NONG O KAIYANGHADAO
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Nong O whose real name is Apichet Khotanon was born on November 10, 1986, he grew up in the village of Ban Muang in the province of Sakon Nakhon, a region of Thailand which is located near the border of Laos.
His parents were farmers, they owned a small piece of muddy land in which they grew rice. They did this grueling work, in full sun and bent all day long. The meagre income generated by the small farm was no longer enough to feed the whole family. So, Apichet’s parents had to go to Bangkok to work in building construction sites.
The Kotanan family was poor, the parents worked hard and did not have much time to take care of their child in Bangkok. Apichet and his two older sisters remained in the village of Ban Muang and it was his grandmother who practically raised him with his two sisters. From Bangkok, his parents sent money to Apichet’s grandmother. But she really couldn’t manage with the three dependent children, often they didn’t eat enough…
Young Apichet’s grandmother was the one who gave him the strength to fight and to practice boxing. Because Apichet wanted to earn money to give it to his grandmother. Boxing was the fastest way to get money. But his parents didn’t want him to fight. Apichet therefore trained in secret and fought several times before his parents learned of his boxing practice. His father finally encouraged him to continue in the sport.
For his first fight, at the age of 10 years, Apichet won the modest sum of 100 baht (€ 2.70), he gave his purse entirely to his grandmother. Then he offered her all the purses for his first ten fights!
Apichet began his boxing training with his uncle, a former boxer, who taught him the basics of Muay Thai. Then he trained seriously in a small camp near his home. Apichet fought extensively in the Isaan region for four years, fought almost every two weeks, and fought 150 times. He trained and fought so much that he no longer had the strength to follow his school classes properly, exhausted, he often had to sleep during classes to recover from his Spartan training…
Around the age of 14 years, Apichet joined the camp Kor Kietinan, a small camp near Omnoi Stadium in Samut Sakorn (30 km from Bangkok). He took the fighter name of “Nong O Kor Kietinan”. The Kor Kietinan camp was recognized as one of the best camps in Thailand for the training of child boxers, they trained, at the time of Nong O, the boxers Teeyou S, Sitrak, Angpao, Kaychon, Chanpuek, Ritijak, Petchtanong and Nong O.
At 18 years, Nong O with his campmate Petchtanong (Petchtanong Petchfergus then became WMC, WBC, WLF, and IPCC World Champion), joined the famous Sit Or camp in Bangkok.
The Sit Or camp was created by Mr. Somluck Bayen (Deceased in 2009). For almost thirty years, the Sit Or Gym was located in Pattaya. It was, along with the Sityodtong camp, one of the most famous in the region. The Sit Or Gym in Pattaya closed in 2008 and a new infrastructure was built close to the most famous stadium of the capital, Lumpinee (Old Lumpinee). The Sit Or Gym in Bangkok was really tiny. But the camp included many great champions such as Prakaiseang (Champion of Thailand, winner of Toyota tournament) and his brother Petchmangkong (Champion of Thailand, winner of Toyota and Isuzu tournament), Petchtanong (World champion) and Nong O. Nong O fought for the camp as “Nong O Sit Or” for five years.
Then, Nong O was bought by the famous Petchyindee Academy camp. A luxurious camp which was located in front of the entrance to the old stadium of Lumpinee, the camp, created in 2011, belonged to the young promoter Mr. Nuttadaj Vachirarattanawong (Son of the promoter of Lumpinee Mr. Virat Vichirarattanawong, Petchyindee Promotion). When the old stadium of Lumpinee was destroyed in 2014 to be rebuilt on Ramintra Avenue, the Petchyindee Academy camp moved to the Bangkoknoi district.
Nong O spent the rest of his career in this magnificent camp which included the biggest stars of the moment such as Kaewkungwan, Petchtae, Palongpong, Nutaphon, Sam-Dee, Phetmorakot, Sam-A and Nong O. Nong O took the name fighter from “Nong O Kaiyanghadao” to represent the Petchyindee Academy camp. “Kaiyanghadao” (The 5 Star Grilled Chicken) is a brand that is the sponsor of several major camps in Bangkok.
Nong O is a strong fighter, a great technician who is endowed with an incredible glance with an extremely powerful right leg.
Nong O was voted “Best Boxer of the Year” in 2005 by the prestigious institution “The Sport Writers Association of Thailand”!
And “Best boxer of the year” in 2010, an award received by “the Sports Authority of Thailand”!
This wonder boy of ring has won 12 belts and made 316 fights for 261 victories 48 defeats and 7 draws!
Nong O made his first fight in a big stadium of Bangkok at only 14 years old, in the stadium of Ratchadamnoen. Then at 17 years, he made his first fight in the stadium of Lumpinee.
His first belt, Nong O won it at 19 years, in 2005, the Thailand champion’s belt in 118 lbs which he won against Songkom Sor Yupinda. In 2005 Nong O had a great year, he was unbeaten with 9 fights won and a draw, he beat champions Fameechai F.A. Group, Kompayak Fairtex and Kangwanlek Petchyindee. Nong O received the “Best Boxer of the Year 2005” trophy!
