« DEATH MASK »
Veeraphol Sahaprom whose real name is Theeraphol Samranklang was born on November 12, 1968 in Korat (Nakhon Ratchassima), a town located in the Isaan region (North-East). When the young Theeraphol was six years old, his parents settled in Saraburi in the village of Kaeng Khoi, Saraburi is an area near the famous town of Lopburi (The city of the monkeys). Theeraphol grew up with his little brother in the Saraburi region, he started boxing at the age of 14 with his father who coached and formed him. His father gave him the fighter name of “Veeraphol”. Veeraphol won his first fight by KO by beating boxer Singyoen Singisel in the fourth round, he was destined to become one of the biggest punchers in the history of Thai boxing!
Veeraphol then joined Lieutenant Colonel Chalat Phromawan’s Sahaprom Gym camp. He took the fighter name of “Veeraphol Sahaprom“. The great promoter of the stadium of Ratchadamnoen, Mr. Chujaroen Raveeramwong was his promoter, he made him fight in the prestigious stadium of Radja. It was Chujaroen Raveeramwong (Owner of the famous Chuwathana camp in Bangkok) who built the fabulous career of Veeraphol Sahaprom, in Muay Thai and later in professional Boxing.
Veeraphol was training at his provincial camp in Saraburi. Then he set up his own camp at his house in Kaeng Khoi village in Saraburi province and named it Sor Veeraphol Gym. It was a small family camp where he always prepared himself before carrying out his fights in Bangkok.
For his career in Boxing, Veeraphol was trained by the famous professor Khru Pit Monsawan, he took the name of boxing fighter of “Veeraphol Nakornluang” and was preparing for the NKL Boxing Gym (NaKornLuang Boxing) camp which is in Nonthaburi (Bangkok suburb).
Veeraphol was nicknamed by Muay Thai fans “Pra Ka Nakreum” (The monk with the serious face) and “Death Mask” because when he fought in the ring his face did not emit any emotion, he was impassive during all his fight. He also had the nickname “Discreet Killer”. Death Mask made 200 fights in Muay Thai and 72 fights in Boxing.
Veeraphol was Radja champion in 108 lbs against Pewphong Sitbobai in 1987, Radja champion in 112 lbs against Samernoi Tor Boonlert in 1988, Radja champion in 115 lbs against Silapathai Jocky Gym in 1993, WBA world champion in Boxing in 118 lbs in 1995 and WBC boxing world champion in 118 lbs in 1998.
In 1993, Veeraphol was elected “Best boxer of the year” of the stadium of Radja.
In 1999, Veeraphol was voted “Best Boxer of the Year in Boxing” by the prestigious Sport Writers Association of Thailand.
In 2001, Veeraphol received a special trophy donated by the Thai sports authorities, the “Award for the best professional athlete for 4 consecutive years”!
In Muay Thai, when he was champion of Radja in 1987, Veeraphol received purses of 80,000 baht, then he won purses of 200,000 baht. When he became world champion in Boxing, he won purses of several million baht!
Veeraphol is one of the biggest punchers of the 90s, in Muay Thai, he has beaten great names in the discipline like Keawmorakot Praynan (KO), Noppadet Sor Rewadee (KO), Burlek Pinsinchai (KO), Dennuah Denmoree (KO), Duangsompong Por Pongsawan (KO), Samson Isaan (KO), Langsuan Phanyutthaphum (KO), Silapathai Jocky Gym (KO), Colalek Sor Thanikul (KO), Chain Pinsinchai (KO), Samernoi Tor Boonlert (KO), Toto Por Pongsawang (KO), Paruhatlek Sitchunthong, Hippy Singmanee, Karuhat Sor Supawan, Saenklai Sit Kruod, Dokmayphay Por Pongsawan, Sukhothai Thaksimeter, Chatchainoi Chawraiaoy!
Veeraphol had his first fight in a big stadium in Bangkok at the age of 17 years in 1985.
In 1987, in January, Veeraphol lost to Chutchong Wor Worawoot and then, that year, he won ten fights in a row.
On October 12, 1987, in the stadium of Radja, Veeraphol fought for the championship of the stadium of Radja in 108 lbs against the rising star of Yasothon, Pewphong Sitbobaï. The two young champions put on a great match and Veeraphol was declared the winner on points. At 19 years, Veeraphol won his first Radja stadium title, the Radja belt in 108 lbs!
