Best Boxers from Thailand in Boxing History
Today, the term Thai boxer is bound to conjure up images of elbows and kicks in the world of mixed martial arts. But Thai boxers, traditional boxers, have been many and successful over the years, including some huge names and legends. Take a look at this list of the top 5 Thai boxers of all time.
- Khaosai Galaxy (Career: 1984-1996): With a thick and muscled torso, suggesting a fighter several weight classes bigger, set on top of a pair of pipe cleaner legs, Galaxy was a fearsome physical threat. When watching him and reviewing his string of dominance, one would be hard-pressed to name a better 115-pounder. Galaxy could be hit and his chin was vulnerable—making for some very exciting encounters. Lost his 7th pro fight in 1981, but went 42-0 (37 KOs) over the next decade. Won vacant WBA belt in 1984, making 19 defenses, 16 coming by knockout, before retiring as champion. A very unique, spirited, and exceptionally hard-punching fighter.
- Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (Career: 1994-present): While he rightfully catches some flack for benefiting from the questionable Thai practice of champions facing neophytes in non-title fights, his record is outstanding. Has enjoyed a late-career renaissance that took his legacy to the next level. The crafty southpaw is on a 15-year/75-fight run that has seen him lose only once, and that to a fighter he has twice beaten. Reigned as WBC Flyweight Champion from 2001-2007, making 17 defenses, including wins over unbeaten Malcolm Tunacao, future champions Luis Lazarte and Gilberto Keb-Baas, 23-0 Hussein Hussein, and a 34-second knockout of future-champ and conqueror Daisuke Naito. Considered over-the-hill after losing and drawing with Naito in 2007 and 2008, but rebounded with an upset over unbeaten new champion Koki Kameda to reclaim the WBC title he first won a decade ago. Has scored 2 defenses, bringing his record to 82-3-1 (45 KOs).
- Veeraphol Sahaprom (Career: 1994-2010): A fighter who strangely never received much recognition, Sahaprom beat WBA Bantamweight Champion Daorung Chuvatana (55-5-1) in his 4th fight in 1995, losing in his first defense to hard-hitting Nana Konadu. Rebuilt and developed some more experience, before knocking out tough WBC champion Joichiro Tatsuyoshi to win the title. Repeated the knockout in his 2nd defense and beat outstanding contender Adan Vargas in his 3rd. Incredibly, made 4 defenses (2-0-2) against Toshiaki Nishioka—currently the top 122-pounder in the world. In total, made 14 title defenses before losing to Hozumi Hasegawa at age 36.
- Pone Kingpetch (Career: 1954-1966): You won’t find too many fighters with a record of 28-7 who accomplished more than the under-appreciated Thai. With two wins over Pascual Perez and a triumph over Fighting Harada, Kingpetch claimed the scalps of two of the best lighter-weight fighters of all time and a pair of surefire Hall of Famers. In his last great moment, the former Flyweight Champion reversed a first-round knockout loss to exact revenge on 38-1-1 Hiroyuki Ebihara.
- Chartchai Chionoi (Career: 1959-1975): Fierce-fighting and slashing former Flyweight Champion came up the hard way. Finally made some headway with a win over top Italian Salvatore Burruni, before annexing the WBC crown from Walter McGowan by knockout. Stopped McGowan in the rematch, before taking 2 of 3 against tough Efren Torres. Lost belt in 1970 and appeared finished. Showing the heart of champion, he came back and claimed Masao Ohba’s old belt after the Japanese champion tragically died at 23. Defended twice before losing his belt for the final time in 1974.
So when you think of Thai boxing, don’t just think about MMA. Think about, well, boxing, and these great boxers from Thailand who have stepped through the ropes over the years.