Special report by Serge TREFEU (2018)



Muay Thai has become very popular in the world since the 90s, thanks in particular to the excellent results of the great European champions who managed to beat the Thai champions at home, such as Jaid Seddak, Jo Prestia, Stephane Nikiema, Dany Bill, Guillaume Kerner, Morad Sari, Fabrice Payen, Dida Diafat, Khaled Hedbieb, Joel Cesar, Ramon Dekkers, Rob Kaman, Ivan Hippolyte, Gilbert Ballantine, Perry Ubeda, Ronnie Green, then in the 2000s came Jean-Charles Skarbowsky, Kamel Jemel, Farid Villaume, Wilfried Montagne, Mustapha « Totof » Youssef, Karim Saada, John Wayne Parr, Bruce MacFie, Ole Laursen, Soren Eminentair, Rudolph Durica.

Today, foreign champions who can compete with the Thai champions have become a little rarer but some great fighters come to beat them again at home as Fabio Pinca, Yohan Lidon, Damien Alamos, Rafi Bohic, the Pinto brothers Antoine and Victor, Adrien Rubis, the Belgian Youssef Boughanem and his brother Yassine Boughanem, the Englishman Liam Harrison, the Irishman Stephen Meleady, the Italian Mathias Gallo Cassarino, the Belarusian Andre Kulebin, the Australians Victor Nagbe, Chadd Collins and Toby Smith, Brazilian Jose Mendonca, Spanish Juan Mario, Japanese Genji Umeno, Takuya Imamura, Kaito Wor Wanchai.

In Thailand, Muay Thai is more than a sport, it's an enormous industry which generates a lot of money. That's why the Thai which are businessmen for a long time created parallel circuits for the foreigners so that they can fight more easily in Thailand and beat some Thai champions, circuits as S1, Thai Fight, Max Muay Thai or Super Muay Thai.

But to take down a belt of a big stadium of Bangkok it's another story, it's much more complicated than to gain a title of champion of the world of a federation recognized by Thailand.

The foreign boxer should at first make a career in Thailand, he has to settle down to live in this country and integrate the Thai circuit of a big stadium by taking away good results against Thai champions, win in front of champions in the top 10 of ranking until N° 1 then against the titleholder, it's very hard, very long and with difficulty accessible.

Then, the promoter for whom he's going to fight is very important. Because it's him who is going to determine, by his relations, the access to the circuit of a stadium as a stadium of Lumpinee, stadium of Radja, stadium of Omnoi or the TV7 stadium.

Many of the very good Thai boxers were never able to have the opportunity to fight for a title of an important stadium. Then, for a foreign boxer it's even more difficult to have this honor.

Great champions who beat every best of their category were not never able to take away a title of a stadium as the immense star of the 90s Somrak Kamsing or any more recently the big champion Sudsakorn Sor Klinmee.

So, very strong regional fighters sometimes beat champions of Lumpinee stadium or Radja stadium in province but will never have the opportunity to fight for an official title because they don't have the good promoters...

The foreigners who made a career practically that in Thailand are many, we don't speak about it a lot because they fought and beat the very hard Thai fighters but not forcing of the great champions of the stadiums of Bangkok.

This is the case for example of the French Olivier Gauthier (58 fights in Thailand) in the 80s, David Hergault (60 fights in Thailand) in the 90s, Charlton Henri (54 fights in Thailand) in the 2000s, the young Steeve Archambault (65 fights in Thailand) and Arthur Meyer (40 fights in Thailand) in the 2010s.

But there is full of foreign fighters who evolved in Thailand during the great majority of their career as Russian Dzhabar Askerov, the Slovak Rudolph Durica, the Swedish Tobias Alexandersson, English Damien Trainor, Australian Soren Eminentair, Chadd Collins, Toby Smith and many others.

The Pinto brothers, Antoine and Victor are also foreign champions who made their career practically that in Thailand. They faced many champions Thai and fought several times in the big stadiums of Bangkok.

But they chose then to evolve rather in the circuit of the famous Thai Fight, an event where there are many foreign champions. The fights of the Thai Fight are broadcast in Thailand on popular channels and in many foreign countries.