In 1988, Veeraphol won again a title of the stadium of Radja and he made great matches against the stars Paruhatlek, Langsuan, Hippy and Karuhat.
On March 24, in the stadium of Radja, Veeraphol met the defending Radja champion in 112 lbs, Samernoi Tor Boonlert (Radja champion in 112 lbs in 1987 and Radja champion in 115 lbs in 1990). Veeraphol had a magnificent match, he almost knocked out Samernoi in the third round and finally won the fight on points. Veeraphol won the Radja title in 112 lbs and won his second Radja stadium belt!
On Tuesday July 26, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Veeraphol who was champion of Radja in 108 lbs and in 112 lbs challenged in his stronghold, the defending champion of Lumpinee in 112 lbs, Paruhatlek Sitchunthong (Champion of Lumpinee in 105 lbs and in 112 lbs). Veeraphol defeated Paruhatlek by points, the Radja champion beat the Lumpinee champion!
In the stadium of Radja, Thursday, October 13, Veeraphol faced the best champion of the moment, Langsuan Phanyutthapum (Lumpinee champion in 108 lbs, in 112 lbs and in 115 lbs). Nicknamed “Khun Khao Ray Namdjai” (The heartless knee kick), Langsuan had beaten by KO the star Hippy Singmanee and defeated the puncher Wangchannoi Sor Palangchai, Langsuan had been elected “Best boxer of the year 1987”.
Langsuan defeated Veeraphol Sahaphrom on points. The two champions have faced each other twice, Veeraphol once beaten by KO Langsuan and Langsuan took a points victory.
On Friday November 4, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Veeraphol met another star of the rings, the great champion Hippy Singmanee (Lumpinee champion in 105 lbs and in 108 lbs) nicknamed “Khod Muay Muang Tai” (The South listed). Hippy was the defending Lumpinee champion at 108 lbs, a belt he had just won by beating Karuhat Sor Supawan. Veeraphol and Hippy had a good fight, Hippy won the match on points. Hippy and Veeraphol faced each other three times, the first time in the south in Pattani with a victory in points for Veeraphol, the second time in the stadium of Lumpinee, Hippy took his revenge by winning in points and the third time in the stadium of Radja, Veeraphol beat Hippy.
Three weeks later, on Friday November 25, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Veeraphol challenged the talented Karuhat Sor Supawan (Lumpinee champion in 112 lbs and in 122 lbs) nicknamed “Fabulous Fighter”, a genius of the rings who was one of the best technicians of his time. Karuhat beat Veeraphol on points for the second time. The two champions met three times, Karuhat twice defeated Veeraphol in the stadium of Lumpinee and “Discreet Killer” once beat Karuhat in the stadium of Radja.
1989 was a good year for the Saraburi fighter despite losing his Radja title in 112 lbs.
On January 15, in the temporary boxing ring in the crocodile farm of Samut Prakan (30 km from Bangkok). Veeraphol defended his Radja title in 112 lbs against the great boxer Dennuah Denmoree (Lumpinee champion in 105 lbs). Veeraphol had a difficult match against Dennuah, injured in the leg on the first round, Veeraphol lost on points and lost his belt from Radja. Two years later, Veeraphol took a resounding revenge by defeating by KO Dennuah!
On April 19, in the stadium of Radja, Veeraphol and Hippy Singmanee faced each other for the third time and Veeraphol won the match on points.
On May 12, in the stadium of Lumpinee, the two punchers Veeraphol and Panpetch Muangsurin met, they had a draw.
On Tuesday June 13th Veeraphol and the terrible Toto Por Pongsawang fought in the stadium of Lumpinee. Veeraphol suffered a shin injury and had to stop the match…
On August 24, in the stadium of Radja, Veeraphol won against Odnoy Lukprabat.
On Tuesday September 5, in the stadium of Lumpinee, the revenge between Muay Bouk (Fighter who advances) Toto Por Pongsawang and Veeraphol was still a big hitting battle. Death Mask knocked out Toto in the second round!
In the stadium of Radja, on December 14, Veeraphol knocked out, in the third round, the rough Colalek Sor Thanikul after having been severely opened in the forehead by Colalek’s pokes!
1990 was not a very good year for Discreet Killer, he lost a lot of fights to formidable champions.
On Thursday January 11, in the stadium of Ratchadamnoen, Veeraphol lost against the great champion of Radja, Santos Dawee. Santos was the little brother of the legendary Nokweed Dawee (Radja champion in 122 lbs, 126 lbs and 130 lbs, Died in 2016).
