Interview of COBAN LOOKCHAOMAESAITONG by Serge TREFEU (2010)
(Thanks to Sandra the woman of Coban thanks to whom this interview was able to be realized)
Serge TREFEU: Hello how are you, in shape?
COBAN LOOKCHAOMAESAITONG: Hello. I am fine. How are you? I am healthy and in good shape. I used to drink a lot, and got fat! But now, I stopped drinking 100% since December 2009, and I lost all the weight. I still train, and keep in shape
How old are you?
I am 44 years old
You come of what region of the Thailand?
I come from city called Buriram. It is the Northeast region of Thailand called Esan
You are married, have you children?
I have one son from my first marriage. He is now 17 years old
Have you brothers and sisters?
I have 2 brothers (one older, one younger) and 2 sisters (one older and one younger). I am somewhere in the middle
You were a brawler when you were a child?
No. I was polit. But when bullies came to bother me, I would fight back…
You began the boxing at which age?
I started fighting at the age of 11
It is true that you began to train at home by typing in a bag of rice suspended from a tree with bandages in the hand in thread of silkworm?
Yes, it is true. I was handy. I made lot of training equipment by hand with whatever I could find
Your first fight you made him for which age?
I was 11 years old on my first fight. I earned 30 THB. I don’t know how much it was in US dollars back then. But now, it would be $1
How did you discover the boxing?
My cousin was an amateur fighter, and he fought at a Buddhist Temple fair. There are a lot of these fights all over Thailand. I watched him fight, and I wanted to do it too
You began Muay Thai in which camp?
My first Muay Thai camp was Soh Samrung in Puttaisong, village where I was born. My Mother and sister are still there
How much you have make of fight for this camp?
I think I had about 15 fights for this camp. Or 20, I don’t remember exactly. I just fought
You stayed for a long time in this camp?
I stayed there for about 3 years
You have made several camps after that there?
Then I moved to Buriram (bigger city), and then I went to high school there. I stayed there for about 7 years. Then, I moved to Bangkok to train at Ghiet Ban Chong Camp and Muan Surin Camp
You can tell us your first ones to remember of trainings, how it is crossed with which champions you trained?
My first training, I was so tired, and I was out of shape. I was sore after first training. I knew very little. I was never a trainer in Thailand, and no champion trained me. In Thailand, fighters don’t train each other. Maybe now, it has changed, but back then fighters didn’t train each other
In what category you begun to boxing and in which category you finished your career?
I fought at 130-135 lbs (lightweight), and my last fight with Danny Steele in California, I weighed 140 lbs
At what age you have made your first fights in big stadium of Bangkok?
I was 15 when I first fought at Ratchadamnern Stadium
How much you won for this fight?
I used to make 1000 THB, not too much money…
In what stadium you preferred to fight?
I liked both, Lumpinee and Ratchadamnern. They had different promoters, so they had a lot of good fights. But I guess I liked Lumpinee more. Songchai was a good promoter, and had lot of good, big fights!
What are the titles which you gained in which year?
Lumpinee Belt in 1985 in Bangkok, Lumpinee Belt in 1990 in Bangkok, World Champion in Holland in 1990, World Champion in France in 1990, World Champion in Bangkok in 1991, World Champion in England in 1991, World Champion in Australia in 1991
How much have you make of fights during your career?
I don’t remember. I just remember fight a lot. More 270 fights…
You gained many fights by KO?
Yes, I did. I liked punching
You had which style of boxing?
I think my style maybe is aggressive, charge forward, and don’t hold back. I liked punching, kicking, but I didn’t like clinching too much because it made me tired and lose energy
What was your hardest fight?
My hardest fight was with Tantawan Noi. I fought him 4 times, and was defeated each time. He was tall, had good reach, good techniques and a good chin. I could never knock him out
Your best memory of boxing?
The best memory is knowing that I had the opportunity to become somebody and help my family…
And your worst memory?
Worst memory would be fake, set up fights. They happen. People getting paid to lose. Gamblers having influence on how fighters fight…
You have a particular anecdote to be told us who arrived at you during a fight or a training, some things of unusual?
In my last championship tournament at Lumpinee stadium, I was fighting Nomg Muon Chomputong. I trained really hard, but during the fight, I was unusually weak, tired and dizzy. My muscles were limp. I finished the fight, but lost to decision. Later, we found out that one of my trainers (from another gym) had given my some energy pills. But they were not. They were some sort of sleeping pill. He did this again to another fighter later. His manager exposed what this trainer was doing, and he got fired…
What are the known Thai boxers whom you faced?
I fought many, so I don’t remember. The fighters I faced were from an older generation, Noppadet, Samransak, Superlek, Orono, Tantawan, Nomg Muon, Ban Don…
You often fought abroad, you liked fighting abroad?
Yes, I liked fighting abroad. If you want to be World Champion, then you have to fight all over the world, not just in Thailand. Everything was a good experience
In France you were very known because you fought several times over there in the 90s, what are the boxers whom you met in France?
