Kaoklai was born on September 13, 1983 in Khon Kaen, a large city in the Northeast region. His real birth name is Arthit Tantan.
Khon Kaen region has produced boxing legends such as Pud Pad Noi Worawoot, Krongsak Boranrat, Somsong Noi, Somrak Kamsing, Karuhat Sor Supawan, Cherry Sor Wanich!
Young Arthit’s father was a soldier. When he was a child, Arthit was not at all a brawler, he was often pushed around by his school friends.
So Arthit begged his father to put him in a boxing camp so he could defend himself against his bullies. He started boxing in the Muay Thai camp of his father’s barracks. He was 8 years old.
Arthit’s father then took his son to the Kaennorasing Gym camp in a small village near Khon Kaen. The Kaennorasing camp belonged to Master Kaendjaï Norrasingh. Arthit took the name of “Kaoklai Kaennorasing” fighter.
Kaendjaï Norrasingh is a former champion of Muay Thai, a figure in the world of Thai boxing. He trained many young hopefuls in his small camp like his own son Wanwisep who was Radja champion in 126 lbs in 1994. The Kaennorasing Gym included boxers such as Wanpichit, Wanarong, Suthipong, Yotchai, Ningmongkon, Rolex, Robert and Wanwisep. Wanwisep then became one of the best coaches in Bangkok’s major camps. Wanwisep took care of continuing the training of young champions in the famous Jocky Gym camp in Bangkok.
At 11 years old, Kaoklai joined the Jocky Gym camp in Bangkok, the camp belonged to Mr. Somat Hong Sakoun, one of the greatest technicians of Muay Thai of the 1960s in Thailand.
The Jocky Gym camp is located in the district of Bang Pho, at the bottom of Soi Sii Namgneun (Today, become the Skarbowsky Gym whose owner is the former great champion Jean-Charles Skarbowsky).
The Jocky Gym (Created in 1974) by Master Somat Hong Sakoun was a true champion factory, a school which produced ring legends such as Jocky Sitkanpaï (Radja Champion), Somrak Kamsing (Olympic Boxing Champion, N° 1 of Lumpinee and Radja), Saenchaï Sor Kingstar (Lumpinee Champion, Best boxer of the year 1999 and 2008), Lerdsila Chumpairtour (Radja Champion), Wanpichit Kaennorasing (Radja Champion), Silapathai Jockygym (Radja Champion), Rolex Kaennorasing (Radja Champion), Wanvisep Kaennorasing (Radja Champion), Noree Jockygym (Radja Champion), Chaowarit Jockygym (Radja Champion), Sonkom Jockygym (Radja Champion), Patong Jockygym (Radja Champion), Robert Kaennorasing (Radja Champion) and Kaoklaï Kaennorasing (Radja Champion)!
Kaoklai made his entire career in the colors of Jocky Gym, he made 133 fights for 88 wins and 5 draws.
Kaoklai was introduced to one of the best schools of Muay Thai Fimeuu in Bangkok. The Jocky Gym has had many great technical style champions. Every decade has its share of cult champions. Jocky Sitkanpai, for the 70s, Somrak Sor Kamsing, for the 80s, Silapathai Jockygym, for the 90s, Saenchai Sor Kingstar, for the 2000s, Lerdsila Chumpertour, for the 2010s.
Kaoklai was a fighter with fluid and airy techniques, a style that later served him well to compete against opponents twice as heavy as him!
His first important fights were in the stadium of Radja, around the age of 17 years. He fought a lot in the stadium of Radja where he faced champions such as Noppadet 2 Chuwatana (Radja Champion, lose), Lamsongkram Chuwatthana (Radja Champion, 2 wins, 1 lose), Big Ben Chor Praram 6 (Radja Champion, lose), Saketdao KT Gym (Radja Champion, 2 losses), Chanpuek Chor Sriprasert (Thailand Champion, lose), Charnvit Kiat Tor Bor Ubon (1 win, 1 lose), Yokaow Bor Chor Ror (Lose), Taweesap Sit Saeng Arun (1 win by KO).