On February 15, in the stadium of Ratchadamnoen, Veeraphol lost on points against Suwitlek Lookbangplasoi.
On March 21, in the stadium of Radja, Veeraphol was beaten by the young Fimeuu Dejrit Sor Ploenchit.
On May 31, in the stadium of Radja, Veeraphol defeated the solid Chain Pinsinchai in the third round.
On Sunday 24 June, Veeraphol lost again on points to Dejrit Sor Ploenchit.
On July 19, in the stadium of Radja, Veeraphol beat by KO Thanongdej Kiatphayathai. Then, on Monday August 6, he won on points against Ratchapracha Na Pattaya.
On Thursday August 30, in the stadium of Radja, Veeraphol and Noppadet Sor Rewadee met for the first time. Veeraphol won on points against Noppadet Sor Rewadee. Veeraphol and Noppadet have faced each other five times, Death Mask has won four times, and Noppadet once.
On September 27, in the stadium of Radja, Veeraphol again beat Noppadet Sor Rewadee.
On Monday, October 22, the champion clash between Kaensak Sor Ploenchit and Veeraphol Sahaprom took place in the stadium of Radja. Kaensak was champion of the two stadiums of Bangkok, in 1989, he had beaten Paruhatlek Sit Chunthong for the Lumpinee belt in 112 lbs and Denneua Denmolee for the Radja belt in 112 lbs, he was elected “Best boxer of the year in 1989 ”. Kaensak was given favorite for this clash. The two champions delivered a superb performance that resulted in a draw!
On Wednesday November 14, in the stadium of Radja, Veeraphol lost in points against the powerful and experienced champion of Radja Boonam Chor Waikul (Champion of Radja in 112 lbs, in 115 lbs and in 118 lbs).
On December 10, in the stadium of Radja, Veeraphol won again against Noppadet Sor Rewadee.
In 1991, on Thursday March 21, in the stadium of Ratchadamnoen, Veeraphol lost by points against Phanomrung Sit Sor Wor Por.
On Wednesday May 8, in the stadium of Ratchadamnoen, Veeraphol (23 years old) beat by KO the champion of Lumpinee Dennuah Denmoree (26 years old) who had beaten him in points, two years before and had removed his belt from the radja in 112 lbs. Dennuah Denmoree was a magnificent technician who had conquered the belt of Lumpinee in 105 lbs at only 18 years old (1984), he was also holder of the belt of Radja in 112 lbs (Conquered in 1989 against Veeraphol and lost 5 months later against Kaensak Sor Ploenchit) and the Radja belt in 115 lbs (1990). In the third round, Veeraphol made Dennuah count and then knocked him out with a powerful straight right!
On June 24, in the stadium of Ratchadamnoen, Veeraphol beat on points the genius of boxing ring Karuhat Sor Supawan for their third confrontation.
On August 23, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Veeraphol beat the champion Saenklai Sit Kruod (Lumpinee champion in 118 lbs). It was the first meeting between these two champions who have faced each other four times. Veeraphol beat Saenklai twice and he lost to him twice.
On Thursday, September 19, in the stadium of Ratchadamnoen, Veeraphol (23 years old) met the legendary Burlek Pinsinchai (Lumpinee Champion in 112 lbs, Thailand champion in 1983 and 1984) who was 26 years old. Burlek was a great technician who had beaten a lot of great champions. Burlek cleverly dammed Veeraphol’s violent fist assaults by destroying his legs with series of Low Kicks. Veeraphol lost the match on points. Veeraphol and Burlek have faced each other four times with a KO win for Veeraphol and three wins by points for Burlek.
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.
The clash between the two biggest punchers of the moment has kept all its promises. Veeraphol (23 years old) was challenged by young prodigy Samson Isaan (19 years old). Veeraphol won the match on points in the first and second round with better Muay Thai techniques. But at the end of the second round, Samson, like a robot, advanced on Veeraphol and gave him a powerful series of six straight left which electrocuted Veeraphol for more of the account. Samson that year was unbeatable, the following month, on November 29, he beat by KO Saenklai Sit Kruod and took him his belt from Lumpinee in 118 lbs, Samson Isaan was elected “Best boxer of the year 1991”. During the same event of November 29 in Lumpinee, Veeraphol beat on points the champion Duangsompong Por Pongsawang, Veeraphol twice beat Duangsompong, once in points in Lumpinee and once by KO in Radja!
