« THE BULL OF ROI ET »
Samson by his real name Somboon Phantasi was born on 11 July 1972 in the village of Ban Bak in the district of Phakwen in the province of Jungharn in the region of Roi Et (North-East Region). Somboon comes from a very poor family, his parents were farmers, they raised cows in the small village of Ban Bak. Somboon’s parents founded a large family of nine children, seven boys and two girls, the young Somboon was the third child of the Phantasi family.
Sombon began boxing at the age of 13, at home, he trained in his home and began to fight under the name of « Ayjoy Sitsiansay ». Then he went to a camp near his home, the Pratane Jamtaret (Khru Am) camp and took the name of fighter « Saenmuangnoi Sit Khru Am ». Saenmuangnoi fought several victorious battles in the Isaan region (Northeast Region) for this camp.
Then he joined the Lukjaopomehsak Gym camp which was in the city of Roi Et, and « Saenmuangnoi Lukjaopomehsak » was his new name of fighter. The camp belonged to Khru Thongpon Kamsawat (Prisak Inthaphan) who gave a famous nickname to the young Saenmuangnoi, he named him « Samson Isaan » in reference to the Biblical Hero Samson with incredible force, the Samson (Pronounced in Thai Saimsone) of the Isaan region (Nickname of the Northeast region).
The Lukjaopomehsak Gym was the camp where Samson was really formed to become a star of the rings. In this provincial camp, Samson was preparing and training with another great champion who marked the history of Muay Thai, Yodkunpol Sittraïpum. Yodkunpol (Radja Champion in 118 lbs, Lumpinee Champion in 118 lbs) was one of the greatest fighters in elbow technique in the 90s. He was nicknamed “Kransok 100 Kem” (Elbow to 100 “needles” or “stitches”).
Samson perfected his superb fist techniques thanks to the great champion Apisit Petsanghan who was a coach at the Lukjaopomehsak Gym. Samson was a workaholic in training, he did 20 km of jogging every day and finished his training very late, around 7 pm. He ended his training with a series of hundreds of knee shots to the punching bag. In the ring, Samson was a real war machine, tireless, he threw his blows with power and speed.
The first promoter of Samson was the great promoter Songchai Ratanasuban who made him fight in the stadium of Samrong. Then, he fought in the famous stadium of Lumpinee in Bangkok for the promoter Wirat Wachiraratanawong (Petchyindee promotion).
His biggest Muay Thai purse was 270,000 baht for his fight against the legendary Langsuan Phanyuthapum.
Samson won two belts from the big stadiums in Bangkok, the Lumpinee belt in 118 lbs in 1991 and the Radja belt in 115 lbs in 1992. In 1991, he also won in Muay Thai a world champion belt in 115 lbs .
Samson also won a WBF world title in Boxing in 1994.
Samson was an extraordinary puncher who beat great champions by KO, he is one of the few to have defeated by KO the immense champion Veeraphol Sahaprom.
Samson defeated the best of his time such as Seanklay Sitkhruot (KO), Keawmorakot Praynan (KO), Jaroensak Kietnakhonechon (KO), Pepsi Piyakphan (KO), Veeraphol Sahaprom (KO), Kraïwannoi Sitkhruot (KO), Tweesaklek Ploysakda (KO), Daraek Sitrungsap, Nongnarong Looksamrong, Thongchai Thor Silachai, Dentaksin Sor Sawanphakdee, Rittidet Sor Ploenchit, Jomhodlek Rathanachot, Detduang Por Pongsawang, Jaewveha Looktapfah, Lakhin Wassantasit, Chatchainoi Chawraiaoy!
Samson has always fought big wars in the ring, his fights against puncher Lakhin Wassantasit in 1992 and powerful Detduang Por Pongsawang in 1993 were some of the toughest matches of the 90s.
Samson Isaan was elected “Best Boxer of the Year” in 1991 by the prestigious institution « The Sport Writers Association of Thailand »!
In 1989, at only 17 years old, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Samson beat the experienced Nongnarong Looksamrong, on Friday February 24. Nongnarong Looksamrong (Lumpinee champion in 108 lbs, Lumpinee champion in 115 lbs, WMC world champion in 115 lbs) won in 1992 his Lumpinee belt in 108 lbs against the young Samkor Kietmontep. Then, his belt of Lumpinee in 115 lbs against the terrible puncher Yokthai Sit Or. Nongnarong also beat the stars Kompayak Singmanee and Thongchai Thor Silachai. Samson beat Nongnarong three times.
On June 30, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Samson won against the young Grandprixlek Muangchayphum.
