SAMART PAYAKAROON (Career 1970-1980)
Samart was born on December 5, 1962 in the village of Klong Khet in the province of Chachoengsao. His birth name is Samart Thipthamai.
He comes from a large family where three of his brothers were boxers. The tallest of the Thipthamai family brothers was named Manus nicknamed Pee Toui. As a professional boxer, it is he who will teach boxing to his little brothers Sompong, Kongtoranee and Samart.
The Thipthamai brothers trained at home and fought in their province under the name “Lookhlongkhet”. Samart Lookhlongkhet made his first fight in 1972 at the age of 10 at a provincial holyday near his home, he beats Petaroon Sitnimit on points and wins 40 baht.
Around the age of 12 he left for Chonburi province near Pattaya with his brother Sompong, later his brother Kongtoranee would join them. The Thipthamai brothers train at camp Payakaroon where Samart has done around ten fights for that camp.
Then, Samart joined the Sityodthong camp, a camp that belonged to Master Yodthong Senanant. Samart will make his entire career in the famous Sityodthong camp alongside his big brother Kongtoranee Payakaroon.
Kongtoranee nicknamed “Chad” will also become a huge champion afterwards by winning five titles of champions of Lumpinee in five different categories and the trophy of “Best boxer of the year” in 1984!
From 13 to 15 years old Samart will fight a lot in the provinces around Bangkok and in the region of Chonburi where he won a champion’s belt from the province of Chonburi.
He made his first fight in a big stadium in Bangkok in 1978 in the 100 lbs category, he was just 15 years old. The young prodigy continues the victories in Bangkok and quickly becomes a small star!
From 1980 to 1983 Samart is at the top of his art, he faces the best in his category in 102 lbs, 108 lbs, 115 lbs and 126 lbs, and empties himself in each of these categories.
In 1980, on February 29, he beats Kongsamut Sor Tanikul and wins his first Lumpinee belt in 102 lbs at only 17 years old, he then beats Chavalit Sod Jitlada, Paruehuslek Sitchunthong, Bangkhlanoi Sor Thanikul, Prabpipop Lukklongtan. But on August 8, he lost his Lumpinee belt against Chamophet Ha Phalang. He takes his revenge by beating Chamophet on points. On November 11, he faces Pounlak Sakniran for the Lumpinee belt in 108 lbs, Samart beats Pounlak on points and wins his second Lumpinee belt!
The year 1981 is even better for the King of the Rings.
On January 13, in the stadium of Lumpinee, he beats Pounlak Sakniran again. On March 31 in the stadium of Lumpinee, he meets Singthong Prasopchai for the belt of Lumpinee in 115 lbs, Samart becomes champion of Lumpinee in 115 lbs.
In the stadium of Lumpinee, on April 28, he beats Fonluang Luksadetmaepuanthong. On June 9, he confronts and defeats Mafeuang Weerapon, the fight is terrible and will be elected “Fight of the year in 1981”!
On September 4, in Lumpinee, he beats Paruhat Longnoen. And, on October 13, in Lumpinee, he faced Samingnoom Sitibountham for the Lumpinee belt, Samart won his fourth Lumpinee belt in the 126 lbs category!
Samart ends the year by beating Kitty Sor Thanikul in the stadium of Radja, on November 9.
1982 is also a great year because Samart will only lose in points against the legendary Dieselnoi. But in this titanic match, Dieselnoi (22 years old) was 13 cm taller than Samart (19 years old).
At the beginning of the year 82, on January 15, in Lumpinee, he beats the undefeated Nongkai Sor Prapason (Best fighter of the year 1980), Samart is the first to inflict a defeat on the terrible Nongkai.
Then, he beats the formidable Padetsuk Pitnurachan (Best fighter of the year 1979), on March 12, in Lumpinee.
In the stadium of Radja, on May 10, he found Padetsuk Pitnurachan whom he beats again on points.
On August 24, in Lumpinee, Samart made his first professional fight in Boxing, he beats Netmoi Sor Vorasingh.
Finally, on December 24, in Lumpinee, he lost on points against Dieselnoi Chor Thanasukarn (Lumpinee Champion in 135 lbs, Best fighter of the year 1982). The fight between Samart and Dieselnoi was elected “Best fight of the year” in 1982 with the biggest purses of the 80’s, 350,000 baht for Samart and 400,000 baht for Dieselnoi!
In 1983, Samart continued to beat all the best fighters around.
In Lumpinee, on February 4, he still beats Samingnoom Sitibountham and on April 15, the bull Samransak Muangsurin!
In the stadium of Radja, on August 24, he still beats Kitty Sor Thanikul and on October 13, Rabout Sor Thanikul.
On November 11, in Lumpinee, he again beat the great champion Chamophet Ha Phalang (Best fighter of the year 1985) in points.
Samart ends the year with a shock awaited by all Muay Thai aficionados. On December 28, in the stadium of Radja, he faces the champion of Radja Samart Prasarmit who has just beaten the legendary American champion Don “Dragon” Wilson, Samart Payakaroon beats Samart Prasarmit on points.
Samart has become the terror of the boxing rings in Muay Thai, no one dares to face him any more, so he turns to a career in Boxing…
In 1984, he will fight in Muay Thai in Paris against his compatriot Sorana Kietisak Krongka (Wattana Soudareth who is installed in France), it is the first fight of Samart abroad who will beat Soudareth by stop of the referee in the fourth round.