The Pinto brothers thus became extremely known mediatically by the Thai general public as well as abroad, they are more known than foreign champions who nevertheless gained the mythical belt of the stadium Lumpinee such as Damien Alamos and Rafi Bohic.

The champion Antoine Pinto has faced some Thai favorites such as Aphisak KT Gym, Tum Madsua, Nopparat Keatkhamtorn, Moset Thor Sangtiennoi, Saiyok Pumpanmuang, Aikpracha Meenayothin, Yodsanklai Fairtex, Dernchonlek Sor Sor Niyom, Chanachai Kaewsamrit and beat Thai champions like Bovy Sor Udomson (Radja Champion), Saenchainoi Pumphanmuang (Thailand Champion), Thepsutin Phumpanmuang (TV7 Champion, Thailand Champion) (KO), Sudsakorn Sor Klinmee (N ° 2 TV7).

Several foreign fighters in the story of Muay Thai would have amply deserved to compete for a prestigious title of a stadium of Bangkok, some had the chance to do it other not...

But in the majority of the cases the champions who are really justifiable to compete for a title of a big stadium of Bangkok are the ones who most fought against Thai champions and especially beaten these champions at their home or outside of their country.

For the 90's have can quote Fabrice Payen, Guillaume Kerner, Stephane Nikiema, Dany Bill, Morad Sari and Ramon Dekkers.

Fabrice Payen was the first western foreigner ranked in a big stadium of Bangkok, ranked N° 3 in the stadium of Radja in 1989, he beat Thai stature as Lom Isarn Sor Thanikul (Radja Champion, Lumpinee Champion) (KO), Sinphayboune (Thailand Champion), Daroeng (N° 3 Radja), Kumpong (Lumpinee Champion) (KO), Sanklanoi (N° 10 Radja) (KO), Dananai (N° 8 Lumpinee), Daris Sor Thanikul (N° 1 Lumpinee).

Guillaume Kerner is one of the first foreigners to beat great Thai champions at home in their stadium, he beat Thai stars such as Mekong (Lumpinee Champion, Radja Champion), Sittichai (N° 1 Lumpinee), Praptoranee (Lumpinee Champion), Attapong (Lumpinee Champion, Radja Champion), Sponsor (Radja Champion), Coban (Lumpinee Champion), Khaoloi (N° 1 Lumpinee), Virachai (N° 1 Lumpinee), Chainarong (N° 1 Lumpinee).

Stephane Nikiema has fought a lot in Thailand and often faced formidable Thai champions, he beat great Thai champions such as Sagat Petchyindee (Lumpinee Champion, Radja Champion), Turbo Kietisak (N° 1 Lumpinee), Changpuek Kiatsongrit (N° 1 Lumpinee) (KO), Kengkrai Sor Vorapin (Lumpinee Champion) (KO), Youssop Sor Thanikul (Lumpinee N° 1) (KO), Neungtrakan Por Muang Ubon (Lumpinee Champion), Lekmongkong Kietprasongchai (N° 3 Lumpinee), Prayuth Na Pintorn (N° 1 Lumpinee).

The phenomenal technician Dany Bill is one of the few foreigners to have fought several times in the stadium of Lumpinee in "Main Event", he has beaten some Thai big names such as Sangtienoi Sor Rungroj (Lumpinee Champion, Radja Champion ), Vichan Chorrotchai (Radja Champion), Den Muangsurin (Lumpinee Champion), Nokweed Dawee (Radja Champion), Orono Por Muang Ubon (Lumpinee Champion), Kengkrai Sor Vorapin (Lumpinee Champion), Panomrunglek Chor Siwat (Lumpinee Champion), Saimaisuk Chuwatthana (N° 1 Radja), Nong Moon (N° 1 Lumpinee), Sayid Khan (N° 1 Lumpinee), Samarth Galaxy Gym (N° 1 Lumpinee).

Morad Sari has faced the greatest champions of his generation. He's one of the foreign champions who have met the most of Thai champions, defeating big names in the Kingdom of Siam such as Orono Por Muang Ubon (Lumpinee Champion), Sakmongkol Sitchutchok (Lumpinee Champion), Saimai Chor Suen (Lumpinee Champion), Kaolan Kaovichit (Lumpinee Champion) (KO), Samranchai 96 Peenang (Thailand Champion), Den Muangsurin (Lumpinee Champion) (KO), Thedkiet Sitepitak (Lumpinee Champion) (KO), Samkor Kietmontep (Lumpinee Champion), Nuengtrakarn Por Muang Ubon (Lumpinee Champion), Sensing Muangsurin (N° 1 Lumpinee) (KO), Wihoknoi Chor Malithong (N° 3 Lumpinee) (KO), Somchai Sor Nantana (N° 3 Lumpinee) (KO ).

