SATURDAY MAY 8, 1999
PROMOTER SONGCHAI RATANASUBAN (THAILAND) AND SAMY KEBCHI (FRANCE)
MORAD SARI VS SOMCHAI SOR NANTANA
140 LBS LUMPINEE BELT
STEPHANE NIKIEMA VS NEUNGTRAKARN POR MUANG UBON
LUMPINEE BELT IN 147 LBS
Associated with the promoter N° 1 of the time in Thailand, Mr. Songchai Ratanasuban, the famous Parisian promoter Samy Khebchi had succeeded in the incredible bet to organize in the stadium of Lumpinee, two championships with foreigners for the title of the mythical stadium of Lumpinee. A historic first in the world of Muay Thai!
Alone, the legendary Dutch champion Ramon Dekkers had the honor of competing for a belt of the famous stadium of Lumpinee. In 1990, Ramon Dekkers lost in points against Issara Sakreerin for the Lumpinee belt in 140 lbs.
The event of Saturday May 8, 1999 was broadcast live on Thai TV channel 5 and French channel Canal +.
The champions Stephane Nikiema and Morad Sari were the two contenders for the fabulous title which makes dream all the Muay Thai boxers of the planet.
Morad Sari met Somchai Sor Nantana for the vacant title in 140 lbs held by the champion Saimai Chor Suen until April 1999. Morad Sari (25 years old in 1999) had beaten in 1997 the formidable Saimai for a world champion’s belt (Morad Sari once beat Saimai and the Thai beat the French twice, including once by KO).
In 1998, the Argenteuil city left-hander had also hung on his record, by beating by KO, killers such as the great champions Thedkiet Sitepitak (Lumpinee Champion), Den Muangsurin (Lumpinee Champion) and Vihoknoï Chor Malithong (N ° 1 of Lumpinee). Vihoknoï also fought in the event of Saturday May 8, 1999, he lost by TKO against the Dutch puncher Rayan Simson.
Somchai Sor Nantana (22 years old in 1999) was classified N° 4 in the stadium of Lumpinee, he had just beaten the bull Orono Por Muang Ubon (Champion of Lumpinee). He was a formidable client for Morad Sari who moreover had to fight in a lighter category than the one he used to fight.
Morad Sari and Stephane Nikiema prepared at Jocky Gym in Bangkok, they did a spartan training to be at weights. Morad Sari arrived in Thailand at 71 kg, he had to come down to 63 kg 500. The preparation was very hard, it was a period when it was infernal heat in Bangkok. In April, the temperature in the capital reaches 40 degrees. The two champions kept going for a run, they were constantly training with the sweatsuit to sweat as much as possible…
For this fight, Stephane Nikiema had also made enormous sacrifices to be able to fight in the category of 147 lbs (67 Kg). In Thailand, he fought instead at 72 Kg. He ate boiled rice every day, for a month, in addition to a crazy workout at Jocky Gym. But on D-Day Stephane Nikiema was physically and mentally ready, it was the chance of a lifetime for this title match.
It was Morad Sari who opened the ball for the first Lumpinee title, in 140 lbs. The left-hander of Argenteuil dominated the fight thanks to his beautiful dodges, his magnificent projections and especially his sequences with the fists which hurt the Thai very badly.
The Siam fighter was a little overwhelmed and surprised to see a foreigner was control the techniques of Muay Thai so well. In the last round, the French hit the Thai hard several times with his left hook, on the verge of KO, Somchai was definitely knocked out following a terrible left-right series from Morad Sari.
For the first time in the history of Muay Thai, a Westerner had succeeded in winning a belt from a big stadium in Bangkok. The senior military officials of Lumpinee did not think that a farang could compete so easily with their champion and even less that he wins this symbolic match, their national pride had taken a serious blow and it was unfortunately Stephane Nikiema who was going in pay the price…
Lumpinee’s second championship for the vacant belt in 147 lbs came just after Morad Sari’s resounding victory.
Stephane Nikiema faced tough Neungtrakan Por Muang Ubon, whom he had beaten six months earlier, in Bangkok on December 5, 1998 on King’s Day. Stephane Nikiema had sanctified his career by winning an important belt of world champion against the number 1 of Lumpinee, the Thai Neungtrakan.
The Lumpinee title in 147 lbs was held in 1999 by Kengkrai Sor Vorapin, a champion that Stephane Nikiema had just beaten by KO in Marseille in 1998 (Stephane Nikiema and Kengkrai Sor Vorapin faced each other four times, a victory by KO of Stephane Nikiema, one points victory and one injury save for Kengkrai Sor Vorapin, and one draw).
Neungtrakan Por Muang Ubon was then classified N° 6 in the stadium of Lumpinee in 1999. But at the beginning of the year 1999, in the stadium of Lumpinee, he beat by KO Kengkrai Sor Vorapin. Following this knockout, the belt of Lumpinee in 147 lbs was withdrawn and it was Neungtrakan Por Muang Ubon who was able to contest the vacant title in May 1999.
The fight between Diesel Black and Neungtrakan Por Muang Ubon was very engaged. But it was the Frenchman who made the match by constantly treading on the Thai. In the third round, Neungtrakan was completely overwhelmed by the violent assaults of Stephane Nikiema. Neungtrakan Por Muang Ubon was practically KO standing. But when the victory seemed to be unable to escape the Frenchman, the match was stopped by the referee. To everyone’s surprise, the official referee intervened between the two boxers and stopped the fight.
The two fighters had to wait long minutes, each in their corners. The crowd believed that Neungtrakan was going to be counted or arrested after the hail of blow he had just received.
So, an unthinkable thing happened, the judges and the referee of the stadium of Lumpinee decided to stop this match definitively. There has been no winner, no loser. Later, the specialized newspapers indicated that the Thai judges had opted for this fight a “Lom Muay” (Paid to lie down). That is to say that the Thai boxer did not want to fight or would have been paid to lose…
In fact, Neungtrakan Por Muang Ubon was close to being knocked out and the Thai officials found this pitiful excuse to save face. They did not want to let out a second belt out of the country. As a result, it was Stephane Nikiema who paid the price for this misplaced pride. Stephane Nikiema was stunned by this decision, his disappointment was great because he also deserved to hang this prestigious belt on his waist!
BY SERGE TREFEU