Mr Connell adds that as an unintended benefit, people even respect his kwam pen Thai, or Thainess, because of it. Sometimes he turns up for trade or policy meetings clearly brandishing the after-effects of physical punishment.
There have been a few times. Ive tried to cover as best I could, he says. Family and work commitments mean he doesnt participate as often as he once did, for one thing because of the age factor. Many boxers are battered through short-lived careers in muay Thai and the fighters are usually much younger.
Once you develop to a certain mental level you are there, but its extremely taxing fitness wise, and its a lot harder to recover now, he admits. Still, you can regularly catch him training and running through the back sois off Sukhumvit road.
Its for the discipline and its like a drug, he says enthusiastically. If hes not in the ring, he enjoys watching a live contest on a Friday night at Lumpini stadium, with his wife and sometimes his coach or friends from the gym. When I can get a babysitter, he adds, referring to his two daughters, aged four years and 18 months, who he plans to take along when they are older.
Mr Connell referred to the music, a blend of drums and cymbals which elevates in pace to match the tension of the fight, as organic. On special nights, such as the Queens birthday on August 12 or National Muay Thai Day on March 17, he mixes the best of both worlds, while holding his job in high esteem. Hell enjoy the fight as always, yet often as a representative of the embassy, dressed in a suit instead of a boxing kit.
Out of respect for the post, he says.