The following year, April 25, 2006, Nong O won the Lumpinee stadium belt in 122 lbs against the formidable Denkiree Sor Sommai who was the N° 1 of Lumpinee (Denkiree won the Lumpinee belt in 122 lbs and the TV7 belt in 126 lbs in 2010).
In 2006, Nong O defeated stars Wuttidet Lukprabat by KO and on points Pokaew Fonjangchonburi. Wuttidet was a terrible boxer who won the Thailand belt in 122 lbs in 2007 and was voted “Best Boxer of the Year 2007”. Nong O and Wuttidet have met four times with two wins for Nong O, one loss for Nong O and they drew.
Pokaew was Radja champion in 122 lbs in 2004 and Lumpinee champion in 122 lbs against Nong O, on October 19, 2006, he took the Lumpinee belt from Nong O who had just won it against Denkiree. Nicknamed “Khun khao kim lock” (The knee of the steel clamp), Pokeaw was also champion of the stadium of Omnoi. Nong O defeated Pokeaw for the rematch and they clashed for a third time with the points victory for Pokeaw.
In 2006, Nong O faced for the first time the legendary Saenchai Sor Kingstar (Lumpinee Champion in 4 different categories, Best boxer of the year 1999 and 2008). On August 18, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Saenchai and Nong O had a great match, the King of the rings beat the technician Nong O on points. Saenchai and Nong O faced each other six times and Nong O never managed to beat the genius of the rings Saenchai, Nong O lost four times in points and twice by KO…
On December 7, 2007, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Nong O defeated the talented Sakkedao Phetpayathai for the Lumpinee belt in 126 lbs. Sakkedao was Lumpinee and Radja champion in 130 lbs in 2009 and Lumpinee champion in 135 lbs in 2011. Sakkedao beat the best of the moment like Saenchai (3 wins), Phetboonchu (3 wins), Singdam, Puja, Nong Bee, Anuwat, Jomtong and Nong O. Nong O and Sakkedao have met three times with two wins for Nong O and one victory for Sakkedao.
Four months before winning his Lumpinee belt, Nong O had beaten on points the immense champion Anuwat Kaewsamrit (Lumpinee champion, Radja champion, Omnoi champion, Best boxer of the year 2003 and 2004)!
On December 8, 2009, in the stadium of Lumpinee, in a big show organized by the promoter Petchyindee, Nong O (23 years old) met the young star Phetboonchu FA Group who was 19 years old and held the Lumpinee title in 130 lbs. The match was for the Lumpinee stadium belt in 130 lbs. Phetboonchu had already conquered seven belts (Thailand Champion in 105 lbs, 108 lbs, 118 lbs and 122 lbs, Lumpinee champion in 118 lbs, 126 lbs and 130 lbs). Nicknamed “Khun Khao Rim Kong” (The Killer Knees of the Kong River), Phetboonchu was the most dangerous “Muay Khao” (Strong in knees) of the 2010s. He won 14 belts (6 Thailand belts, 5 Lumpinee belts, 1 Radja belt, 1 WMC world champion belt, 1 Toyota Tournament belt).
Nong O had beaten in points Phetboonchu six months previously in the stadium of Lumpinee and Phetboonchu had defeated him in points, on April 9, for the belt of Lumpinee in 130 lbs. For their third confrontation, this time, Nong O knocked out Phetboonchu and won the Lumpinee title in 130 lbs!
Nong O and Phetboonchu have faced each other eight times, Nong O has beaten Phetboonchu five times including three times by KO, he lost twice on points and they drew.
Nong O retained his Lumpinee belt in 130 lbs on March 12, 2010, again against Phetboonchu whom he beat by KO in the second round, on July 13 against Singdam Kiatmuu 9 and on October 5 against Pakorn Sakyothin.
The star Singdam (Lumpinee champion in 130 lbs, in 135 lbs and in 140 lbs, champion of Thailand in 126 lbs, in 130 lbs and in 135 lbs) was elected “Best boxer of the year” in 2002, he made part of the great champions who marked the years 2000 and 2010. He is the champion with whom Nong O fought the most, the two stars of the rings have fought 12 big battles together. Nong O beat Singdam six times and Singdam defeated him five times, and they drew.
Nong O had his toughest fight against Singdam. On January 17, 2010, they met in Japan for a special six-round tournament (One extra round), the match was very violent. Nong O lost on points. After the fight, he was in pain all over, his legs were broken, he ended the night in the hospital…
Pakorn Sakyothin nicknamed “Golden Boy” is a great champion, a big durable boxer who has always made explosive matches, he won the Radja belt in 115 lbs, the Lumpinee belt in 135 lbs and the Thailand belt in 135 lbs. Nong O and Pakorn have faced each other five times, Nong O has won twice, Pakorn won once and they have drawn two matches.
In 2010, Nong O also beat the big names Pornsanae Sitmonchai and Sam-A Kayanghadao. A year after his clash with star Sam-A, Nong O joined Sam-A in his camp at Petchyindee Academy, they became training mates.
Nong O had an excellent year 2010, he received the trophy of “Best boxer of the year 2010”!