On September 10, in the stadium of Samrong, the two young rising stars, Samson (18 years old) and Rittidet Sor Ploenchit (18 years old) fought for a belt of world champion in 100 lbs. A championship which was organized by the sulphurous promoter Kleo Thanikul (Owner of the Sor Thanikul camp). After a very close match, the judges gave the victory to Rittidet. Samson and Rittidet have faced each other three times with two wins for Samson and one win for Rittidet. Rittidet nicknamed “Jom Itirit Jaak Samut Sakon” (The powerful supernatural of Samut Sakon) then made a great career in Muay Thai but not as beautiful as that of Samson…
In 1990, on March 2, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Samson beat Cheetha Kietmuangtrang. Three weeks later, on Friday March 23, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Samson met Khiomorakod Praianan for a dumpan of 400,000 baht (Bet between boxing camp). Samson won against Khiomorakod and his camp, Lukjaopomehsak Gym, pocketed the jackpot. Samson beat Khiomorakod three times.
On May 25, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Samson defeated Dentaksin Keatratthapol (Sor Suwanpakdee) by points. Dentaksin nicknamed “Mothee” (The Shaman) was a formidable technician who had won the belt of Radja in 105 lbs, this great champion of southern Thailand from Phatthalung unfortunately died, around twenty years ago. Samson and Dentaksin have met three times with three wins for Samson.
On June 22, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Samson beat Takrawlek Dejrath.
In August, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Samson, for the rematch, again beat Dentaksin Keatratthapol.
1991 was the best year in Saenmuangnoi Lukjaopomehsak’s Muay Thai career. Samson Isaan was undefeated. Out of his 11 fights, he won 9 including 4 by KO and made 2 draws. He won a belt from the stadium of Lumpinee, a world champion belt and was elected “Best boxer of the year”!
On Friday January 18, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Samson beat Kraiwannoi Sitkruod.
On February 8, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Samson beat Dentaksin Keatratthapol for a third time.
On March 19, Samson found Rittidet Sor Ploenchit, this time, they clashed in the stadium of Lumpinee and Samson beat Rittidet on points.
On April 9, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Samson (19 years old) and Pepsi Piyapan (19 years old) had a monstrous battle in the Lumpinee ring. The two fighters obtained a draw after their violent confrontation. Pepsi was a formidable Muay Khao, he was nicknamed “Khun Khao Tornado” (The Kneeling of the Tornado). He beat champions like Buakaw Por Pisitchet (Little brother of Phanomrung Por Pisitchet), Kongnapa B.M. Service, Changnoi Srimongkol, Dentaksin Keatratthapol, Robert Kaennorasing. Samson and Pepsi have met three times with two draws and a knockout win for Samson.
The revenge between Pepsi and Samson took place on May 3 in the stadium of Lumpinee and the two champions again made a draw.
But on May 24, in the stadium of Lumpinee, for their third confrontation, Samson beat Pepsi by KO in the fifth round with a lightning jab from the left!
On July 23, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Samson won again against Kraiwannoi Sitkruod, he beat him by KO in the fifth round.
On August 28, at the Radja stadium, a big clash occurred between the two young stars of the moment who were the same age, Samson Isaan and Tongchai Thor Silachai. Tongchai was a powerful fighter with hard blows, he had just beaten the great champions Kompayak Singmanee, Pairojnoi Sor Siamchai, Morakot Sor Thamrangsee and made three terrible matches against the durable boxer Toto Por Pongsawang (1 win, 2 losses). Tongchai was given favorites for this match against Samson Isaan. Roi Et’s bull had a dantesque fight and beat Tongchai on points. Tongchai later had such a fabulous career as Samson. He was Lumpinee champion in 105 lbs, 108 and 112 lbs, Radja champion in 115 lbs, WMC world champion in 115 lbs, and was voted “Best boxer of the year in 2001”. Tongchai is one of the few fighters to have knocked out the legendary Saenchai Sor Kingstar.
On September 20, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Samson beat the great champion Saenklai Sitkhruot. Samson and Saenklai have faced each other eleven times, this is the opponent with whom Samson fought the most. Samson has beaten Saenklai five times and he lost six times to Saenklai. Saenklai was a superb champion who twice won the Lumpinee belt in 118 lbs in 1991 and 1993. In 1991, on June 18, he beat Tweesaklek Ploysakda who had held the Lumpinee title in 118 lbs for a year. In 1993, Saenklai won the Lumpinee title in 118 lbs against Samson’s campmate Yodkhunpol Sittraïpum, who was the defending champion. Saenklai beat Yodkhunpol twice. He also won a WMC world champion’s belt in 122 lbs and beat the great champions Veerapol Sahaprom (2 times), Singdam Or Ugrit (KO), Berlek Pinsinchai, Silapathai Jocky Gym, Anantasak Phayuthapum, Daraek Sitrungsap, Jomhodlek Rattanachot. The super fimeuu Saenklai died in 2019 following a long illness…
On October 30, in the stadium of Radja, took place the pugilistic event in Muay Thai of the year, Veeraphol “Death Mask” Sahaprom against Samson “The Bull of Roi Et” Isaan with a belt of world champion in 115 lbs at stake.
