WOR WATTHANA GYM
by Serge TREFEU (2019)
(PHOTOS Scott Hirano and Lord K2)
The Wor Watthana Gym is located in Krabueang Nok village to 15 Km from Phutthaisong town in Nakhon Ratchassima province, in the heart of the Isaan region.
KRABUENG NOK IS A TYPICAL VILLAGE OF ISAAN
This authentic camp, lost in the countryside, was built in 2014 by two boxing lovers, a couple united by the same passion, the Muay Thai. Frances Pettitt and Thanit Watthanaya met in Bangkok a dozen years ago. She was from Canada and he was from the northeast region of Thailand. They were married in 2007 in the Siam country. From their union was born a little girl named Parvati, she is now nine years old. Frances now has the Thai name “Mali Watthanaya”.
FRANCES AND THANIT MADE A TRADITIONAL THAI WEDDING
THE WATTHANAYA FAMILY, A HAPPY AND UNITED FAMILY
Frances grew up in Rossland, a mountainous area in West Kootenay, British Columbia, Canada. A sporty girl, practising snow sports, she discovered the Muay Thai and literally fell in love with it. She began boxing at the age of 14 at the Pride Gym in Trail Canada. His Muay Thai master, Ajahn Suchart, encouraged her to come live his passion in Thailand. At 19, in 2006, she left for the first time in Thailand.
MALI WATTHANAY ALIAS FRANCES PETTITT
FRANCES WITH AJAHN SUCHART
The first gym where Frances trained was the Sor Kor Peera Gym in Bangkok which is located at Soi Sukhumvit 93. The gym owner was Payupnoi Sor Thanikul, a former boxer at the famous Sor Thanikul Gym. This small gym today belongs to the legendary Boonlay Sor Thanikul (Lumpinee champion in 115 lbs in 1992, Lumpinee champion in 122 lbs in 1994, 400 fights). Boonlay coached Frances in 2006. Frances had a great fight career with 40 fights, 15 in North America and 25 throughout Thailand.
FRANCES AT SOR KOR PEERA GYM IN 2006
THE OLD STAR OF RINGS BOONLAY SOR THANIKUL
At the time, when Frances went to train at the Sor Kor Peera gym, a lot of Sor Thanikul fighters were in this gym. Because the Sor Thanikul Gym who was in the same district had closed in 2003. It’s at Sor Kor Peera gym that she met her future husband, they were married seven months after they met. The couple lived in Canada for several years before come back to Thailand in 2014.
Frances also trained in several gyms in the Northeast as the gym of the ancient legend of the rings Rotnarong Daoprarew. A great champion who made 500 fights and won twice the Radja belt and twice the famous Royal Cup trophy. Rotnarong became the sponsor of the Wor Watthana Gym, he trained and motivated several young people from the camp.
THE GREAT CHAMPION ROTNARONG
FRANCES AND THANIT AT THE ROTNARONG GYM
Thanit Watthanaya, nicknamed Boom, is a professional fighter with 60 fights in gloves. He has fought in the stadium of the Radja in Bangkok and several times abroad especially in the United States for a WBC Intercontinental belt. He began his training at the Muay Thai in the Sor Kor Peera gym in Bangkok. Thanit grew up in the village of Krabueang Nok. It was on the grounds of his parents’ house that the couple built the Wor Watthana Gym.
THANIT WATTHANAYA ALIAS BOOM
FIGHT OF BOOM IN RADJA STADIUM
THANIT FOUGHT FOR A WBC INTERCONTINENTAL BELT
WHEN BOOM FOUGHT ABROAD, HE PREPARED WITH HIS WIFE
Frances and Thanit didn’t build a boxing camp to make money. On the contrary, they built this structure to help children in difficulty. To keep them away from the bad ways that can lead some into delinquency. Because this rural area of Nakhon Ratchassima is very poor and the Yaa Baa (Synthetic Drug) is unfortunately wreaking havoc on many families. There are a lot of small gangs selling Yaa Baa, a very cheap drug. Kids who take this drug go crazy, they stab each other, and sometimes die in stupid motorcycle crashes.
Thanks to many generous contributors, Frances and Thanit were able to realize their dream, to have their own boxing camp. A gym where they give free lessons to the poorest children in the Isaan region. Most of the boxing equipment, gloves, kick pads, punching bags, ring, was donated by the great brand Booster. The Boon brand also gave some kick pads, focus mitts and gloves.
WOR WATTHANA GYM STRUCTURE WORTHY OF BIG BANGKOK GYM
Every day, Frances and Thanit take the kids to school, help them on a daily basis and especially their transmit the art of Muay Thai. Many of the gym’s children live with them in the camp. This extraordinary couple is fully dedicated to the education of these children who often have a difficult childhood. Muay Thai can change their fate. But Frances and Thanit need permanent donations to keep their humanitarian boxing gym alive. They don’t take anything from the weak purses their little boxers earn…
FRANCES AND THANIT DO NOT COUNT THEIR HOURS SPENT AT THE LESSONS WITH THEIR STUDENTS
The Wor Watthana Gym currently has 18 boxers, 10 of whom are active competitors and 8 who train for fun. Professional boxers fight throughout the Isaan region as well as at the stadiums of Radja, Lumpinee and Max Muay Thai.
