One of the best things about living in Thailand is the free fights on local television. Every Sunday, Channel 7 TV puts on the best fights Muay Thai fights of the week (often better than Lumpinee and Rajadamnern fights).
A few weeks ago I was watching the Channel 7 fights at my favorite local restaurant and a young fighter named Saenpon (แสนพล) was fighting. The moment the fight started, I knew that this young fighter was special.
Saenpon’s fighting style was a perfect mix of skill and aggression. He was very technical, but at the same time, he was extremely vicious and explosive.
While everyone already knows famous fighters like Saenchai and Yodsanklai, I wanted to introduce you to a Next level fighter that you probably have never heard of.
Here are 8 Reasons Why Saenpon (the Fighter in RED) is Next Level:
#1. He is Extremely Explosive
Throughout the fight, Saenpon remains completely calm and relaxed. He looks like he was born to fight in the ring. He doesn’t show much emotion throughout the fight, maintaining the perfect poker face. When he does strike, he explodes from his state of relaxation, making it difficult for his opponent to block his strikes.
This clip showcases Saenpon going from a state of calm to exploding on his opponent. He is a fighter that belongs in the Muay Thai ring.
Here is another clip of Saenpon suddenly exploding from his calm state.
#2. He Sets Up His Strikes Beautifully With Feints
When you reach a certain level in Muay Thai, fighters will block most incoming attacks. One factor that separates the good from the best fighters is their ability to set up their strikes with feints. Fighters who can set up their strikes effectively have a much better chance of scoring points.
This clip showcases Saenpon using feints to set up his straight punch through his opponent’s guard. Beautiful extension in the right straight allows him to land the punch cleanly on his opponent.
Here is another clip that showcases Saenpon disguising his strikes with feints.
#3. His Defensive Abilities and Counter Attacking
To be a good fighter you not only need to have good offense, you need to be able to block your opponent’s incoming attacks.
This clip demonstrates Saenpon’s excellent defense and counter-attacking abilities. Instead of letting his opponent get away with unanswered strikes, the moment his opponent backs off Saenpon strikes him with a right knee, right punch combination.
This clip showcases Saenpon’s balance as he is always in a position to defend against any strike. He throws a Uppercut, straight punch, and then immediately blocks his opponents counter kick.
#4. His Punching Abilities
For a young fighter from Thailand, he displays crisp, hard, accurate punches. He is very good with his hands and demonstrates it throughout the fight.
The following clip showcases Saenpon using effective punches to initiate and counter attack against his opponent. Very fast and explosive hands from this young talent.
#5. He Has The Perfect Blend of Aggression and Skill
I have talked a lot of about the battle between Aggression and Skill in Muay Thai. There are a few fighters who can battle both roles in a fight, Saenpon is one of them. Not only does he have next level skill, he can turn on his aggression to completely overwhelm opponents.
This clip showcases Saenpon going for blood against his opponent. He turns the pace up and unleashes a nice series of punches and elbows while avoiding his opponent’s attacks. This display of aggression makes him a tough fighter to face.
#6. His Footwork is Next Level
Once the fighter in blue realized that he was not winning the striking war, he immediately moves to clinch Saenpon. While Saenpon is skilled in the clinch, he does not have the same advantages that he does at a distance. For this reason, he uses footwork and arm control to avoid being locked down in the clinch.
This clip showcases that beautiful footwork in action as Saenpon stay on the outside of he opponents lead leg to control him. Look at the footwork and arm control as he goes for the sweep.
#7. His Aggressive Elbows
One of the best ways to counter someone who is coming forward is to throw a well-timed elbow. Elbows can hurt an opponent and take away their vision when the blood starts dripping down.
This clip showcases Saenpon throwing a perfectly timed right elbow that cuts his opponent as he moves forward. This is a great technique to use when you have someone trying to push forward into the clinch.
Besides being skilled with the right elbow, Saenpon is also able to use his left elbow strike.
#8. His Clinch Defense
In order to be effective at range, Saenpon needs to be able to avoid his opponent’s clinch. To do this he uses a number of techniques to tie up his opponent so the referee will separate the fighters.
This clip demonstrates Saenpon using the body lock to effectively lock down his opponent before he can be effective in the clinch.
Besides locking down his opponent before they get into the clinch, he also controls his opponent when they do end up clinching.
In Summary, here are some of the things that Saenpon does very well:
- Saenpon (Red) is very good at staying relaxed, not making any unnecessary movements or tensing his muscles
- He sets up his strikes with feints, making it difficult for his opponent (blue) to gauge his offense
- Defensively, Saenpon blocks almost every attack his opponent throws at him
- He utilizes his punches very well throughout the fight, setting them up with good combinations
- As his opponent is charging forward, he counters him very well with strong elbows
- He also makes it very difficult for his opponent to get inside the clinch, using the long guard and sweeping his opponent on numerous occasions
- Once inside the Clinch, Saepon ties up his opponent and nullifies his attacks.
Saenpon is one of the many young talented fighters in Thailand. Right now he hasn’t quite established himself at the elite level, but he’s still a young fighter. He has a fighting style that I love watching because it showcases Muay Thai at its finest. I am looking forward to seeing what Saenpon can do in the future as he continues to face tougher competition.
All of the techniques and strategies that Saenpon uses in this fight are listed in my new book Muay Thai Counters. If you like reading about Muay Thai strategy and Counter tactics, I highly recommend you read my books.