The clash between the two biggest punchers of the moment kept all his promises. Veeraphol (23 years) was challenged by the young prodigy Samson Isaan (19 years). Veeraphol won the match on points in the first and second round with better techniques from Muay Thaï. But at the end of the second round, Samson, like a robot, advanced on Veeraphol and sent him a powerful series of six punches from the left that electrocuted Veeraphol for more of the account. Samson won his first major title, the world belt in 115 lbs. Samson is the only fighter to defeat Veeraphol in the second round. Veeraphol was one of the biggest punchers of the 90s. In Muay Thai, he has beaten big names in the discipline like Keawmorakot Praynan (KO), Noppadet Sor Rewadee (KO), Burlek Pinsinchai (KO), Dennuah Denmoree (KO), Duangsompong Por Pongsawan (KO), Langsuan Phanyutthaphum (KO), Silapathai Jocky Gym (KO), Colalek Sor Thanikul (KO), Chain Pinsinchai (KO), Samernoi Tor Boonlert (KO), Toto Por Pongsawang (KO) and won the Radja belt in 108 lbs, 112 lbs and 115 lbs. Veeraphol was also WBA World Boxing Champion in 118 lbs and WBC World Boxing Champion in 118 lbs!
Samson, that year, was unbeatable, the following month, on November 29, he beat by KO, in the second round, Saenklai Sitkhruot and took away his belt. Samson became Lumpinee champion in 118 lbs!
1992 was also a good year for the Roi Et fighter, he won 7 victories and conceded 4 defeats out of his 11 fights. Samson won a belt in the stadium of Radja and twice beat the star of the rings Lakhin Wassantasit.
On January 24, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Samson beat Chatchainoi Chawraiaoy.
On February 16, Samson made his first fight in professional Boxing, in the stadium of Samrong in Samut Prakan (30 km from Bangkok), he beat by KO, in the first round, the Filipino Young Elmer.
On Monday March 6, in the stadium of Lumpinee, the young Samson (19 years old) challenged the old backpacker from the rings, Langsuan Phanyuthapum (26 years old). Langsuan (Lumpinee Champion in 108 lbs, 112 lbs and 115 lbs, Best Boxer of the Year 1987) was nicknamed “Khun Khao Ray Namdjai” (The heartless knee kick). Langsuan was one of the most dangerous “Muay Khao” (Strong knees) of the 80s and 90s, he beat the great champions Hippy Singmanee (KO), Orono Por Muang Ubon, Dokmaipah Por Pongsawang, Rambo Pongsiri (KO), Jaroensap Kiatbanchong, Wangchanoi Sor Palangchai, Karuhat Sor Supawan, Rajasak Sor Vorapin, Weeraphon Sahaphrom, Tukattatong Por Pongsawang, Detduang Por Pongsawang, Matee Jedeepitak, Paruhatlek Sitchunthong, Dennuah Denmolee, Thailand Pinsinchaï. Samson and Langsuan had a wonderful fight and Langsuan won the match on points.
On March 31, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Samson (19 years old) was challenged by Jaroensak Kiatnakornchon (24 years old) who was nicknamed “Chalam Chonburi” (The Chonburi shark). Jaroensak was a great technician who posed a lot of trouble for Samson’s powerful boxing. Samson and Jaroensak faced each other three times, Jaroensak beat Samson twice on points and Samson took a KO victory. For this match, Samson defended his belt from Lumpinee in 118 lbs which he had conquered against Saenklai Sitkhruot. The two fighters had a great match and Jaroensak won on points, he became Lumpinee champion in 118 lbs. Jaroensak then won the Radja belt in 118 lbs in 1993. This great champion unfortunately died twenty years ago, he was stabbed to death in a brawl that went wrong…
On April 29, in the stadium of Radja, the young prodigy Samson Isaan challenged the puncher Lakhin Wassantasit. Lakhin (Radja Champion in 115 lbs in 1991, Winner of the Isuzu Tournament in 115 lbs in 1992, Omnoi Champion in 140 lbs in 2004, Winner of the Tam Jai tournament in 140 lbs in 2004, undefeated in Boxing) was a powerful fighter, a force of nature. He was nicknamed “Mat Phayayom” (The puncher from hell). Lakhin had just won the famous Isuzu tournament a month before by beating the legendary Burlek Pinsinchai in the final, he was in top form. The battle of “Muay Mat” (Strong in fist) was fierce between the two biggest punchers of the 90s. And it was Samson who won the match on points against the durable boxer Lakhin!