Ramon Dekkers is undoubtedly the foreign champion who has faced the most Thai champions during his career with always anthologies fights, he has beaten the Thai terrors Namphon Nongkee Pahuyuth (Lumpinee Champion), Cherry Sor Wanich (Lumpinee Champion) (KO), Superlek Sorn E-Sarn (Lumpinee Champion), Sombat Sor Thanikul (Lumpinee Champion), Coban Lookchaomaesaitong (Lumpinee Champion) (KO), Saengtiennoi Sor Rungrot (Lumpinee Champion, Radja Champion), James Bond Udomsak (Radja Champion) (KO), Decharwin (N° 1 Lumpinee) (KO), Nattawhut Pralomran (N° 1 Lumpinee) (KO).

The 2000s produced some Muay Thai stars who often fought in Thailand such as Jean-Charles Skarbowsky, John Wayne Parr and Farid Villaume.

Jean-Charles Skarbowsky (Ranked N° 1 in Radja in 2003 and 2006) was one of the biggest punchers in history, he met a lot of Thai champions at home, he beat great Thai champions like Duan E-San (N° 5 Lumpinee) (KO), Weera Chalunlape (N° 3 Lumpinee), Robert Kaennorasing (Radja Champion) (KO), Kaoponglek Luksuratam (Lumpinee Champion) (KO), Orono Por Muang Ubon (Lumpinee Champion) (KO), Rambo Two (Lumpinee Champion), Chokdee Por Pramuk (Lumpinee Champion) (KO), Khunsuk Petchsupapan (N° 1 Lumpinee) (KO), Suriya Sor Ploenchit (Lumpinee Champion), Mangkong Kietsomkoum (Radja Champion) (KO), Lamsongkram Chuwattana (Radja Champion) (KO), Nonthanan Por Pramuk (N° 1 Lumpinee) (KO).

The great Australian champion John Wayne Parr defeated big names such as Wihoknoi Chor Malithong (N° 3 Lumpinee), Joe Louie Muangsurin (N° 1 Lumpinee) (KO), Orono Por Muang Ubon (Lumpinee Champion), Suriya Sor Ploenchit (Lumpinee Champion), Duan E-San (N° 5 Lumpinee), Nuengtrakarn Por Muang Ubon (Lumpinee Champion), Lamsongkram Chuwattana (Radja Champion), Yodsanklai Fairtex (Lumpinee Champion), Nonsai Sor Sanyakorn (Thailand Champion).

The multiple world champion Farid Villaume knocked down good numbers of Thai champions such as Wihoknoi Chor Malithong (N° 3 Lumpinee) (KO), Nonthanan Por Pramuk (N° 1 Lumpinee), Orono Por Muang Ubon (Lumpinee Champion), Saïmai Chor Suen (Lumpinee Champion) (KO), Sakmongkol Sitchuchok (Lumpinee Champion), Nuengtrakarn Por Muang Ubon (Lumpinee Champion) (KO), Mangkong Kietsomkoum (Radja Champion) (KO), Wanlop Sitpholek (Thailand Champion), Samkor Kietmontep (Lumpinee Champion) (TKO).

Finally, the 2010s are rich in foreign champions winners of Thai terrors like Fabio Pinca, Yohan Lidon, Abdallah Mabel, Liam Harrison, Damien Alamos, Youssef Boughanem and Rafi Bohic.

Fabio Pinca is one of the French champions of his generation who has met the most great Thai champions, he defeated Kaensak Sor Ploenchit (Lumpinee Champion, Radja Champion), Sudsakorn Sor Klinmee (N° 2 TV7), Bovy Sor Udomson (Radja Champion), Danthai Siangmanasak (N° 3 TV7), Singmanee Sor Srisompong (Radja Champion), Petchmonkong Petchfocus (Thailand Champion), Big Ben Chor Praram 6 (Radja Champion), Malaipet Sasiprapa (Radja Champion), Diesellek Aodonmuang (N° 1 Lumpinee), he's the only European to have beaten the star Saenchai Sor Kingstar (Lumpinee Champion).

