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SOR THANIKUL GYM !

by Serge TREFEU (2014)

 

 

Sor Thanikul Gym was one of the most prestigious camp of boxing in the story of Muay Thai in Thailand. This camp was a real factory to champion who produced about twenty champions of the Lumpinee and Radja!

THE SOR THANIKUL GYM WAS A RESERVOIR OF GREAT FIGHTERS!

The Sor Thanikul unfortunately closed his doors in 2003 but his story is unique in the annuals of the Thai boxing!

The camp was situated in Bangkok in the district of Prakanong to Sukhumvit Road at the end of the Soi 93. The infrastructure of the camp was not extremely big but in the nice time of Sor Thanikul there were more than fifty boxers who trained in everyday life!

This famous camp was created in 1977 by businessman Kléo Thanikul. Mister Thanikul was born on April 10th, 1934 in the district of Donmanora in Bang Khonthi, a city situated in 40 km from Bangkok in the province of Samut Songkhram. Stemming from a Sino-Thai family, he been born with one twins who unfortunately died a few days after his birth. So his parents to protect him from the fate, gave him the name of "Kléo" which literally means " Escaping a danger "!

MASTER THANIKUL !

Kléo fast became a formidable businessman especially in the real estate where he acquired a part of his fortune, then he also opened a casino.

Enthusiast of boxing, it's invested a lot to develop this sport in Thailand. In 1977, he created his camp of boxing which will become one of the best camps of Thailand. And in the middle of the 80s he was elected Amateur president of the Association of Boxing of Thailand!

Kléo is a little considered as the father of the boxing in Thailand because he was one of the first ones and the more powerful promoter of the country. A major promoter in Thai boxing but also in Boxing, he did a lot of boxing show in these two disciplines!

KLEO THANIKUL WAS THE BIGGEST PROMOTER OF THE '80S!

KLEO THANIKUL WITH BRONZE MEDAL AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES 1998, PHAJOL MOOLSAN!

JAROENTHONG KIATBANCHONG AGAINST MONO SINGKHAOSEAN, THANIKUL PROMOTION!

CLASH BETWEEN TWO GREAT CHAMPIONS SAMART PAYAKAROON AND SAMART PRASARMIT WAS ORGANIZED BY KLEO THANIKUL!

IN 1983, KLEO THANIKUL ORGANIZED FIGHT OF THE YEAR BETWEEN THE TWO LEGENDS SAMART AND DIESELNOI THE LARGEST PURSES 80'S, WITH 350 000 BAHTS FOR SAMART AND 400 000 BAHTS FOR DIESELNOI!

Kléo Thanikul died at the age of 57. His protective name " Kléo " had protected well him for long years because he had already escaped assassination attempts. Kléo Thanikul was a very protected man, when he came to see a boxing match in the stadium of Lumpinee or Radja, he was always around him a dozen armed men, and even when he went to the toilet of stadium, there were two bodyguards who escorted him permanently!

But on April 5th, 1991, on the Pinklao Nakhon Chaisi road, to Sam Phran near Bangkok, his car with his driver and his bodyguards fell in a real ambush. The killers left no luck to the occupants of the vehicle, the car was riddled with bullet and exploded with M-16 grenade launcher, Master Kléo received near about sixty bullets!

Kléo Thanikul was close to the mafia and people say that he was one of the most important Godfathers of the mafia, of other than he was in business with high military authorities of the country. But officially nobody knows even today who sponsored on his murder. Several books were written on the exceptional story of this great man...

BOOKS ON KLÉO THANIKUL !

In the 80s and 90s, the Sor Thanikul was at its peak, the camp fighters inflamed punters major stadiums in Bangkok!

The most famous champions who represented the Sor Thanikul for years are undoubtedly the twins Boonlai Sor Thanikul and Boonlung Sor Thanikul!

Boonlai was Lumpinee champion in two different categories and beat all the stars of his time such as Jongsanan Fairtex, Chatchai Paiseethong, Karuhat Sor Supawa, Lamnamoon Sor Sumalee, Superlek Sor Isan, Oley Kiatoneway, Chamophet Ha Phalang, Jaroensap Kiatbanchong, Langsuan Phayutaphum, Wanchalong Sor Palangchai, Cherry Sor Wanich and Namkabuan Nongkee Pahuyut!

As for Boonlung he was one of the best fighter in his category, ranked in the Top 5 Lumpinee, this champion sadly died in a car accident...

BOONLAI AND BOONLUNG SOR THANIKUL !

THE STAR BOONLAI SOR THANIKUL !

There was also the formidable Sombat Sor Thanikul (Lumpinee Champion) and his little brother Colalek Sor Thanikul, Sombat who won the title several times World Champion was a terror of the rings in the 80s, this great champion passed away a few years ago...

SOMBAT IN BLUE SHORT!