On Wednesday January 15, 1992, in the stadium of Radja, Veeraphol and Noppadet Sor Rewadee met for the fourth time. Veeraphol had won the first three meetings. This time, Noppadet finally took his revenge by beating Death Mask on points…
But on March 18 for their fifth match at the Radja stadium, Veeraphol knocked out Noppadet with a right chin hook in the third round!
On Tuesday May 5, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Veeraphol beat the great champion Dokmaypa Por Pongsawang, the brother of Duangsompong Por Pongsawang whom he had beaten five months earlier.
The following month, Veeraphol lost in points against Nungubon Sitlerchai (Lumpinee champion in 105 lbs, 112 lbs, 115 lbs and 118 lbs) in the stadium of Lumpinee. Nungubon had just won the Lumpinee belt in 112 lbs a few months earlier by beating the star Langsuan…
On July 28, in the stadium of Radja, Veeraphol had a great match against the super technician Silapathai Jocky Gym (Radja champion in 108 lbs, in 112 lbs and in 122 lbs) nicknamed “Jomsopklap” (The fatal back elbow) Silapathai, 17 years, was not a favorite against puncher Veeraphol but resisted the powerful punches from Discreet Killer and won the match on points. Veeraphol and Silapathai have faced each other three times with a KO victory for Veeraphol and two wins by points for Silapathai.
1993 was the best year of Veeraphol’s Muay Thai career, he was also elected “Best boxer of the year 1993” by the stadium of Radja!
On Sunday January 31, in the stadium of Ratchadamnoen, Veeraphol fought again against the technician Saenklai Sit Kruod and Saenklai defeated Veeraphol by beating him on points.
On February 19, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Veeraphol knocked out Kiewmorakot Prainan in the second round with a superb Low Kick sequence followed by an uppercut and hook in the face!
On March 8, in the stadium of Radja, Veeraphol lost on points against Burlek Pinsinchai, it was the second meeting between these two champions.
On April 2, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Veeraphol beat Chatchainoi Chaoraiaoy by points.
On May 11, the rematch between Veeraphol and Samson Isaan took place, an electric match awaited for two years by aficionados. Samson had won the first confrontation by knockout. In the stadium of Lumpinee, Veeraphol and Samson again made a terrible battle of frenzied punchers. In the second round, Veeraphol was hit hard by Samson’s punches, he fell, stunned, Veeraphol was counted 8, he came right back into the fight and knocked out Samson with a dazzling series of punches. Samson was beaten by KO for the first time in his career. Veeraphol is one of the rare boxers to have defeated by KO the bull of Roi Et, Samson Isaan (World Boxing champion in 1994, undefeated in Boxing with 43 fights including 36 victories won by KO)!
Samson and Veeraphol found themselves in the ring 27 years after their last clash. In the stadium of Ratchadamnoen, Wednesday, December 27, 2017, the young promoter Bo Nattadet Wachiraratanawong (Son of promoter Petchyindee) once again organized this clash of Boxing Titans between these two former 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 May 28, 1993, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Veeraphol lost in points against the young Singhdam Or Ugrit (19 years old). Veeraphol finished the match with a bloody face following a big poke opening from Singdam…
On June 23, in the stadium of Radja, Veeraphol found the talented champion Silapathai Jocky Gym. For this match, the stadium title of Radja in 115 lbs was at stake. Silapathai, also nicknamed “Jomtip 116” (The 116 front kicks), again dominated the match with his magnificent techniques and swerve. The superb technician Silapathai won the fight on points. But in the last round, Veeraphol released a terrible left hook which struck his opponent, Silapathai was evacuated on a stretcher. Veeraphol won the Radja title in 115 lbs, it was his third Radja belt that he won. Veeraphol was champion of Radja in three different categories, in 108 lbs, in 112 lbs and in 115 lbs!
The two champions met for a third match, on July 23 in the stadium of Radja. Silapathai won the match on points thanks to his magnificent techniques.
Thursday September 16, in the stadium of Radja, the rematch took place between the puncher Veeraphol and Muay Khao “Khun Khao Ray Namdjai” Langsuan who had won the first fight in Lumpinee. The confrontation was very violent, Langsuan was cut open hard on the forehead, his head bloodied, he resisted the blows of Veeraphol who finally knocked him out in the third round with his terrible left hook!
