of the ''biggest fight of my career'', Taylor is oozing excitement in preparation for the Warrior FC fight night at the AIS Arena on Sunday night.
Taylor is one of a host of Canberra athletes who will be involved in the first Muay Thai event in the capital officially sanctioned by the sport's governing body. But it's what she does for a living that shocks most.
Vanessa Taylor is a nurse by day but will compete in the Warrior FC fight night at the AIS on Sunday. Photo: Colleen Petch
During the day she works at The Canberra Hospital helping the sick and injured. When she arrives at the gym for training or steps in for a fight, her job description changes to causing destruction.
It's a balance she's comfortable with. In fact, Taylor says being a nurse has helped her stay injury free in her three years of boxing and three years of Muay Thai.
''I worked in the neurosurgical ward for six months and I see a lot of spinal and brain injuries and it makes me think of the bad stuff that can happen,'' she said.
''But I know if I prepare as well as I can it's not likely to happen and I haven't had any injuries in six years, so being a nurse has definitely helped.
''I definitely get some funny looks when people find out what I do … people say, 'that doesn't surprise me, your work is so stressful so you need an outlet'.
''And it's true, I can't imagine being a calm, confident nurse if I didn't have Muay Thai as part of my life … it validates me.
''I can be in hard situations in the ring and it's sort of similar to working under pressure as a nurse.''
It is hoped 2000 people will pack into the AIS Arena for the 13-fight show. There are no hybrid rules and the rankings are managed by the peak Muay Thai association in Thailand.
Muay Thai is a martial art and is built on respect, hard work, and diligence, and is aiming to be included on the Olympic Games.
Organisers opted for a Sunday show to attract ''a more general audience'' instead of hosting it late at night in a club.
The two top ranked Australians will fight for a world title, while four New Zealanders are also in action.
It's the biggest show most of the Canberra athletes have been in.
Khai Doan finished his high school years at Hawker College last week with a business exam and is aiming to keep intact his perfect record for 2012.
The 17-year-old's fight against Charlie Bubb will be his first professional outing and, despite lacking the same experience as his rival, Doan is confident he can win.
''Win or lose, I don't really care. All I know is I'm going to fight my heart out,'' Doan said.
''I try to think of it as just another fight, regardless of whether it's amateur or professional.
''I'm looking forward to the big crowd as well.''
The main event of the night will be Dane ''Daddy Cool'' Beauchamp taking on Mark Sarracino in the world Muay Thai Council MAD international title.
The title is open only to the top 10 ranked fighters in the world
There will also be a show during the day to attract novices to the sport.
WARRIOR FC: 13 Muay Thai fights at the AIS Arena from 4pm. Amateur tournament from 10am. Tickets are available through Ticketek.