Although he has fought less in Thailand than his compatriots champions, the puncher Yohan Lidon still beats some Thai big names like Naruepol Fairtex (Lumpinee Champion) (TKO), Big Ben Chor Praram 6 (Radja Champion) (KO), Lamsongkram Chuwattana (Radja Champion) (KO), Bernueng Top King Boxing (Radja Champion) (KO), Diesellek Rungruangyon (Radja Champion), Kongjak Sor Tuantong (Radja Champion, Omnoi Champion), Jaochalam Sitkanokgym (N° 2 Radja) (KO), Panom Top King Boxing (Thailand Champion). His classmate Abdallah Mabel also did not play much on Thai rings, but he also beat some great Thai champions like Kaoponglek Luksuratam (Lumpinee Champion) (KO), Sakmongkol Sitchuchok (Lumpinee Champion), Naruepol Fairtex (Lumpinee Champion) (TKO), Chanachai Kaewsamrit (Radja Champion), Super X Por Petchnamchai (Omnoi Champion) (TKO), Rungrawee Kietpatharapan (Isuzu Tournament Winner) (KO).

The mighty English champion Liam Harrison is one of the English champions who has fought the most in Thailand, he beat great champions as Jaroensap Kiatbanchong (Lumpinee Champion) (TKO) Rungrit Noi (N° 3 Radja) Sonkom Jocky Gym (Radja Champion) (TKO), Numphon PK Sterio (Radja Champion) (KO), Samsamut Kiatchongkao (Radja Champion) (TKO), Anuwat Kaewsamrit (Lumpinee Champion, Radja Champion, Omnoi Champion), Malaipet Sasiprapa (Radja Champion).

The young Damien Alamos made most of his fights in Thailand, he defeated the champions Apisak KT Gym (N° 3 TV7), Dejsuriya Pumphanmuang (N° 4 Omnoi) (KO), Simanut Sor Surinya (Radja Champion), Diesellek Aooddonmuang (N° 1 Lumpinee), Fahmongkon Kor Chaiprayom (Omnoi Champion) (KO), Kongfah Uddonmuang (Lumpinee Champion), Chok Eminentair (TV7 Champion), Aranchai Pran 26 (N° 4 Lumpinee), Saksongkram Poptheeratam (Omnoi Champion) (KO), Lamtong Tor Ponchai (Winner of the Omnoi Tournament), Singsuriya Mor Ratanabandit (N° 3 Lumpinee) (KO).

The Belgian champion Youssef Boughanem is today the most dangerous foreign fighter in Thailand, a unique champion who has already won two titles of the prestigious stadiums of Bangkok. Youssef Boughanem is the titleholder champion of the Radja stadium in 160 lbs, this Terminator of the rings who has done almost all his career in Thailand beat great champions such as Saiyok (Lumpinee champion, Radja champion), Rungravee (Winner of Isuzu Tournament) (KO), Numbeechai (Radja Champion), Yodnapa (Radja Champion), Peemai (Omnoi Champion), Chanajon (Radja Champion, Isuzu Tournament Winner), Big Ben (Radja Champion, Thailand Champion), Fahmongkol (Omnoi Champion), Kanongsuk (Radja Champion) (2 wins by KO), Yodpayak Sitsongpeenong (Lumpinee Champion) (KO), Kompethlek (Radja Champion) (KO), Wanchalerm Nuantongsnooker (N° 1 Lumpinee) (TKO).

The current Lumpinee champion in 147 lbs Rafi Bohic is one of the last boxing fighters of the rings, become very rare, who make their career in the Kingdom of Siam by facing the best Thai fighters of the moment. Rafi Bohic has already defeated great Thai champions such as Saen Parunchai (Lumpinee Champion) (KO), Nawee Eagle Muay Thai (Radja Champion) (KO), Jaknalonglek Tor Silachaï (Lumpinee Champion), Sangfah Silalaï (Radja Champion) (KO), Simanut Sor Surinya (Radja Champion), Pongsiri Por Siripong (Lumpinee Champion, TV7 Champion).







