Singmanee Kaewsamrit is one of a handful of Muay Thai fighters to have successfully made the transition from being a stadium champion in Bangkok to becoming a major international icon of the sport.
In 2012 he won the Thai Fight 67 kgs tournament which saw him fighting in front of a mainstream television audience for the first time in his career and he says this remains a favourite memory,
“My biggest achievement was receiving a trophy from the King after my fight in Thai Fight. I truly felt honored to be able to meet the King face to face and I really cherish that trophy.”
During his career Singmanee has held the WPMF 147 lbs Title as well as the Siam Omnoi, Rajadamnern and WMC 140 lbs titles winning around 150 fights and facing some of the most famous fighters both from Thailand and abroad.
One of the most formidable achievements was qualifying for Thai Fight because he had to defeat five separate Thai opponents in an Isuzu Tournament which took place over a series of Saturdays at Siam Omnoi Stadium in Bangkok, outpointing Superbon Lookjaomaesaivaree in the final.
Singmanee has fought in France, England, Russia and Japan but says when it comes to competing there is no place like home,
“It's always a great feeling fighting in Lumpinee and Rajadamnern Stadium in front of all my fellow countrymen but I especially like competing inside the Omnoi Stadium because I have had a lot of success there.”
Although he has primarily been facing foreign fighters for the past few years Singmanee is not afraid to test himself against the top Thais and says he is happy to accept any fight,
“I don't really have a preference as to who I fight. Fighting Thais I think can be quite predictable as we all train and move a similar way inside the ring whereas Westerners can be very unpredictable at times.”
The 31 year old recently moved to Singapore to join the renowned team of trainers at Evolve MMA but despite being in demand as a pad holder he says he has no intention of retiring,
“I don’t want to stop fighting, and I will be fighting again at the King’s Cup in Bangkok in December. There are a lot of ‘Yod Muay’ here at Evolve MMA like Namsaknoi and Orono who are around the same size as me so the training is very good.”
Former Lumpinee champion Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichok is making a big impression on the MMA scene with three wins out of three so far this year and Singmanee, who is a few years younger, admits he would be interested in following in the footsteps of his Thai team mate,
“I would definitely like to try MMA in the near future.”
For the time being he is just happy to be an active Muay Thai world champion who has the opportunity to teach and train overseas,
“I started Muay Thai when I was around 10 years old at the Sor Siripong Gym in Surin and I think I got 50 Baht for my first fight. Now I am a trainer at the most famous martial arts gym in Asia and a world champion and I can provide well for my children, all thanks to Muay Thai!”
Interview and translation courtesy of Evolve MMA.