I've been actually trying to get myself back into the muaythai scene. As mentioned last year was a terribly disappointing year for me. So I've been calling around and asking promoters for dates. I've already gotten hold of some dates so far, so Im just trying to organize my life around it all now. Will try update as much as I can on Muaythai as possible.
One paticular event I'm very very keen to get on is Muaythai Challenger: Thailand vs The World. They just did their first offical event on Jan 16th 2009. With an amazing line up of fighters. Kaoklai Kaenorsing, Dzhabar Askerov, Antoine Pinto, Ramazan Ramazanov, Nonsai
As we all know Muaythai is no longer a sport dominated by just Thai people anymore. In recent years there have been some huge upsets with Thai's being beaten at their own game by fighters from Holland, France, Japan and even China (This one was mostly due to dodgy judging!!!! haha!!)
With the HUGE increase in popularity in the sport. At the IFMA World Championships last year countries like Mongolia,Iraq and a few others you've never heard of or even imagine would know of Muaythai sent teams to the tournament. Not to mention with more TV coverage from events worldwide and with the TV shows like my favourite international hit TV series =) The Contender Asia....It has taken Muaythai mainstream.
Muaythai Challenger however is done in a much classier,cooler and edgier style at one of the high end shopping malls in Bkk, Siam Paragon. It's all about the atmosphere and not just FIGHTS.....The night is packed with DJs spinning good music, hip hop performance from the famous band "Thaitanium", sexy girls in skimpy outfits dancing. It's ALOT better than the usual dingy sweaty stadiums with gamblers shouting and all that. For a fighter you actually for once would feel like a PRO Fighter at an awesome event! Rather than a human version of dog fighting in some caged stadium with sweaty gamblers shouting like they've put every last penny they have on you!! On top of that prefight interviews with fighters, vids of them training, info's on their background. It's all designed to make the viewers and fans know more about the fighters and not just watch them bash it out in the ring. It builds a relation and a hype. It's all very well done....very Contender Asia / ESPN style if you see what I mean.
Dzhabar Askerov, my brother from another mother!
Abit more on the people who are doing Muaythai Challenger. The idea and event is put together by Elite Boxing, run by Toli Makris who has been staging worldwide events in Thailand,Switzerland,Macua and many other places. With his team and experience in staging events, they have now decided to team up with two of the biggest names in Muaythaim, The WMC and Onesongchai Promotions to now make them a real powerhouse in the name of promotions. WMC needs no introduction, run by Stephan Fox. WMC is the governing body of Muaythai....think FIFA but for Muaythai.
Onesongchai deserves a brief intro about their legacy. They are the BIGGEST name in muaythai promotions in Thailand. Khun Songchai Ratanasuban is the man who started it all and has been running promotions for over 30years now. Back in the 80s and 90's he was the man known for matching up fighters that fans would love to see. Mr Songchai was known to be the best matchmaker in Thailand and the fights that he matched up were usually exciting or turn out to be epic battles that are talked about even til this day. People don't realize but matchmakers are VERY important. Knowing which fighter,what style, what technique and what people want to see MAKE A GOOD FIGHT!!! Mr Songchai did just that. Matching fighters and putting them to the test and limits.
30years down the road his two children, Khun Siraphop (Songchai Jr) and his sister Khun Pariyakorn are helping out with the business and keeping up with times and holding quality events and fights in Thailand and around the world. Doing the Kings and Queens birthday at Sa Nam Luang, Bangkok and also still running their Onesongchai nights out of Rajadamnern Stadium and at their own Bangkok Boxing Stadium on Saturdays. They are still keeping this family tradition and business very much alive.
A couple of years ago, it was really hard to find good fight videos of Muaythai. Back then no such thing as youtube!....The only way you could get to either go watch live...?? or to either ask people who used to live in Thailand to record it and send ya VHS and you'd have to convert it.......or you had to go to watch crappy recordings from your friends video camera whenever he went to watch fights in Thailand.
Onesongchai saw an opportunity and I think this was probably the best thing they ever did for the sport. They put out DVDs of fights from the golden era of muaythai that they promoted. All the epic battles from the fighters from the 80s and 90s were available in their OneSongchai Compilation. Someo f my favourite Thai fighters and foreign fighters were featured in the dvds, the likes of, Samart Payakaroon, Coban Lookchaomaesaitong , Samransak Meungsurin, Namkhabuan Nongeepayahut, Nokweed Davy, Sakmongkol Singmanasak, Jongsanan Fairtex, Ramon Dekker, Rob Kaman.
All those fights were just of a different calibur from today. I mean I still watch some of the old fights and just am amazed. You can even find some of the newer names in in Muaythai but at their peak of their careers. Buakaw, Sakadpetch, Anuwat, Bovy.....the list goes on. If you are a true muaythai fan and lover. Onesongchai compilation DVDs are the ones you wanna get hold of and watch.
I will try to get hold of Khun Siraphop soon and hopefully I can get a chance to interview him to tell us abit more about whats happening with Onesongchai and their plans.
Well here are the results and some pictures from the event.
Pictures available at http://www.lifestyleasia.com/gallery/thailand-vs-challenger_2704.htm
Ali Yaakub (Malaysia) vs Sornthong Dennawee (Thailand) – TKO, 3rd round
Zaza (Thailand) vs (Thailand) (Joey Lee of China was replaced last moment) – points
Madsua (Thailand) vs Robbie Filiponi (Austrailia) – points
Kaoklai (Thailand) vs Erik Kosztanko (Slovakia) – points
Nonsai (Thailand) vs Dzhabar Askerov (Russia) – points
Nopparat (Thailand) vs Antoine Pinto (France) – points
Ramazan Ramazanov (Russia) vs Eduardo Maiorino (Brazil) – KO, first round
Look out for more on Muaythai Challenger. It's an AWESOME event!!
Next time I'll definetly fly up to catch their events or even better, next time I wanna fight on their event!!