At 18 years, in March 2001, thanks to the promoter Choocharoen Raveeramwong (Owner of the Chuwatthana camp), Kaoklai fought for the first time in Japan. He faced the local champion, Kozo Takeda. Kozo Takeda had just won the Radja stadium belt by beating the Thai Chalarmdam Sittrattrakarn by KO.
Kaoklai lost the match on points.
Six months later, in the stadium of Radja, Kaoklai met Charnvit Kiat Tor Bor Ubon for the title of Radja in 147 lbs. Kaoklai won this hard fight and won his first Radja champion belt at the age of 19 years!
Kaoklai defended his title two months later against the same opponent who beat him on points.
In October 2002, in Bangkok, he lost against the Japanese puncher of the K1-Max circuit, Toshio Matsumoto.
But the Thai officials protested and the decision was changed, the match was finally declared as a No-Contest (Neither winner nor defeated).
On December 13, 2002, in the stadium of Radja, Kaoklai fought again for a title of the stadium of Radja, he challenged the solid Chalermsak Chuwatthana. Chalermsak and Kaoklai have faced each other 9 times with 4 wins for Kaoklai and 5 wins for Chalermsak.
Kaoklai defeated Chalermsak and won the Radja stadium belt in the 154 lbs category!
On 30 March 2003, at the Radja stadium, Kaoklai made a big performance by defeating by KO the formidable champion Lamsongkram Chuwatthana.
A month later, at Radja Stadium, Kaoklai lost his Radja title in 154 lbs to Sakedao KT Gym.
Kaoklai fought again in Japan, for the rematch he lost by KO against Japanese Toshio Matsumoto.
2004 was a better year for the Jocky Gym fighter.
On 17 July 2004, in Seoul, Korea, Kaoklai entered the very closed circuit of the famous K1-World Grand Prix in the heavyweight category. Kaoklai weighed 75 kg…
On July 17, 2004, the Thai faced Canadian Denis Kang (84 kg) and beat him by KO in the first round. He then beat Japan’s Tsuyoshi Nakasako (100 kg) in the semi-final and Japan’s Shingo Koyasu (91 kg) in the final. Kaoklai won the K1 World Grand Prix Asia in Seoul!
After this great performance, the famous Japanese K-1 promoter Mr. Kazuyoshi Ishii selected Kaoklai to participate in the prestigious Tokyo tournament, the “K-1 World Grand Prix Final”.
The K-1 World Grand Prix Final was one of the world’s largest annual heavyweight tournaments (+100 kg) organized by the world’s largest Japanese kick-boxing organization, the K-1. It was reserved for the 16 best heavyweight fighters of the year, who were selected at various tournaments around the world, including the finalists.
During the playoff phases of the K-1 World Grand Prix Final, Kaoklai met Belarusian star Alexey Ignashov (117 kg) and South African puncher Mike Bernado (110 kg). Kaoklai defeated Alexey Ignashov and drew against Mike Bernado. The Thai managed to qualify for the final tournament in December 2004!
On December 2, 2004, at the mythical “Tokyo Dome” stadium, in front of 65,000 people, Kaoklai Kaennorasing entered the legend of K-1 by defeating by KO in the first round the American champion Siala-Mou “Mighty Mo” Siligia.
Mighty Mo was an American of Samoan origin, one of the biggest punchers on the K-1 circuit, he weighed nearly 130 kilos and had a devastating punching power. He defeated by KO solid champions such as Gary Goodridge, Francois Botha, Hongman Choi, Brecht Wallis.
Kaoklai, with his 78 kilos, was given a 90% loss against Mighty Mo. But the Jocky Gym member executed the American puncher with a memorable jump kick that hit his opponent’s temple!