On June 2, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Samson lost against Jaroensak Kiatnakornchon for the second time…
On June 26, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Samson beat by KO in the second round Tweesaklek Ploysakda (24 years old). Tweesaklek won the Lumpinee belt in 118 lbs in 1990, July 24, against Kangwannoi Or Seebualoi. He had beaten great champions like Matee Jedipitak (KO), Thongsabut Piyapan (KO), Phanomrung Sunthornkiet (KO), Langsuan Phanyutaphum, Kwangthong Por Chaiwat.
During his match against Samson, an old injury to the left eye came back. Samson’s punches aggravated his injury to his eye. After this fight, Tweesaklek had four surgical interventions to treat his badly damaged eye which unfortunately could not be healed. His fight against Samson was the last of his career…
The revenge between the two bulls of the rings, Samson and Lakhin, took place on August 4 in the stadium of Lumpinee. The match was even more violent. At the end of the second round, Lakhin hit Samson with an uppercut that knocked him down. Samson was well groggy. He was counted by the referee. When the fight resumed, the bell rang the end of the round. Then, Lakhin and Samson have given themselves blow for blow, until the end of the match. Samson finished the match with his face covered in blood. Lakhin took the points victory in this fabulous match!
On 28 September, at the Radja stadium, the two champions met a third time. Lakhin was defending his Radja belt in 115 lbs for this third match. They had a terrible clash again. In the third round, Lakhin was badly opened to the left arcade following violent elbows sent by Samson. Lakhin tried to knock out Samson with his powerful punches. But until the end of the last round the Roi Et’s Bull resisted valiantly. Samson won by points the match and won the Radja belt of Lakhin!
October 30, Lumpinee Stadium, the third fight between Samson and Jaroensak Kiatnakornchon. Jaroensak had already beaten Samson twice and had taken his Lumpinee belt in 118 lbs. Samson was still ruminating his two defeats, his fists were eager to destroy Jaroensak’s face. Samson was the reigning Radja champion in 115 lbs and Jaroensak was the reigning Lumpinee champion in 118 lbs. In the third round, Samson smashed Jaroensak, a hail of punches fell on poor Jaroensak. The referee first counted 8 Jaroensak. Then he stopped the match. Jaroensak lost his Lumpinee belt two months later against the terrible Yodkunpol Sittraipum who was from the same camp as Samson.
On December 8, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Samson won against his eternal rival Seanklai Sitkhruot.
Of his 10 fights in 1993, Samson won 6 and lost 4 including one by KO. It was not his best pugilistic year. But Roi Et’s bull all the same beat the legendary Detduang.
On January 15, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Samson beat by KO, in the third round, Khiomorakod Praianan.
On February 19, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Samson met Daraek Sitrungsap, a difficult opponent to beat. Samson and Daraek have faced each other four times. Samson won once and he lost three times in points against Daraek. In this match, Samson scored 8 Daraek, in the second and third round, to finally defeat him on points.
Daraek, nicknamed «Payak Bua Yai» (The Tiger of Bua Yai), was a strong fighter, hard to harm. Daraek often fought engaged fights. He fought notably in 1994 for the Lumpinee title in 118 lbs against Saenklai Sitkhruot who kept his trophy, in a very close fight that ended in a draw.
On March 12, in the stadium of Lumpinee, for his tenth clash with Saenklai Sitkhruot, Samson lost on points.
On April 2, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Samson lost against Singdam Or Ugrit (N ° 1 Lumpinee in 126 lbs). Singdam was a powerful boxer with his left leg. He was nicknamed “World shocking left kicker”. Singdam beat the great champions Kaensak Sor Ploenchit, Veeraphol Sahaprom, Dokmaipah Por Pongsawang, Saenklai Sitkhruot, Yodkunpol Sittraipum.
On May 11, the rematch between Veeraphol Sahaprom and Samson Isaan took place, an electric match awaited for two years by aficionados. Samson had won the first confrontation by knockout. At the Lumpinee Stadium, Veeraphol and Samson again fought a terrible battle of wild punchers. In the second round, Veeraphol was hit hard by Samson’s fists. He fell, groggy, Veeraphol was counted 8. He came right back into the fight and knocked KO Samson with a dazzling series of fists. Samson was beaten by KO for the first time in his career. Veeraphol is one of the few boxers to have beaten by KO the bull of Roi Et…
Samson and Veeraphol found themselves in the ring 27 years after their last encounter. At the Ratchadamnoen stadium on Wednesday, December 27, 2017, the young promoter Bo Nattadet Wachiraratanawong (Son of the promoter Petchyindee) organized again this clash of Titans of boxing between these two ancient legends. The two veterans of the rings still had beautiful remains. Veeraphol (49 years old) and Samson Isaan (46 years old) once again thrilled Muay Thai fans. The fight was done in 142 lbs and Samson won the match on points!
