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TONGCHAI TOR SILACHAI

TONGCHAI TOR SILACHAI

THE BIG ROCK

Tongchai Tor Silachai of his real name Tongchai Paktai was born on 16 April 1972 in the City of Jakaraj, a city which is located in the province of Nakhon Ratchassima (Korat). Tongchai is the seventh child in a family of eight children. His two older brothers were professional boxers, they were called Prasethosakdi Tor Silachai and Kasemnoi Tor Silachai.

Young Tongchai wanted to be a fighter like his older brothers. He began his training at Muay Thai at the age of 10 in the Tor Silachai camp.

The Tor Silachai Gym is located in the village of Pru Yai which is 12 km from the big city of Korat (Nakhon Ratchassima). This famous camp has existed for 40 years. It belongs to Lieutenant Colonel Weera Thao Nao. In 2021, Mr. Weera Thao Nao is 72 years old and still runs his famous camp.

He created this camp in the 80s after having a successful boxing career. His fighter’s name was Medprik Silachai. In 1970, he won the Lumpinee stadium belt in 118 lbs.

Tor Silachai Gym has produced many champions such as Tai Tor Silachai, Rungchaylek Tor Silachai, Praweet Tor Silachai, Danchai Tor Silachai, Fameechai Tor Silachai, Saenthanong Tor Silachai, Kriengkrai Tor Silachai. The best known were Kaoponglek Luksuratham and Tongchai Tor Silachai.

Kaoponglek (Lumpinee Champion in 130 lbs, Best Boxer of the Year 1995), nicknamed Black Mamba, fought much of his career for the Tor Silachai camp.
Tongchai Tor Silachai was not a big puncher but he had devastating power in his punches, both in punching technique and in kicking technique, he has won many KO victories in his 334 fights.

Tongchai was nicknamed Maha Hin (The Big Rock) and “The Crowd’s Favorite”.

Tongchai is one of the champions who has had the longest professional boxing career with 26 years of fighting in the ring. He made his first fight at the age of 15 in a big stadium in Bangkok. On October 13, 1987, in the stadium of Lumpinee, he beats Noenthong Singkhiri on points in the 100 lbs category. And he had his last fight at 39. On January 18, 2012, in the stadium of Lumpinee, he lost in points against Petchrachan Krua Phairoh in the category of 120 lbs.

In 1998, he was voted “Best Boxer of the Year” by The Sports Authority of Thailand.
In 2001, he received two “Best Boxer of the Year” trophies from Thailand’s two most prestigious institutions, again The Sports Authority of Thailand and The Sports Writers Association of Thailand!

Tongchai was fighting for the greatest promoter of the time, Mr. Songchai Ratanasuban. His best purse during his career was 180,000 baht.

Tongchai won four stadium titles in Lumpinee, Lumpinee champion in 105 lbs in 1990, Lumpinee champion in 108 lbs in 1991, Lumpinee champion in 112 lbs in 1991, Lumpinee champion in 115 lbs in 1997, a champion title du Ratchadamnoen, Radja champion in 115 lbs in 2001, a title of world champion, WMC world champion in 115 lbs in 2001 and he won in 2007 the famous “Mitsubishi Tournament” at one million baht!

In 1990, Tongchai defeated, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Meethanoi Maliwan (2 times), Nungubon Sitlerchai (2 times), Kwanla Bangprachan, Rungrat Srisunchai, Chandet Sor Prantalay, Chainoi Sitchunthong (2 times), Takrawlek Dejrat, Khanuphet Jonnygym, Hans Singkhonpan and in the stadium of Radja Sinchainoi Saksamut and Sornsueknoi Sakwichian. He only lost two fights in the stadium of Lumpinee against Chainoi Sitchunthong and Meethanoi Maliwan.

On Tuesday, August 21, 1990, at the Lumpinee stadium, Tongchai met the great champion Nungubon Sitlerchai for the Lumpinee title in 105 lbs. Nungubon, nicknamed «Tuan Pey» (The Lame), is one of the few fighters to have beaten by KO the legendary Wangchainoi Sor Palangchai, Samkor Kiatmontep and Langsuan Phanyuthapum. Nungubon was the reigning Lumpinee champion in 105 lbs, a belt he had won against Kompayak Singmanee. Nungubon went on to be the Lumpinee 112 lbs champion in 1991, the Lumpinee 115 lbs champion in 1995 and the Lumpinee 118 lbs champion in 1999.