The Sor Thanikul produced many great champions, you can not name them all because the list would be too long. But include champions such as Samingnoi Sor Thanikul (Radja Champion), Banklanoi Sor Thanikul (Lumpinee Champion), Lom Issan Sor Thanikul (Radja Champion and Lumpinee Champion), Prathet Sor Thanikul (Radja Champion), Praptoranee Sor Thanikul (Lumpinee Champion), Khomkiat Sor Thanikul (N° 1 Radja), Kompetch Sor Thanikul (N° 1 Radja), Saohin Sor Thanikul (PABA Champion), Pong Pansak Sor Thanikul, Den Sor Thanikul, Khunsuk Sor Thanikul, Phansaklek Sor Thanikul and Phayapnoi Sor Thanikul !

BANKLANOI SOR THANIKUL  LUMPINEE CHAMPION IN TWO CATEGORIES!

PRATHET SOR THANIKUL  RADJA CHAMPION!

In Europe and especially in France, the most famous champions are certainly Kitty, Youssop and Daris. Kitty Sor Thanikul beat among others the great French champion Jo Prestia for a World Championship title in France!

Youssop Sor Thanikul was ranked No.1 for several years in Lumpini in 130 lbs, in the 80s he came to settle in France where he became a coach renowned, Youssop still lives today in France. His little brother Daris Sor Thanikul was a formidable fighter who defeated Dutch star Ramon Dekkers and the great champion Dida Diafat!

YOUSSOP SOR THANIKUL !

So, numerous champions of the other camps came to get ready to Sor Thanikul. Legendary Diesel Noi stayed about 5 years in Sor Thanikul, he made big fights under the name of Diesel Noi Sor Thanikul!

THE STAR DIESEL NOI « THE SKY PIERCING KNEE KICKER » REPRESENTED THE GYM SOR THANIKUL DURING SEVERAL YEARS!

The trainers were considered in Sor Thanikul because they formed a lot of champions. One of the most charismatic was Ajahn Peng who was the main trainer of camp. When Sor Thanikul closed Master Peng became trainer to the camp 96 Peenang where he's always today. But there was also big professors like Khru Toy and Khru Mueg!

MASTER PENG !

BOONLAI AND AJAHN PENG !

In the movie " Kick Boxer " which is world-famous with the star Jean-Claude Van Damme, the scene in which Van Damme goes into a training camp of Thai boxing was shot to the Sor Thanikul Gym. And the character who plays the role of the trainer is other than Master Pairut Lavilas (Ajahn Peng)!

IN THE FILM "KICKBOXER", THE BROTHER OF VAN DAMME IS TRANSPORTED TO HOSPITAL AFTER HARD DEFEAT ON THE RING, VAN DAMME WANDER IN THE STREETS OF BANGKOK AND GO INTO BY CHANCE IN THE SOR THANIKUL GYM RENAMED FOR THE MOVIE SOR KIET THAI GYM!

It's the actor Paulo Tocha who allowed the producer Mark DiSalle and to Jean-Claude Van Damme to go to the camp Sor Thanikul. Because previously, Mark DiSalle had produced the movie " Bloodsport " in which the star was Jean-Claude Van Damme. And in Bloodsport, Paulo Tocha played " Paco's " role, a real fighter of Thai Boxing, Tocha wore a short in the name of the Sor Thanikul Gym when he shot his various scenes of fight, it was a way to honor the camp which he represented!

PAULO TOCHA ALIAS « PACO » IN THE MOVIE BLOODSPORT WITH THE SHORT SOR THANIKUL GYM .ธนิกุล!

Indeed, Paulo Tocha was one of the first foreigners to train for the camp Sor Thanikul. It was in the 80s, at that time the foreigners were rarely accepted. But Paulo Tocha stayed several years in the Sor Thanikul Gym and he fought several times for the camp!

PAULO TOCHA IN SOR THANIKUL GYM!

Later, many fighters came to Sor Thanikul, English, French, Dutch but he was the first foreigner to be authorized to fight for Sor Thanikul, to fight with the colors of the camp on his short with his nickname given by the master, it was a great honor at that time!

Several French champions are also often trained in Sor Thanikul such as Guillaume Kerner (World Champion), Dida Diafat (World Champion), Khaled Hebieb (World Champion), Jaid Seddak (World Champion) and Kader Marouf (World Champion)!

KLÉO THANIKUL ORGANIZED A MEETING BETWEEN THE TWO GREAT CHAMPIONS GUILLAUME KERNER AND PHETDAM LOOKBRABAT!

Even the famous English journalist Rob Cox spent several weeks in the camp Sor Thanikul, he's trained and slept in rooms with Thai boxers!

The Sor Thanikul camp was one of the best camps of Thailand, the camp which had a glorious past but also the tragic end with the death of his founder. The story of Sor Thanikul was written in the sweat and the blood, his name is forever etched in legends of Muay Thai!

Pics : Paulo Tocha, ปลาก้าง ตะกั่วป่า (Plakang Takouapa)

 

 

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