Outside of the names Buakaw and Saenchai, most people in the West are unfamiliar with some of the Muay Thai stars in the sport. Unless you are a Muay Thai nerd like myself and sit on your computer watching old school Muay Thai fights, you probably only know a handful of the current crop of fighters.
In today’s world you can go online and see all of the top stars at the click of a button. YouTube channels are now dedicated to showcasing the best fighters that are currently dominating the top stadiums in Thailand.
If you did a quick survey and asked random people who the best Muay Thai fighters are they will probably say Buakaw or Yodsanklai, some may even tell you Saenchai (good answer). While Buakaw is a legend in the sport, the Thai’s do not consider him to be at the top of the game. They consider him to be a superstar in terms of popularity, but not skill.
When you talk about the best fighters in Thailand you have look at the most competitive weight divisions in the country. These weight divisions are all 60 kg (130lbs) and under. When you consider that the average height of Thai men is 1.7 m (5’7”), it is understandable why the lighter weight divisions are so competitive.
These are the top 10 guys who are CURRENTLY fighting in the major stadiums of Lumpinee and Ratchadamnern.
These are the weight divisions in Thailand that have the most Thai fighters entering them. Most of the stadiums don’t even have weight classes that are higher than 70 kg (154lbs) because there is so little competition in those categories.
If you want to find out who is currently the best fighters in Thailand I will give you your cheat sheet right below. If someone asks you to name one of the top fighters in Thailand you can’t go wrong with any of the guys on the list below.
While there a lot of really good Thai fighters in Thailand this is a list of the best of the best:
#10: Superbank Sakchaichote
The following next 4 spots are interchangeable in my books. Superbank can beat any of the guys above him and vice versa. In fact, Superbank recently beat Sam-A in a 4 man tournament that took place in the new Lumpinee stadium. He is a fighter that is extremely technical and fun to watch. Although he’s lost recently to both Sangmanee and Superlek in the past month, he’s got enough talent to beat either of those guys on any day.
Check out a highlight video of Superbank here
#9: Superlek Wor.Sungprapai
Superlek recently fought Superbank and won in a match that took place Songkla, Southern Thailand. He is hovering the top of the rankings in Thailand and is arguably fighting in the most competitive weight division in Thailand. Superlek is an orthodox fighter that can beat any of the best guys on any given day. He was the winner of the 2012 sports authority boxer of the year award and has had a successful 2013 campaign. If you want to see a fighter with great knees you need to watch Superlek, he has some devastating attacks with his knees in the clinch and from a distance.
Check out a highlight video of Superlek here
#8: Sangmanee Sor Tienpo (Million Dollar Baby)
The Young 17 year old Sangmanee is definitely one of the most talented Muay Thai fighters currently fighting in the sport. He was a child prodigy that was trained by his father at a young age to become a champion. He is often called the “million dollar baby” and gets the same prize money as Saenchai when he fights in Lumpinee. Sangmanee recently lost to Sam-A in a close match that took place in Southern Thailand, which is why he is not higher on this list. Sangmanee currently trains with Muay Thai Legend Saenchai at the 13 coins gym in Bangkok. This is another reason why he continues to show why he’s the best in Thailand. For more information on these 17 year old Child prodigy read his story here.
Check out a highlight of Sangmaneee here
#7: Sam-A Kaiyanghadaogym
Sam-A is one of my favorite fighters to watch. He is extremely aggressive and always brings is A game to every fight. A lot of people are probably familiar with Sam-A even though they probably don’t realize – he is that beast on youtube doing 50 kicks in 22 seconds. He is a Southpaw fighter that has an incredible good left kick and even better hands. His fighting pace is the perfect blend of aggression and skill that allows him to get the better of most opponents he faces. Sam-A is one of my favorite fighters to watch on this list. Make sure you have a look at his highlight video below and see what I’m talking about.
Check out this awesome highlight video of Sam-A here
#6: Nong-O Kaiyanghadaogym
In a recent fight against Saenchai Nong-O almost defeated the legend at his own game. His extremely fast and powerful right kicks were almost able to land at will on Saenchai. Although he lost the fight on points, Nong-O showed why he is one of the best fighters in Thailand Today. Nong-O showcases lightning fast kicks that are almost unblockable when he’s on point. He is a fighter that fights the top guys in Thailand and win or lose, will always put on a great show. Look out for his amazing sweeps and beautiful technique in his fights.