2011 was not a very good year for Nong O because he lost his Lumpinee belt in 130 lbs against Kongsak Sitboonmee (Best boxer of the year 2010) and lost in points against the great champions Sakeddao Phetpayathai, Jomthong Chuwatthana ( 2 times), F 16 Rachanon (2 times). Nong O still won the famous Toyota Tournament in 130 lbs in 2011!
On June 8, 2012, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Nong O found his eternal rival Phetboonchu for the vacant belt of champion of Thailand in 135 lbs. Nong O defeated “Khun Khao Rim Kong” and conquered the title of champion of Thailand in 135 lbs!
The same year, Nong O took his revenge on the solid F16 Rachanon (Lumpinee champion, Thailand champion) and again beat the star Singdam Kiatmuu 9.
On June 7, 2013, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Nong O won his third Lumpinee belt, he again beat Singdam, and won the Lumpinee belt in 135 lbs. Singdam held the Lumpinee title in 135 lbs which he won by beating Wanchalerm Udonmuang. Nong O and Singdam met a month later, on July 12, in the stadium of Lumpinee. Nong O defended his Lumpinee title in 135 lbs against Singdam who beat him on points. Singdam recovered his trophy…
In 2013, Nong O also took his revenge on Kongsak Sitboonmee who had removed his belt from Lumpinee in 130 lbs in 2011. He also beat the fierce Mongkolchai Kwaitonggym (Lumpinee champion, TV7 champion).
On December 3, 2013, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Nong O fought for the Lumpinee belt in 140 lbs which was vacant (Belt which was held by the French champion Damien Alamos). Nong O met the solid Chamuaktong Sor Yupinda (Lumpinee champion, Radja champion, Omnoi champion) and he lost on points against him. Nong O and Chamuaktong have met four times, Nong O has won once and Chamuaktong has beaten him three times.
On May 8, 2014, in Radja stadium, Nong O met Singdam Kiatmuu 9 for the twelfth time. The belt of the stadium of Radja in 135 lbs vacant was put into play between these two great champions. Nong O defeated Singdam and hung on his waist a new belt from a big stadium!
On October 31, 2014, in the Toyota Tournament final, Nong O beat Phetboonchu FA Group for the sixth time and won the famous Toyota tournament for the second time!
At 28, Nong O had a superb career, he won the belts of the two biggest stadiums in Bangkok and beat the stars of the years 2000 and 2010 such as Anuwat Kaewsamrit, Petchboonchu FA Group (6 times), Pakorn Sakyotin (2 times), Kompayak Fairtex, Wutidet Lookprabat (2 times), Denkiri Sor Sommai (2 times), Orono Wor Petchpun, Lerdsila Chumpaetour, Jomthong Chuwattana, Singdam Kiatmuu 9 (6 times), Kongsak Sitboonme, Sam A Kaiyanghadaogym, Pokaew Fonjangchonburin, Sakeddao Phetpayathai (2 times), Thongchai Sitsongpeenong, F-16 Rachanon, Pornsanae Sitmonchai, Mongkolchai Kwaitonggym, Petpanomrung Kiatmuu9, Sittisak Phetpayathai, Chamuaktong Sor Yupinda!
Nong O made his last fight in April 2015, at the Radja stadium, he lost to points against Chamuaktong Sor Yupinda. This great champion hung up his gloves after his fight against Chamuaktong.
Nong O became a coach at the renowned Evolve MMA sports centre in Singapore. For three years he did not fight. But he really missed the ring. So, when the most important organization of the moment, the ONE Championship, offered to sign him in 2018 to fight with them, Nong O did not hesitate to put on the gloves to face the best foreigners on the planet.
On April 20, 2018, in the Philippines, Nong O challenged the great French champion Fabio Pinca (Radja Champion, WBC world champion, Thai Fight tournament winner) who was also making his come back to the rings after six months without having fought. The match was in the 147 lbs category. For three years, without a fight, Nong O had gained weight and muscle. But his superb technique and his ring experience were as fantastic as ever, Nong O defeated Fabio Pinca on points!
Two months later, Nong O met another great French champion Mehdi Zatout (WBC and ISKA world champion, European champion) and beat him on points.
On February 16, 2019, in Bangkok, Nong O faced Chinese champion Han Zihao (China Champion) for the One Championship World Championship belt in 147 lbs. Nong O had a great match and won the supreme One Championship title. At 33 years, Nong O has become the world champion of the largest current Muay Thai organization!
Nong O successfully defended his One Championship title three times, he defeated the Japanese Hiroaki Suzuki (Shoot Boxing World Champion), the young French champion Brice Delval (S1 World Champion) and by KO Saemapetch Fairtex (TV7 tournament winner).
When he was the Lumpinee champion, Nong O received a large purses of 150,000 baht, which was already huge for a Thai Muay Thai champion. But by winning the world title in the One Championship, Nong O won millions of baht!
Apichet alias Nong O, this poor little peasant from Sakon Nakhon, thanks to boxing, has become very rich today. The story of Nong O is a true fairy tale, this legend of the rings really marked the years 2000 and 2010!
BY SERGE TREFEU