On October 14, in the stadium of Radja, Veeraphol won on points against Charoensak Or Nuangjumnong.
On December 18, in the stadium of Radja, Veeraphol and the great champion Burlek Pinsinchai met for the third time, Burlek had already beaten twice on points Veeraphol. But in the second round, Burlek was surprised by a sequence with the fists of Veeraphol, Death Mask won the match by KO!
1994 was the last year of fighting in Muay Thai for the puncher from Saraburi, Veeraphol did another good thing by retaining his Radja title and beating great champions like Dokmaypa, Chatchainoi and Saenklai.
On Thursday January 6, in the stadium of Radja, Veeraphol won a great victory over the solid durable boxer Dokmaypa Por Pongsawan.
On May 19, in the stadium of Radja, Veeraphol faced again the technician Burlek Pinsinchai and he was defeated in points against him for their fourth meeting…
On June 22, in the stadium of Radja, Veeraphol defended his Radja title in 115 lbs against Chatchainoi Chawraiaoy. Veeraphol won the match on points and kept his precious trophy. Veeraphol also defended his Radja belt in 115 lbs against Duangsompong Por Pongsawang. Duangsompong was a dangerous Muay Khao (Strong knees), during this fight, the rounds were very close between the two boxers but Duangsompong was leading in points, he would win the match and the belt of Radja. At the end of the last round, Veeraphol throw a jab from the left followed by a straight right which hit Duangsompong in the chin which knock down KO. Veeraphol kept his Radja title!
On September 23, in the stadium of Lumpinee, Veeraphol beat Saenklai Sit Kruod again, the two champions had a great fight, Saenklai suffered a lot, he was counted twice and ended up with a bloody nose because of the blows of violent fists of Death Mask. It was their fourth encounter!
At the end of 1994, Veeraphol had cleaned up his category in Muay Thai, so he turned to Boxing, a discipline in which he had an exceptional career with 72 professional fights for 66 victories including 46 won by KO, 4 losses and 2 draws. He won the world champion belt in two federations, the WBC and the WBA!
Veeraphol made his first professional fight in Boxing on December 2, 1994 in Nonthaburi, he beat the Filipino Joel Junio by KO and won the title of WBC International champion in 115 lbs.
A year later, on September 17, 1995, he faced the Thai Daorung Chuwatthana who held the WBA world champion belt in 118 lbs. Veeraphol defeated Daorung on points and won his first WBA World Championship belt in 118 lbs. But on January 28, 1996, he lost his title to Ghanaian Nana Yaw Konadu who knocked him out.
Two years after losing his WBA title on December 29, 1998, Death Mask fought for the ultimate title again. In Japan, in Osaka, the Thai knocked out Japanese Joichiro Tatsuyoshi and won the WBC world champion belt in 118 lbs. For seven years, Veeraphol successfully defended his WBC title 14 times, a real record!
He kept his belt victoriously in matches that took place in Thailand and Japan. He just defended his belt once in France. On May 14, 2001, the Thai champion defended his trophy in Paris, at the Palais des Sports, against the Mexican Ricardo Barajas whom he beat by KO with a magnificent right hook in the third round. The speaker of the Parisian event was the famous speaker of the Thai boxing events, “The Voice” Daniel Allouche. Veeraphol lost his WBC belt on March 16, 2005 in Japan, against Japanese Hozumi Hasegawa…
After his career, Veeraphol opened a restaurant in Chaiyaphum in the Northeast region, the establishment is called “Raan Champ Lok” (The restaurant of the world champion). The establishment is decorated with all the trophies of the legend of the rings!
Today, Veeraphol has become a trainer at the famous Dabransarakham Gym camp located in Maha Sarakham, it is the largest boxing training camp in the Maha Sarakham area.
The Dabransarakham Gym belongs to the lieutenant-colonel of police Mr. Niran Yossapon, the camp has about fifteen boxers including the two stars Chujaroen Dabransarakham (Winner of the Fooktien group Tournament in 130 lbs, Lumpinee champion in 135 lbs, TV7 champion in 140 lbs, winner of the Top King World Series Tournament in 154 lbs) and Longern Dabransarakham (Winner of the Tiger Cement Tournament N ° 17 in 122 lbs). Veeraphol is the head coach of the Dabransarakham Gym camp, this ring legend has remained simple and very humble, he loves to cook, he is an excellent chef who loves to prepare delicious meals for the boxers of the camp!
BY SERGE TREFEU