Check out this highlight video of Nong-O here
#5: Panpayak Jitmuangnon
Panpayak Jitmuangnon was the recent winner of the 2013 Thailand sportswriters’ fighter of the year award. This is the most prestigious Muay Thai award that can be given out in the sport of Muay Thai – the award is the Muay Thai equivalent of getting the award for best actor at the Oscar awards. Panpayak is a current Champion at Ratchadamnern stadium and ended 2013 with a perfect record of 8-0. Given the fact that all of the sport writers think he’s currently the best in Thailand, he definitely deserves the top 5 spot. The only reason he’s not listed higher his he recently lost his last fight against a tough Wanchalong PKSaenchaimuaythaigym (Sitsornong).
Check out a recent fight from Panpayak Jitmuangnon here
#4: Pakorn PKSaenchaimuaythai
Pakorn is an extremely technical fighter to watch that trains and fights on the same team has the legend Saenchai. Recently Pakorn was in the nomination for the Sports writers Thai Boxer of the year award and just got beat out by the winner Panpayak who had an undefeated 2013 year. Look for Pakorn to continue to showcase his impressive skills in 2014 as he continues to fight the best guys in the sport.
Check out some of Pakorn’s highlights here
#3: Saenchai PKSaenchaimuaythaigym
Saenchai is a living legend in the sport that is probably the most technical Thai fighter to ever fight in the sport. Even though Saenchai is very short for a Thai fighter, he is able to utilize his superior speed and quickness to get the better of most of his opponents. The only guys who have beat Saenchai in the last year are Petboonchu FA Group and Yodwicha Por Boonsit. The only way they manage to beat Saenchai is to lock him up in the clinch and neutralize all of his advantage that he has in the stand up. Saenchai is one of my favorite fighters and one of the all-time best fighters to ever fight in the sport.
Check out this awesome highlight video of Saenchai here
#2: Yodwicha Por Boonsit
The co-winner of the 2012 Sports writer fighter of the year shared with Sangmanee Sor Tienpo, Yodwicha is a fighter that is right at the top of the food chain. In 2013 we saw Yodwicha defeat legend Saenchai in the ring. He also went on to have an undefeated 2013 year where he only recently loss to Petboonchu FA group in a close match on points. He is known for he’s extremely good clinch which is one of the reason why he’s so consistently at the top. Yodwicha is still a teenage boy and is considered one of the best in Thailand. He is bigger for a Thai so it will be interesting to see what happens if he puts on weight and is able to fight foreigners in the heavier weight categories. He is a technician in his fights and is a fun guy to watch.
Check out this highlight of Yodwicha here
#1: Petboonchu FA Group
Petboonchu is the first fighter to ever defeat Saenchai twice in a row. A feat that will probably never be repeated by the time Saenchai retires from fighting. Petboonchu is a fighter that excels in the clinch and can beat all of the best fighters that were listed on here. Many consider Petboonchu to be one of the best clinchers currently fighting in the sport today. He recently won the 2013 Fighter of the year award. (Different than the Sportswriters Muay Thai Fighter of the year, but still very prestigious).
Check out Petboonchu’s highlight video here
This Thai fighter is a legend that is listed on the list of Top Muay thai fighters ever. While Singdam is still one of the best fighters in Thailand, he is has traded losses with some of the top guys. All of the fighters he has lost to in the last couple years are all ranked higher than him on this list. If you don’t know who Singdam is, make sure you check out some of his fights.
Check out Singdam’s highlights here
Saeksan Or Kwanmuang
Saeksan recently beat Pakorn PKSaenchaimuaythaigym in a fight that took place in Lumpinee Stadium. He was given the nickname “the man who yields to no one” and it definitely fits his fighting style. He is a fighter that pushes forward with aggressive punches and kicks looking to hurt his opponents. He had a vicious KO over previous fighter of the year Penake Singpatong last year that was made for the highlights. Anytime Saeksan is in the ring you can expect fireworks to go off as he will go forward no matter what.
Check out this brutal KO from Saeksan here
Did I miss Anyone?
Of Course there are other amazing fighters in Thailand, but these are the best of the best. They have almost all won major awards including sports writers’ boxer of the years and sports authority fighter of the year. If you don’t recognize most of the names it’s because none of these guys – except for Saenchai – fight against international opponents. Most of the international Thai stars all fight at 67 kg and higher. If i missed a current fighter who deserves to be on this list please let me know in the comments below.
Please Note: This list is due for an update to reflect some of the more current stars of the sport. Keep an eye out for an updated list of the best fighters of 2015. (There are definitely a few more fighters that should be added to the list and a few who won’t rank as high.)
If you don’t see your favorite fighter listed here there are 3 other lists to check out.
- Top 10 Muay Thai Fighters of All Time
- Top 10 Pound-For-Pound Rankings (Non-Thai)
- Top 10 International Thai Fighters Everyone Should Know