Tongchai defeated Nungubon and won his first Lumpinee stadium belt!

In 1991, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Tongchai beat Kompayak Singmanee, Pairojnoi Sor Siamchai, Morakot Sor Thammarangsee, Toto Por Pongsawang and Chainoi Muangsurin. He lost in points, in the stadium of Lumpinee, against Toto Por Pongsawang (2 times), Chainoi Muangsurin, Pompetch Kiatchatpayak, Tukatatong Por Pongsawang and in the stadium of Radja against Samson Isaan.

Pairojnoi Sor Siamchai and Toto Por Pongsawang were two terrible Muay Bouk (Advancing Fighter) who always made bloody matches. Tongchai beat Pairojnoi once and met Toto three times with one win and two losses.

On July 2, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Tongchai won the Lumpinee belt in 108 lbs against Morakot Sor Thammarangsee. He won his second Lumpinee title!

On August 28, at the Radja stadium, in the 110 lbs category, a big clash took place between the two young stars of the moment who were the same age, Samson Isaan and Tongchai Thor Silachai.

Samson was one of the biggest punchers of the moment. Samson beat everyone in 1991 and was voted “Best Boxer of the Year 1991”. Samson was Lumpinee champion in 118 lbs, Radja champion in 115 lbs and Boxing World Champion WBF, he was undefeated in Boxing with 43 fights including 36 won by knockout!

The bull of Roi Et Samson had a dantesque fight and beat Tongchai by points …
But two months after losing to puncher Samson, Tongchai won his third Lumpinee title.

On October 22, in the stadium of Lumpinee, he beat by KO in the third round Wangthong Por Pisitchet and won the belt of Lumpinee in 112 lbs!

In 1992 and 1993, Tongchai was almost undefeated, he lost only to Rittidet Sor Ploenchit and Wangthong Por Pisitchet and drew against Sod Luknongyangtoy. He notably beat Singhao Tor Hintok, Rattanachai Wor Woraphon (KO), Fahsang Por Pongsawang, Nongnarong Luksamrong, Khanuphet Jonnygym.

Tongchai also retained his Lumpinee belt in 112 lbs against Netnarin Fairtex (Victory by KO), Pichai Wor Walapon and Rittidet Sor Ploenchit.

1994 and 1995 were not great years for Tongchai as he suffered several defeats. He lost to champions Meechok Sor Ploenchit, Nongnarong Looksamrong, Sittichai Phetbangprang and Nungubon Sitlerchai.
Tongchai still beat Chayai Sitkaruhat twice, as well as Nongnarong Looksamrong and Tukkatatong Por Pongsawang.

On Tuesday, November 29, 1994, in the stadium of Lumpinee, he beat Chayai Sitkaruhat (Lumpinee Champion in 115 lbs) he had already beaten twice.

On May 23, 1995, in Lumpinee stadium, Tongchai lost his Lumpinee belt in 112 lbs against Fimeuu Sittichai Phetbangprang. Sittichai was nicknamed “Wicharnoi Song” (The Second Wicharnoi in reference to the legendary Wicharnoi Porntawee).

On Friday August 4, 1995, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Tongchai beat the experienced champion Nongnarong Looksamrong. Nongnarong (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.

On Friday August 25, 1995, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Tongchai beat Chayai Sitkaruhat again.
On October 17, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Tongchai beat the formidable Tukkatatong Por Pongsawang.

In 1996, Tongchai achieved great performances by defeating by KO two lords of the rings, Tukkatatong and Saenchai. On Tuesday February 13, 1996, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Tongchai beat by KO, in the fourth round, the buffalo Tukkatatong Por Pongsawang after having almost been knocked out in the first round!

Tukkatatong was part of the trio of famous camp brothers Por Pongsawang, Dekdouan Por Pongsawang, Dokmaipha Por Pongsawang (Lumpinee champion in 108 lbs, Lumpinee champion in 115 lbs, Lumpinee champion in 118 lbs) and Thukatathong Por Pongsawang (Lumpinee champion in 112 lbs).

A few months later, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Tongchai (25 years old) met the rising star of the time, the young Saenchai Sor Kingstar who was 17 years old. Tongchai shocked Saenchai with a magnificent left hook-right uppercut fist sequence!