Dida (twice), Dekkers (twice)
You met several times Ramon Dekkers (2 wins, 2 losses) in the time it was the most redoubtable foreign boxer in your category, that think of you of your fights in front of him?
Dekkers fights well and fights with power
You met so several times Dida Diafat (2 wins) who was a great champion of the 90s, what memory you have of your fights against him?
My trainers and I didn’t want to knock him out or try to “kill” him. I was fighting at a different level than him, and in Thai culture, it is arrogant to try to knock or “kill” someone with less experience. We fight, but we respect each other, and try not to be arrogant
The best technician of the 90s was French Danny Bill (1 win), you remember your fight against Danny?
He knows how to move, to attack and protect. He has good rhythm and timing
Among the foreign champions as Ramon Dekkers (2 wins, 1 by KO and 1 by points, 2 Losses 1 by KO and 1 by points), Danny Bill (1 win by points), Dida Diafat (2 wins by points), Joao Vieira (1 win by points), Tommy Van Der Berg (1 win by KO), Guillaume Kerner (1 Lose by points), Hector Pena (1 win by KO), Christian Garros (1 draw), Oliver Harrison (1 win by points), Danny Steele (1 win by points), which one set you most difficulties?
You know current French boxers?
I’m sorry, I don’t
For you who is the best nakmuay foreigner in your time?
What was your promoter in the time?
Songchai Ratanasuban. He is a great promoter
The best nakmuay Thai at present it is who for you?
Now, I don’t know who is fighting in Thailand. I’ve been living in the U.S. since 1994. I will go to Thailand in February, and get better educated about the new fighters now
What technique you most liked making in fight?
Left cross, right hook, left kick combination was my favourite (I’m southpaw). With speed and power, combination is very effective
When you fought you made a good living?
Fighters don’t make too much money. I made enough to take care of my family
In 1994 you leave settling down in the United States, why you left over there?
Fighters in Thailand after they finish fighting have no jobs or future. Now, camps like Fairtex take good care of retired fighters and give them jobs as trainers. But in the 90’s, it was harder. So, I wanted to have a job other than fighting
How they are to cross your first experiences in the USA?
Life in America was lonely and hard in the beginning…
You fought a lot in the United States?
I had my first fight with Hector Pena in 1994, and my last fight with Danny Steele in 2000. I had many fights in between, but they were for “fun” or for “money” fights
Do you open a gym over there?
I don’t have my own gym here. I don’t want to open a gym in America. Business is too difficult here. I teach at Daddis Fight Camps in Philadelphia. Brad Daddis is the owner, and he is a great guy. I taught at many gyms in America, and found him to be the most honest and respectful of Thais and Muay Thai. I am happy just being a part of his Camp. For me, if it is possible in the future, I would like to open a small camp in Thailand to help the community, and give young boys (and maybe girls) a chance in life, and stay out of trouble
How are the Americans with Muay Thai, what is what they know well the Thai boxing, what is what they like this sport?
I think Americans like MMA. MMA is very popular in America. I don’t think there is real Muay Thai in America yet. Maybe in the future…
How you find the level of Muay Thai today in America?
I was in Thailand in the 80’s and middle of 90’s. So, I don’t know how it was in America. But I think in 90’s Americans and other foreigners just started learning about Muay Thai. Right now, I think MMA is more popular, and Americans don’t know true Muay Thai. They only know that it has punches, kicks, elbows and knees. But everything’s else like Wai Kru, history, techniques, they don’t know
You often come back at home to Thailand?
I go to Thailand every year for a month. I want to stay longer. Two months would be perfect
Where from comes to you your name of fighting “COBAN”?
My teacher in middle school gave me that nickname because I took care of buffaloes. My legal name is BANlu, and buffalo is “COwai” in thai language. So, she combined the two. It means “Cowboy”…
What are your projects futures?
I like teachning at Daddis Fight Camps. So, fo now, I stay here. But in the future, I want to open a small gym in Thailand, and retire there. I miss Thailand…
You want to add some things?
No, not right now. Thank you
Thank you very much for this interview and CHOOKDEE
You are welcome. I thank you for this opportunity. I appreciate it. Chookdee
Coban are one of the biggest punchers of the story of Muay Thai, it is a legend of boxing rings in Thailand. After beaten the biggest champions Thai as Noppadet Sorsamroeng, Samransak Muangsurin, Orono Por Muang Ubon, Ban Don Sitbang Ratjan, Superlek Chosawat, he left beating the best foreign champions in four corners of the world. He is the only one in the 90s to have beaten Ramon Dekkers by KO in the 1st round, the terror of the boxing rings of time. His power of striking was phenomenal with his steel chin it was also an incredible durable boxer. All the boxers who faced “The Crusher” remember necessarily their fights in front of this crusher of bone. Coban the Bull of boxing rings he deep a mark for ever in the story of Muay Thai!
Weight : 135 lbs
Height : 1m63
Number of fight : 270. 250 wins (90 KO!). 20 Losses
Title : 5 times World Champion. 2 times Lumpinee Champion
Team : Camp Lookchaomaesaitong
Website : www.teamcoban.com
COBAN VS DEKKERS