It’s the end of an era in Muay Thai with Petboonchu FA Group and Sam-A Gaiyanghadaogym becoming the latest in a long line of top Muay Thai fighters to retire from active competition in Thailand and move to Singapore.
Three years ago the likes of Petboonchu, Sam-A, Nong-O Gaiyanghadaogym, Saketdao Phetpayathai, Peneak Sitnumnoi and Ponsaneh Sitmonchai could be found fighting on the biggest cards of the year at Rajadamnern and Lumpinee.
Between them they’ve won just about every title Muay Thai has to offer but now they are all working full time as trainers in Singapore alongside several other big names from the sport like Orono Wor Petchpun and Namsaknoi Yudthagarngamtorn.
Peneak and Petboonchu are still relatively young but both had begun the process of winding down their fighting careers well before moving to Singapore. The rest are veterans of 300+ fights who, while still competing at the pinnacle of the sport when they stopped, are already slightly past their heyday.
In an emotional post on Facebook yesterday Sam-A thanked everyone who had contributed towards his 24 year fighting career. The multiple time Lumpinee champion stated that with his 33rd birthday approaching he felt the time had come to call time on a career which culminated with him winning the Toyota Marathon tournament last Christmas day.
Sam-A won the Lumpinee ‘Fighter of the Year’ award in 2011 but narrowly missed out on winning the prestigious Sports Writer’s ‘Fighter of the Year’ award a few months later when he was beaten by Peneak. The two will soon be colleagues and can reminisce about the part they played in one of the more memorable fights of the decade.
In terms of silverware few collections can compare to that of Petboonchu. He won an incredible 14 different titles in nine different divisions and will be reunited with several of his former opponents at Evolve MMA including Sam-A, Orono, Nong-O and Saketdao.
While Muay Thai fans will be sad that these legendary fighters are no longer going to be competing in the Bangkok stadiums they have all earned the right to make a comfortable living from the sport without putting their bodies on the line by fighting every month.
And as one era ends another is beginning with young fighters like Panpayak Jitmuangnon, Sangmanee Sor Tienpo, Ronachai Sunti-Ubon, Ginsanglek Tor Laksong and Muangthai PKSaenchaigym stepping up to replace the likes of Sam-A and Petboonchu.
Even the very best Thai fighters only receive purses in the region of 100,000-150,000 Baht at the Bangkok stadiums and their managers and camps often take a cut of around 50 per cent. At Evolve MMA they can earn considerably more than this per month so it seems likely that more of Muay Thai’s biggest names will be moving to Singapore once their competitive careers are done.
For more information visit: Evolve MMA.