On Tuesday, July 20, Samson lost again to Daraek Sitrungsap.
On September 3, at the Lumpinee stadium, Samsons defeated Jomhodlek Rattanachot (20). A promising young man who had just beaten the great champion Saenklai Sitkhruot in March. In August, Jomhodlek and Saenklai found themselves, Saenklai defended his Lumpinee title in 118 lbs against young Jomhodlek who lost to points in the second match.
On October 20, in the stadium of Radja, Samson (21 years old) won against Jarwveha Looktapfah (19 years old), a very good Muay Khao from the south, from the province of Songklha.
On November 12, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Samson beat Duansongpong Por Pongsawang.
On December 10, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Samson (21 years old) met the powerful Detduang Por Pongsawan (30 years old). Detduang was part of the famous trio of the three legendary camp brothers Por Pongsawan, Dokmaipha, Tukkattatong and Detduang. They were from the same region as Samson, the province of Roi Et. Dokmaipha won the Lumpinee title in several categories, Tukkattatong also won the Lumpinee belt and Detduang fought several times for the Lumpinee title but never won the Lumpinee or Radja stadium belt. But Detduang beat the champions Samransak Muangsurin, Payapnoi Sor Thanikul, Daoden Sor Sukkasem (KO), Oddnoi Lukprabat, Wifi Prapatmotor, Phodam Chuwattana, Saichon Phichitsuek, Kongklai Meuangchaiyaphum (KO), Sibtid Lookbaanyai, Sangwannoi Sor Rungroj, Kohpho Sit Chanyut (KO), Paiboon Fairtex, Kongfa Luktapfah, Jomhod Luksamrong.
Samson and Detduang had a mind-blowing fight in which the two champions fought, almost with no downtime, until the last ring of the bell was over. Detduang ended up with a bloody head, wickedly open at the forehead. Samson was also very distressed. But he won the match on points. Their match was ranked as one of the toughest fights of the 90s!
On January 25, 1994, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Samson and Saenklai Sitkhruot faced each other for the eleventh time. Samson lost on points.
On Friday February 18, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Samson beat Jomhodlek Rattanachot a second time.
Samson made his last fight in Muay Thai, on March 8, 1994 at the stadium of Lumpinee. He met again Daraek Sitrungsap. It was a bloody battle between the two fighters. Samson finished with the cheekbone and the open arcade. Daraek had a closed eye and his face well marked. Samson lost to the points this fourth confrontation against «Payak Bua Yai»…
Samson stopped his nakmuay career to devote himself to his career as a professional boxer Boxing. In Muay Thai, in the big stadiums of Bangkok, Samson made 55 fights for 35 wins and 2 draws.
In 1994, Samson fought under the name “Samson Dutch Boy Gym”, he beat the Filipinos Edwin Casano (KO), Dan Nietes and won the WBF World Championship title in 115 lbs by beating the Australian Colin ‘Kid ‘Nelson. Samson then successfully defended his WBF title 38 times until 2002. He defeated experienced boxers like the Filipino Rolando Pascua (70 fights, 45 wins), victory by KO, the Russian Alexander Makhmutov (51 fights, 42 wins), victory by stop of the referee, the Argentinian Hugo Rafael Soto (53 fights, 47 victories), victory by KO, the Filipino Rey Llagas (54 fights, 44 victories), victory by KO. Samson was undefeated in Boxing with 43 professional fights including 36 won by knockout. No body has succeeded in dethroning Roi Et’s bull!
After his career, thanks in particular to the large purses of his Boxing championships, Samson became rich. He bought luxury cars and set up a grocery store at Roi Et’s called it “Samson 28.” But the business was not favorable for the former great champion, he had to sell a lot of his goods.
For a few years now, Samson has become a freelance taxi driver in the city of Roi Et. Samson’s wife works as a police officer at the Roi Et police station. Together, they had four children.
Saenmuangnoi Lukjaopomehsak forever marked the history of boxing in Thailand. In the Isaan region, an ancestral land of Muay Thai warrior, everyone knows the glorious epic of Roi Et’s bull, Samson Isaan!
BY SERGE TREFEU