Since this pugilistic feat, Kaoklai is nicknamed “Nak Kha Yak” (The Giant Killer). Later he was also nicknamed “Jak Phou Kha Yak” (Jack the Giant Hunter) in reference to the famous fantasy movie.
Kaoklai unfortunately lost the next match in the K-1 World Grand Prix Final semi-final. He lost points to Japanese star Akio Mori nicknamed “Musashi” (103 Kg).
In 2005, Kaoklai again made it to the final of the K-1 World Grand Prix Asia tournament in Seoul, he beat the Chinese Zhang Qing (95 Kg) and the Japanese Hiraku Hori (103 Kg).
In the final, Kaoklai faced the gigantic Korean Hongman Choi. It was a match worthy of David’s biblical fight against Goliath. Kaoklai weighed 78 kg and was 1.80 m tall, Hongman weighed 160 kg and was 2.18 m tall. The Korean had 82 kg and 38 cm more than his Thai opponent. Kaoklai lost the battle at points honourably, he managed the feat of touching the face of the Korean giant several times with techniques of fists and feet!
The phenomenal Nak Kha Yak once again fought hard in the heavyweight category, he met Tsuyoshi Nakasako (100 Kg, 1 win on points, 1 loss on points), Ray Sefo (120 Kg, loss on points), Hiromi Amada (100 Kg, draw), Tyrone Spong (93 Kg, defeat by KO), Azem Maksutaj (94 Kg, victory by points), Magomed Magomedov (94 Kg, defeat by KO), Yong Soo Park (105 kg, victory by points), Nathan Corbett (94 Kg, defeat by KO), François Botha (118 Kg, defeat by points).
On 9 February 2006, Kaoklai was reunited with champion Lamsongkram Chuwattana. Lamsongkram was then holder of the belt of the Radja stadium in 160 lbs and the belt of the WBC world champion in 160 lbs. He had also just won the renowned Kings Cup tournament by beating the terrible Wanlop Sitpholek.
The match between Kaoklai and Lamsongkram counted for the Radja and WBC titles in 160 lbs. After a titanic fight, Lamsongkram was declared the points winner.
On 20 June 2008, in Jamaica, Kaoklai fought for the IKKC World Champion title in 182 lbs. His opponent was Canadian superstar Clifton Brown (IKKC, WMC, IMF World Champion) who was reigning IKKC and WMC World Champion.
Kaoklai beat the Canadian champion and hung the IKKC World Belt on his waist!
The two fighters found themselves back in Jamaica one year later for the 182 lbs WMC World Title. Clifton Brown won the points and retained his WMC title for the match.
On March 14, 2010, in the United States, Kaoklai achieved a great performance by defeating the Japanese Magnum Sakai for the 175 lbs WBC World Champion belt!
The Thai lost his WBC title, a year later, in Russia, against the star of the moment Artem Levin (WBC World Champion, WKN, It’s Show Time, Glory).
In 2010 and 2011, Kaoklai again beat several great champions like the French Aurelien Duarte (KO), Manu N’toh, the German Marco Aschenbrenner (KO), the American Cyrus Washington (KO), the Italian Roberto Cocco.
On March 16, 2012, in Los Angeles, Kaoklai made his last world championship against the Canadian Simon Marcus (World Champion WPMF, WBC, WCK, Glory). He lost on points for the WPMF world title in 175 lbs.
Kaoklai Kaennorasing has forever marked the history of the Thai champions who faced opponents much heavier than them.
Khon Kaen’s warrior now has his character in the famous Sony Playstation video game “K1 The Arena Fighters” alongside the biggest stars of the prodigious K-1 Heavyweight tournament!
After his career, Kaoklai opened his own boxing camp in his homeland in Khon Kaen.
The Kaoklai Academy Gym has now become a renowned camp in the northeast region, it has produced some beautiful champions, the best known is Yodpayak Kaoklaigym (Lumpinee Champion, Omnoi Champion)!
BY SERGE TREFEU