Only ten foreign champions fought for the Lumpinee belt, Ramon Dekkers (Defeat) in 1992, Morad Sari (Victory) and Stephane Nikiema (Defeat) in 1999, Farid Villaume (Defeat) and Kamel Jemel (Defeat) in 2010, Abdellah Mabel (Defeat) in France in 2010, Damien Alamos (Victory) in 2012, Kunitaka Fujiwara (Defeat) and Ito Nakatake (Defeat) in Japan in 2014, Rafi Bohic (Victory) in 2017.

Morad Sari was the first foreign champion to win the Lumpinee belt in 140 lbs in 1999 against Thailand's Somchai, who he beat by knockout.





On February 10, 2012, the young phenomenon Damien Alamos became the second foreigner to win the trophy, he was Lumpinee champion in 140 lbs against Kongfah Auddomuang with a first victorious defense against Aranchai Pran 26 and a second defense against Singsuriya Mor Ratanabandit that he beat by knockout.





On June 20th, 2017, Rafi Bohic becomes a champion of the Lumpinee by beating Pongsiri Por Siripong for the belt of Lumpinee in 147 lbs. A fight revenge because Rafi Bohic been defeated on September 3rd, 2016, by points, after a terrible battle in which his opponent ended the head stained with blood for the belt of Lumpinee in 147 lbs in front of Pongsiri Por Siripong.

On July 18th, 2017, in the stadium of Lumpinee, French challenge the Thai Nontakit Tor Morsi for champion's belt of Thailand, unfortunately he not made a success not the exploit to gain the belt of Thailand, Rafi Singpatong (Singpatong name of his camp) is beaten by KO.

Although the belt of Lumpinee was not involvement, French is discharged of his property. Because a rule stipulates that if a champion of the Lumpinee loses by KO in the stadium of Lumpinee in the year, he loses his belt of the stadium Lumpinee...

On December 26th, 2017, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Rafi Singpatong finds Simanut Sor Surinya whom he had beaten one year previously. The belt of Lumpinee in 147 lbs become vacant is involvement. French makes a luxurious fight and beats the Thai in points. Rafi Singpatong gets back his belt and goes again into the story of Muay Thai by being the only one foreign to the world to have got back the prestigious title of Lumpinee. A title that he defends triumphantly on February 27th, 2018 in the event Best Of Siam 12 by beating by KO French Dylan Salvador.








Today, it's true that this mythical belt has become a little more accessible than at the time when the first foreigner in history Toshio Fujiwara conquered in the 70s.

The first non-Thai which took away a belt of a big Thai stadium is legendary Japanese Toshio Fujiwara (141 fights, 126 victories among which 104 victories by KO) stemming from the famous club Mejiro Gym in Tokyo. Exceptional fighter, he faced and overcome at their home the biggest champions Thai as Rungnapa Sitsomsak, Charanpon Sotai, Pud Pad Noi Worawut, Siri Monkon Ruksilapat.

In 1978, in Japan, he defeated Thai Mongsawan Lokchaman by KO for the title of Radja in 130 lbs and he became the first foreigner to win a belt of the Ratchadamnoen stadium!




Then, several Japanese fighters won this belt, in 2001, Kozo Takeda and Hitoshi Ogasawara, in Japan.







In 2011, still in Japan, Hiroki Ishii won against the Thai Aphisak KT Gym belt in 140 lbs, he twice defended victoriously his belt of Radja in - 63 Kg 500 in Japan.




In June 2016, in Japan, Takuya "T-98" Imamura won the Radja belt in 154 lbs against the Thai Nawee Eagle Muay, a belt he lost a month later for the revenge against the Thai in Thailand.




In Tokyo, on October 23, 2016, the Japanese Genji Umeno, beat for the title of champion of the Ratchadamnoen in 135 lbs, the puncher Yodlekpet Or Pitisak who held the belt (Yodlekpet had beaten by KO Genji Umeno in the stadium of Radja on 23 December 2015). The Japanese lost his title on May 17, 2017, in the stadium of Radja, he was beaten by the Thai Sakmongkol Sor Sommai.