Wor Watthana Gym now has a coach who takes care of the competitors, Saothong Sor Udomson alias Khru Nye. Trained in the famous Sor Udomson Gym in Bangkok, his specialty is Boxing, he was gold medal in amateur Boxing in Thailand. His two sons, Sipmurn Wor Watthana and Monfai Wor Watthana, fight for the Wor Watthana Gym.
SIPMURN WOR WATTHANA GYM AND MONFAI WOR WATTHANA
Since his opening, the Wor Watthana Gym has produced many promising young fighters such as Mahachok, Dee, Jet, Om, Bpaet, Da, Nungning, Moo Suadam, Yodbuangam, Robert Johnson, Mangkongern, Gaelaunchan.
The fiery young Bpaet is a great example of success through the learning of Muay Thai. Formed at Wor Watthana Gym, he has now become a professional fighter who earns a living through boxing. Abandoned child, his life had started badly. The Muay Thai, and the love given by Frances and Thanit, gave him tremendous strength and motivation to get out. He was adopted by Frances who raised him as his son. Bpaet, to date, has about a hundred fights and a title of champion of the Isaan region. He made his first fight in the big Radja Stadium on October 23, 2019, beating Bankthong Sitthicharoensap in the 90 lbs category. His career as a boxer is ahead of him, the future on the rings of Bangkok belongs to him!
BPAET, FROM STREET TO RING
THE FIGHTER NAME OF BPAET IS LAANYAAMO LUKMAREMALI
BPAET AND HER MOTHER OF HEART FRANCES AT STADIUM OF RADJA
The experienced Da fights regularly in Bangkok and at the Max Muay Thai stadium in Pattaya. At 20 years, he has more than 250 fights.
DA IN MAX MUAY THAI STADIUM
The boxers Nungning and Gaelanchan, little girls with the unique will are good fighters. Nungning made 6 fights and Gaelanchan, nicknamed Focus, made 5 fights. They represent the Wor Watthana Gym with pride.
NUNGNING WOR WATTHANA AND FOCUS WOR WATTHANA
DEE AND MOO SUADAM, CHAMPION OF KORAT PROVINCE
YODBUANGAM WOR WATTHANA, MANGKONGERN, ROBERT JOHNSON
WOR WATTHANA BOXERS FIGHT ON ALL RINGS IN THE NORTHEAST REGION
THE WOR WATTHANA GYM FIGHT TABLE IS FULLY COMPLETED
The great champion Loma Lookboonmee is the sponsor of the Wor Watthana Gym and a role model for the children of camp. Lookboonmee Gym and Wor Watthana Gym are very related, a strong friendship has been created between the boxers of these two gyms. They often meet at village parties in the region where Muay Thai matches are still on the program.
Frances and Thanit also help the boxers of the Lookboonmee Gym which is 70 km from their camp. The gym belongs to Loma’s father, Mr. Boonmee. Frances has had Lookboonmee Gym fighters fight several times. And Mr. Boonmee has Wor Watthana fighters fighting in his provincial organizations.
Frances did work, as a coach, Lookboonmee Gym boxers at gyms abroad.
She also now manages Loma Lookboonmee’s career, helping her find sponsors like the King Pro Boxing brand as well as fight abroad.
Loma Lookboonmee (S1 World Champion in – 50 Kg, IFMA World Champion in – 45 Kg) was formed in the famous Lookboonmee Gym located in the town of Lam Plai Mat near Buriram in the Northeast.
Now she training at Dejrat Muay Thai Academy camp in Bangkok, Loma is among the world’s best in – 50 Kg and has over 200 fights to her credit. This great champion is the first Thai female boxer to fight in MMA at the UFC. In October 2019, at UFC Singapore, at Indoor Stadium, she defeated the Moldavian Alexandra Albu!
FRANCES WITH LOMA FOR HIS FIGHT AT UFC
FRANCES AND LOMA AT LOOKBOONMEE GYM
Frances added a string to its bow by becoming a show organizer for Muay Thai. She has already organized 10 events in the Isaan region.
FRANCES IN FRONT OF A PROMOTIONAL POSTER OF ONE OF HER EVENTS ORGANIZED IN ISAAN
The Wor Watthana Gym is a camp that sweat generosity. A beautiful human adventure that we hope will continue for a long time. Lovers of Muay Thai from all over the world, your donations are welcome at the Wor Watthana Gym!
The Wor Watthana Gym needs donations to build a house for boxer children, also for food, school education and for the functioning of the gym. Here is the link for the donation:
The Wor Watthana Gym website:
THE TEAM WOR WATTHANA
WOR WATTHANA BOXERS TRAIN HARD EVERY DAY
THE WOR WATTHANA GYM IN THAI SPECIALIZED MAGAZINES
FRANCES WITH STAR NONG ROSE
FRANCES AND THE FORMER BOXER/ACTOR PAULO TOCHA, TWO TRUE PASSIONATE OF MUAY THAI
THANIT CREATED A TEAM OF KEETA MUAY THAI (MUAY THAI MOVEMENT DEMONSTRATION)
IN THE VILLAGE SCHOOL
THE WOR WATTHANA GYM ON CHANNEL 7