After this defeat by KO, Saenchai never suffered a defeat by KO again during his 25 years of career. Saenchai and Tongchai got together for the rematch in 1998 and Tongchai beat Saenchai again but in points. The two champions played a third match in 1999 and this time Saenchai won by points the match.

Saenchai is an outstanding fighter who was twice named “Best Boxer of the Year” by the prestigious The Sport Writers Association of Thailand in 1999 and 2008. Saenchai also received the Siamkeela Best Fighter of the Year award from the Thai Sports Authority in 2008. Nicknamed “Genious Fighter”, he defeated the best champions of the 2000 and 2010 generation.

In 1997, Tongchai defeated champions Kotchasan Singhkhlongsi (KO), Wanghin Kiatwichian, Ekachai Or Chaibadan (KO), Teelek Por Yosanan (KO), Chaichana Dejtawee. He had a great match against the star of the rings Namsaknoi Yudthagarngamtorn (Lumpinee Champion in 112 lbs, Lumpinee Champion in 130 lbs, Lumpinee Champion in 135 lbs, World Champion WMC and WAKO, Best boxer of the year 1996 ) against which he bowed at points.

On July 29, 1997, at the Lumpinee Stadium, Tongchai met the fimeuu Teelek Por Yosanan for the Lumpinee belt in 115 lbs. Tongchai defeated Teelek for more than the account and won the Lumpinee title in 115 lbs. He conquered his fourth belt from the Lumpinee stadium!

The following three years, Thongchai played big matche, in particular against Saenchai Sor Kingstar (2 times), Chalamkhaow Kiatpantong and Petch Por Burapha.He also beat Duwao Aborigin, Sakpaitoon Déjrat (KO), Ngatao Attrungroj (KO), Michael Sor Sakulphan, Wanpichai Sor Khamsing.

On Friday February 5, 1999, in the stadium of Lumpinee, he beat by KO Chalamkhaow Kiatpantong. Chalamkhaow was one of the most aggressive knee kick boxers of the day. Chalamkhaow had just won the Lumpinee belt in 108 lbs in 1998 by beating Khunpinit Kiattawan…

On January 25, 2000, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Tongchai defeated the terrible Petch Por Burapha (Amnat Ruenroeng). Amnat was a puncher who went on to be IBF Boxing World Champion in 2014!

On Friday March 3, 2000, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Tongchai challenged the young Paruhatnoi Sitjamee for the belt of Lumpinee in 115 lbs. Paruhatnoi beat Tongchai on points…

The year 2001 was one of the best years in Tongchai’s career. Of his 12 fights, he won ten and lost two points. Tongchai won two titles, the Ratchadamnoen stadium title and the WMC world title. He was voted «Best Boxer of the Year» by the two biggest Thai sports institutions!

At the beginning of 2001, at the Radja stadium, Tongchai met Sayainoi Kiatpraphat for the Radja stadium title in 115 lbs. Tongchai beat Sayainoi in points and tied the Radja stadium belt in 115 lbs to his waist!

The two champions met at Nakhon Ratchassima. Tongchai was the reigning Radja champion in 115 lbs and Sayainoi held the WMC world belt in 115 lbs. Both belts were put into play for this match. Tongchai won again against the fimeuu Sayainoi, he won both titles!

Tongchai and Sayainoi had a third match on November 7 at the Radja Stadium, with the WMC world title in 115 lbs on the game. Sayainoi beat Tongchai to the points and reclaimed his title…

That year, Tongchai also defeated top athletes such as Puja Sor Suwannee, Bowee Sor Udomson and Pornsanee Sitmonchai.

At the Radja stadium, Tongchai beat Puja Sor Suwannee. Phuja was ranked among the best ‘fimeu’ of her generation. He defeated the great champions Anuwat Kaewsamrit, Bowee Sor Udomson (3 times), Kem Sitsongpeenong (2 times) and Nongbee Kiatyongyut (4 times). In 2003, Phuja won the Lumpinee belt in 108 lbs.

Tongchai won the rematch against Puja, a match which took place in January 2002 in the stadium of Radja. Tongchai beat Puja by KO in the fifth round!

