Coban whose real name is Banlu Anwiset, was born in Puttaisong, a village near the town of Buriram in the northeast region. Coming from a very poor family of five children, three boys and two girls, young Banlu was already a strong brawler as a child. Very poor, he began his training in Muay Thai at the age of 11, at home, by typing in a bag of rice suspended from a tree with bandages in his hand made of silkworm thread as protection. Then, he joined the Soh Samrung camp, a small camp in his village for which he fought about twenty fights. Coban made his first fight at 11, he won the modest sum of 30 Bahts (0.81 €).
Then, at age 13, he entered Lookchaomaesaitong camp, a camp in Buriram town where he stayed for 7 years. When the camp closed, Coban left for Bangkok to train at the famous Khiet Ban Chong Gym. He ended his career in the famous Bangkok camp, Muang Surin Gym.
At 15, he made his first fight in a big stadium of Bangkok, the stadium of Radja with a victory in points, he received a purse of only 1000 baht (27 €).
At 19, in 1985, he won his first title of Lumpinee champion (Lumpinee Belt in 130 lbs) with a purse of 100,000 baht (€ 2,720). In 1990, he won a second Lumpinee title (Lumpinee Belt in 135 lbs), the same year he won two World Champion titles (World Champion in 140 lbs), one in Holland and another in France. In the final defense of his Lumpinee belt against champion Nongmoon Chomputong, Coban was unwittingly drugged by one of his coaches who was in cahoots with punters. Coban, during the whole fight, was weak, tired and dizzy, he lost the match on points…
In 1991, he won three titles of World champion, the first in Bangkok in the stadium of Lumpinee, the second in England and finally the last in Australia. In 1992, he won again a world champion’s belt in Thailand against the Dutchman Ramon Dekkers.
His toughest fights were against champion Tantawan Noi. Coban faced him four times and he was beaten each time. Tantawan Noi was tall, he was a very technical boxer and a big durable boxer, Coban never managed to defeat him…
His fighter nickname, Coban, was given to him by one of his college professors. Because when he was a child the young Banlu took care of buffaloes. The buffalo in Thai is called “Cowai”, and his birth name is Banlu, so his teacher combined the two names to give the name Coban.
And he lived up to his name because he was a real “Buffalo” in the ring. His punching power was phenomenal. With his steel chin, he was also an incredible durable boxer. Any boxer who has faced “The Crusher” inevitably remembers their fights against this bone crusher.
Coban was one of the biggest punchers in Muay Thai history, he is a ring legend in Thailand. He won 90 victories by KO out of his 270 fights, he beat by KO champions like Sornarin Wennakornpatom, Falannoy Kietanan, Barndon Sitbangprachan (For the Lumpinee belt in 135 lbs), Jombeung Sakniran (Referee stop, for the champion belt world), Coban is one of the few to have twice beaten by KO the terrible Samransak Muangsurin, he also beat on points the champions Noppadet Sorsamroeng, Orono Por Muang Ubon, Ban Don Sitbang Ratjan, Superlek Sor Isaan!
Coban has also defeated by KO great foreign champions such as Tommy Van Der Berg (1st round KO), Hector Pena, Joe Villa, Sul Auc. He is the only one, in the 90s, who beat by KO in the 1st round the legendary Dutch champion Ramon Dekkers, the terror of the rings of the time (2 victories for Coban including one by KO, 2 victories for Ramon including one by KO). Coban also beat foreign stars like the French Dany Bill and Dida Diafat (twice), and the Dutch Joao Viera.
His number of fights is 270 with 250 victories including 90 won by KO and 20 defeats.
Coban is now based in the United States where he teaches in his gym in New York, the Coban Muay Thai Camp. He made his first fight in 1994 in the United States against Hector Pena (RIP). Nicknamed “The Aztec Warrior,” Kickboxing World Champion Hector Pena was at the top of his fame when he faced Coban. Hector Pena was arrogant before the fight saying he was going to knock out the Thai quickly. During the Thai’s Ram Muay, the American made fun of Coban. In the first round, Hector Pena boasted, in the second round, Coban, like a furious rhino rushed on the American and landed him a dazzling right hook that pulverized the American champion. Coban had his last fight in 2000 against the American champion Danny Steele (Victory on points).
Coban, the bull of the rings, has made his mark forever in the history of Muay Thai.
BY SERGE TREFEU