The first westerner who tried to win a Radja belt was Frenchman Mickael Piscitello, in 2010 he faced Thailand's Aikchanachai Keawsamrit for the Radja belt in 154 lbs, he lost by points.

Then, the Brazilian Jose Mendonca fought against Khanongsuk Chuwattana in 2012 for the belt in 154 lbs but he lost in points. On July 4th, 2013, the Brazilian has succeeded of the exploit to gain the title of Radja in 147 lbs against Pechthongkhan Or Sanitphan, it's the first westerner has to gain a belt of Ratchadamnoen. A title which he defended triumphantly three times, in 2014 and in 2015, twice against Thai champions in particular against the champion of the Radja in 154 lbs Nawee Eagle Muay Thai, on June 28th, 2015 and once in Japan against Japanese Tanaka Hideya, on September 28th, 2014. The Brazilian fought in Thailand under the name of Jose Ingramgym, the name of his camp of adoption.




During the event Best Of Siam 8, May 27th, 2016, two French and one Belgian, failed for the title of Radja, French Aziz Hlali lost against Manaowan Sitsongpeenong for the title in 147 lbs, French Anthony Defretin lost against Phoneak Naiphonkonkhonkaen for the title in 140 lbs and the Belgian Youssef Boughanem lost against Komphetlek Lookprabat for the title in 160 lbs.

But the great champion Youssef Boughanem finally went down in history of Muay Thai by winning this supreme title on August 31st, 2016. The Belgian beat by KO Komphetlek Lookprabat so hanging on the second belts of a big stadium of Bangkok having taken away that of the stadium of Omnoi in 2015. Youssef Boughanem defended triumphantly his title on February 26th, 2018 in Radja where he beat by KO the Thai Noppakao Sairiruck.




On February 23rd, 2017, for the event Best Of Siam 10, in the stadium of Radja, the great French champion Fabio Pinca beat Manaowan Sitsongpeenong for the belt of Radja in 147 lbs, he became the first French of the history has to take away this unique title. The young boy Manaowan Sitsongpeenong had conquered the belt of Radja by beating French Aziz Hlali.








On August 15th, 2015, Youssef Boughanem made history of Muay Thai by becoming the first one foreign to the world to take away a belt of the stadium of Omnoi. He became a champion of Omnoi stadium in 160 lbs, by beating by KO the Thai Rungrawee PK Saenchai in the 3eme round with a magnificent poke. The Belgian champion kept his belt once, on September 26th, 2015 in the Omnoi stadium where he beat Chanajon PK Saenchai.




On March 26, 2016, at the stadium of Omnoi, the French Rafi Bohic fought for the Omnoi stadium belt in 147 lbs, he lost by referee judgment against Sibmean Sitchefboonthum.






No foreigner took away the famous official belt TV7 today, there has never been a title TV7 competed with a fighter foreign to the stadium TV7. Moreover, the foreign champions who fought in this stadium are very rare, only nine boxers foreign to the world had this honor with five French, David Hergault (3 times), Yohan Lidon (Twice), Fabio Pinca (1 time), Tarik Benhfik (1 time), Damien Alamos (1 time), Australian Soren Monkontong (5 times), Spanishs Joseph-Nicolas Garcia Nguere (Twice) and Juan Mario (Twice) and the Belgian Youssef Boughanem (1 time).

In 2011, in France, Turc Yetkin Ozkul had taken away the special belt TV7 Europe against rough Thai Seeoui Sor Sunantachai (TV7 Champion in 2009). It was the first time when a Thai promoter, Mr. Chun Kietpetch (Promoter N° 1 in Thailand and Co-Propriétaire of TV7 stadium), had agreed to involve, abroad, a belt which represented the famous TV7 stadium of Bangkok.






Japanese Kaito Wor Wanchai beat the Thai Thanadej Thor Pran49, on December 8th, 2015, in the stadium of Lumpinee for champion's belt of Thailand in 112 lbs. A belt that he defended triumphantly in Japan in 2016. Kaito is first and only foreign to have taken away champion's belt of Thailand.




On July 18th, 2017, in the stadium of Lumpinee, one second foreigner competed for champion's belt of Thailand, French Rafi Singpatong challenged the Thai Nontakit Tor Morsi but he lost by KO and Nontakit Tor Morsi became a champion of Thailand.




Lumpinee Stadium