14 Disember 2010

Saenchai Sor Kingstar

Muay Thai is traditionally regarded as a young mans’ sport so for Saenchai Sor Kingstar to have remained at the top of his game for the best part of a decade is a quite remarkable achievement.

It is an achievement that was recognized by the Sport Authority of Thailand when Saenchai was named fighter of the year for the second time in 2008, almost ten years after he first won this prestigious accolade in 1999.

Saenchais’ longevity is quite exceptional and he actually believes he is improving with age, ‘I think I am a better fighter now than I was when I was first named fighter of the year because in 1999 I won just one award but last year I won five,’ he says.

Aged 28, Saenchai is almost universally regarded as the best pound for pound Muay Thai fighter in the world and he believes he still has much more to offer, ‘Young fighters are always emerging but that does not worry me, it is normal. It is good for me to feel pressure. If I feel pressure then I will not let myself lose.’

Since 1999 Saenchais’ appeal has gone global. The man who has won the Lumpinee Stadium Championship in three different weight classes, moving up a staggering 15 lbs in the process, has increasingly had to look abroad to find new challenges, fighting in England and Australia already this year.

Having already conquered Thailand it is only natural that Saenchai should want to take on the world, ‘My next three fights will be in England, France and Holland. I am proud to be considered the best fighter in Thailand and I like being able to fight abroad,’ he says.

Saenchai knows he cannot continue to fight fo ever and acknowledges that, ‘I am already very old in Muay Thai years with 20 years of experience. I don’t think I will carry on fighting past the age of 35. After that I would like to have my own gym, I like teaching tactics and of fering instructions but I don’t want to actually be a trainer myself, if I have my own gym I will hire the trainers.’

However time does not appear to be catching up with Saenchai just yet and he is looking forward to testing himself against more foreign fighters, ‘There are many farangs who are good in Muay Thai but right now Thais are still better than farangs because Thais start training when they are very young,’ he says.

For Saenchai there are advantages to fighting overseas, ‘I am not allowed to use the cartwheel kick here in Thailand beause it is against the rules but I am allowed to do it if I am fighting abroad. It was my own idea but it comes from the Thai sport Ta Kro and I like it because it is different. Also if I fight abroad I can fight at my natural weight of 65kgs whereas in Thailand I normally have to cut weight to get down to 57kgs,’ he says.

Innovative and entertaining techniques such as the cartwheel kick have endeared Saenchai to fight fans and he has developed his own unique fighting style, ‘I like to think for myself and to do things for myself rather than following anybody else. I don’t really have a role model or even a favourite fighter, only myself!’ Saenchai may claim not to haveany role models himself but his seven year old son may well be following in his fathers footsteps

He has been training in Muay Thai for a year and according to Saenchai, ‘He really likes it and I think he is It is up to him if he wants to fight or not, I am not going to force him to be a fighter. At the moment he plays rather than trains.’

Such is Saenchais’ dominance that fighters in Thailand are increasingly reluctant to fight him and the man from Mara Sarakham is having to look further and further afield to find opponents. He may be fast approaching his third decade as a fighter but Saenchai Sor Kingstar is still very much number one and it is not a role he has any intention of relinquishing.

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