Samart come back to Paris in 1986 to fight in Boxing against the Mexican Rafael Gandarilla whom he beat on points.
From 1984 to 1987, Samart would hardly fight when Boxing.
On January 18, 1986, in Bangkok, he won the title of WBC World Champion against the Mexican Lupe Pintor by beating him by KO in the 5th round!
Samart victoriously defends his belt against Mexican Juan Meza whom he defeated by TKO in the 12th round on December 10 in Bangkok. But on May 8, 1987, in Australia, in Sydney, he lost his trophy against the Australian Jeff Fenech who beat him by KO in the fourth round…
Samart had a remarkable professional career in Boxing with 21 wins (12 KO) and two losses. He ended his career in the Noble Art on September 11, 1994 by meeting the Venezuelan Eloy Rojas for the title of WBA World Champion, Rojas will beat Samart by technical KO in the eighth round…
In 1988, Samart come back to the rings of Muay Thai stadiums.
On May 26, in Lumpinee, he found the formidable Samransak Muangsurin, whom he again beat on points. This year, Samart will also beat the solid Nampon Nongkee Pahuyut, first by injury save after a terrible poke fight and then by points in the rematch. The Lord of the rings will also KO in the 1st round two great champions, Jaroentong Kiatbanchong and Panomthuanlek Ha Phalang (Best fighter of the year 1986). The match between Samart and Panomthuanlek was voted “Best Fight of the Year” in 1988!
On April 1, 1989, in Pattaya, he met the legendary Put Lorlek (Best fighter of the year 1974) who at 37 made a comeback for a charity exhibition match…
On May 10, 1989, in Lumpinee, the emperor of the rings made his farewell fight in Muay Thai, he faced the slugger Wangchanoi Sor Palangchai (Best fighter of the year 1993), Samart was going to lose in points.
But King Samart was missing the ring, and in 1993 he returned to fight in Muay Thai. On October 2, in Paris, he met the German Murat Comert. Samart will destroy Comert who will give up the fight in the third round.
On December 5, for the King’s Birthday in Bangkok, he defeated the talented Dutch champions Gilbert Ballentine and won a World Champion belt in 140 lbs.
Only 4 days after his fight on December 5 in Bangkok, Samart flies to France and on December 10 he will beat the Englishman Paul Lenehan by KO in the third round!
Samart would also later beat the solid Dutchman Michael Lewfat and the Japanese Nizuma Shirato.
Samart is the only fighter who has been awarded the “Best Boxer of the Year” trophy three times (With Phanpayak Jitmuangnon, 2013, 2014, 2015). Trophy awarded by the famous institution “The Sport Writers Association of Thailand”. He received this prestigious trophy in 1981, 1983 and 1988. And, he was voted best boxer of the year in 1986 by the famous international magazine “The Ring”!
Samart Payakaroon is a true legend in Thailand and for many specialists he is considered the greatest nakmuay of all time!
His eye, his adaptability to all fighters and his knowledge of the ring were phenomenal. His pokes techniques were so perfect that some are now called “Samart Technique”!
He is a big star in Thailand because everything he has undertaken has always been successful, whether it be Muay Thai, boxing, singing or film. His name was predestined for him because “Samart” means “The capacity” in plain language those who are able to undertake and succeed!
His fighter name Payakaroon means “The Tiger of Dawn” and his nickname was “Payakmat” which literally means “The Tiger”. In the ring his ferocity was legendary especially at the start of his career.
Samart has faced several times great champions such as Chamuakpet Ha Phalang (2 wins, 1 loss), Samransak Muangsurin (4 wins), Nampon Nongkee Pahuyut (2 wins), Chavalit Sod Jitlada (6 wins), Paruehuslek Sitchunthong (2 wins, 1 loss, 1 draw), Bangkhlanoi Sor Thanikul (2 wins, 2 losses), Kitty Sor Thanikul (4 wins), Samingnoum Sitibountham (4 wins), Padetsuk Pitnurachan (4 wins) and Pounlak Sakniran (2 wins)!
In Muay Thai, the “Tiger” has never been knocked out, he only lost in points against big names like Diesel Noi Chor Thanasukarn, Chamuakpet Ha Phalang, Wangchanoi Sor Palangchai, Paruehuslek Sitchunthong and Bangkhlanoi Sor Thanikul!
This immense champion was also nicknamed “Baby Face Tiger”. Because despite his memorable fights against the best of his time, Samart has always remained “Pretty boy”.
Samart was in great demand in the show biz scene in Bangkok. Baby Face Tiger has posed in several magazines as a Top Model.
Master Samart was also a popular actor because he has appeared in about twenty films where there has often been the leading role. As well as in many television series.
Samart also tried his hand at singing with success by releasing several albums which are now famous in Thailand.
Finally, in 2010, he opened his own camp, the “Poptheeratham Gym”. Poptheeratham is his new teacher’s name which is a tribute to his former trainer “Khru Yodthong”. He changed his last name from Thipthamai to Poptheeratham in 2008. Now it is Samart Poptheeratham the “Master” who teaches his exceptional knowledge!
BY SERGE TREFEU