On July 12, at the Radja Stadium, Tongchai had a crazy fight against Bowee and beat him to the points. Bowee was a true “Taurus” who never backed away, an incredible durable boxer, a rock that destroyed his opponents with his fists and elbows by constantly putting pressure on them. Bowee was Radja Champion in 112 lbs, WMC World Champion in 122 lbs, WMC World Champion in 126 lbs and S1 World Champion in 135 lbs.

Tongchai beat Bowee a second time, on Wednesday September 5, in the stadium of Radja!

The following month, Tongchai faced another legendary Muay Bouk, Pornsanee Sitmonchai. Pornsanae was nicknamed “The Killer Fist”, his lumberjack fists and low kicks have taken down more than one boxer, he has more than 50 KO wins. He was Radja champion in 115 lbs, Lumpinee champion in 122 lbs, Lumpinee champion in 126 lbs, WMC World champion in 126 lbs, Thailand champion in 130 lbs, winner of the TV7 tournament in 110 lbs and winner of the Tournament Toyota in 118 lbs.

Tongchai and Pornsanee fought a dantesque battle in the ring of the stadium of Radja and Tongchai won this frenzied game!

The two boxers faced each other three times with two wins for Tongchai and one victory for Pornsanee. Tongchai also beat in 2001, Namkabuanlek Nong Khee Phahuyuth, and Michael Sor Sakulphan.

In 2001, Tongchai only lost against Sayainoi Kiatpraphat and against the great champion Phet O Sitjaopho (Champion of Thailand and winner of the Isuzu tournament).

Tongchai still made a lot of great fights in the 2000s. He beat the champion of Radja Orono Muangsima in 2003 and in 2004, the champion of Radja Kwanpichit 13 Coins in 2004 (KO), the champion of Lumpinee and Radja Detnarong Sitjaaboon in 2006, the champion of Thailand and WMC Manasak Narupai in 2007 and the champion of Radja Kaimukkao Por Thairongruangkamai in 2008.

On Thursday, November 27, 2003, in the stadium of Radja, Tongchai lost against Chatchainoi Sitbenjema (Radja Champion in 112 lbs and in 115 lbs) for the title of WMC world champion in 115 lbs.

The old fox of the rings also made superb fights, losing only in points, against the stars of the rings Panomrunglek Kiatmuu9 in 2004, Anuwat Kaewsamrit in 2005, Chatchainoi Sitbenjema in 2006, Pakorn Sakyotin in 2008 and Luknimit Singklongsi in 2009. Tongchai had beaten Luknimit (Radja Champion in 108 lbs, WMC World Champion in 108 lbs) in 2007 in the stadium of Radja.

On Monday May 21, 2007, in the stadium of Omnoi, Tongchai and Rittijak Kaewsamrit faced each other in the final of the Mitsubishi tournament.

Sponsored by the company Mitsubishi Motor, the Mitsubishi Tournament lasted about ten years, the promoter of this important tournament was Songchai Ratanasuban. The winner of the tournament won, at the time, the colossal sum of one million baht. The greatest champions of the 90s and 2000s participated in this tournament. The Mitsubishi N°11 tournament with the two finalists Tongchai and Rittijak was the last event organized by Songchai and Mitsubishi Motor.

At 35, Tongchai challenged Rittijak who was ten years younger than him, Rittijak was 24. Before meeting Tongchai, Rittijak (WMC and S1 world champion) had just beaten Kayasit Chuwattana (Radja champion), Phaendin Sor Damrongrit (WMC world champion) ) and the terror of the rings Pornsanee Sitmonchai. Rittijak was the favorite against Tongchai. Maha Hin made a great match and beat the young Rittijak in points. The rock of Korat won the Mitsubishi tournament, he pocketed the sum of a million baht and a superb Mitsubishi 4×4 Pickup!

A year after his historic victory, unfortunately, Tongchai took a wrong turn in delinquency. In July 2008, he was arrested in Nakhon Ratchassima for trafficking amphetamine. Tongchai was only detained for a few months. Because he received an exceptional remission of sentence through the “Boxing and Reintegration” program. As a great boxing champion, while in prison, he taught boxing to inmates who were interested in Muay Thai and wish to pursue a boxing career after their release.

This immense champion has now become a renowned boxing teacher. He teaches his knowledge in the Rattachai Muay Thai Gym camp, a camp which is located on the island of Phuket.

BY SERGE TREFEU