PKSaenchai Gym: the award winning Thai camp eager to expand
With a mass of champions and awards to its name already it is hard to believe PKSaenchai Gym has only been around for four years. Located in the west of Bangkok, the gym was founded by Somchai Thertrungruang who is known in the Muay Thai community as ‘Sia Kaek’.
Already a prominent figure at the stadiums, Sia Kaek had two well-known fighters Nampon PKStereo and Sirimongkol PKStereo, who were based at other camps. He wanted to build up more fighters without having to travel all over Bangkok to check on them and so the PKSaenchai Gym was born.
The gym is seen as one of the best on the current scene and has been awarded ‘Gym of the Year’ by both Channel 7 Stadium and Lumpinee Stadium in the past. It was also the runner up at the latter stadium last year, while getting the equivalent award from the Society of Muay Thai Journalists.
These days Sai Kaek is starting to take a back seat and his son, Therdsak Thertrungruang, is now taking over the day to day running of the business and has ambitious plans.
He has a background in advertising and hopes to spearhead an international expansion for the PKSaenchai brand,
“I just graduated with a degree in advertising from the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce and have started to really get involved in the running of the gym in the last six months. I want to have the name PKSaenchai Gym recognized around the world and to branch out in the future with our own brand of Muay Thai equipment.”
Therdsak spoke of what is needed to become a fighter at PKSaenchai gym in this eyes of his father.
“They don’t need to be super talented, but there has to be something there that he sees that he thinks the trainers can develop, a special skill or something. They have to catch his eye. Also we have to check closely the character of the boxer before they are accepted, to make sure they aren’t a bad person that could bring problems to the gym later.”
The list of top fighters competing under the PKSaenchai banner is almost too long to mention but includes names such as Saenchai, Pakorn, Wanchalong, Muangthai, Kongsak and Gaonar as well as many more.
The name PKSaenchai came from Muay Thai superstar Saenchai Sor Kingstar, who joined the team towards the end of his stadium career. Although he is not currently based there he still coaches and corners some of the up and coming fighters.
The gym itself has everything a Muay Thai fighter needs with four boxing rings, multiple bags and modern fitness equipment. The training is closely monitored from start to finish with an experienced team of pad holders and trainers checking what everyone is doing and taking notes.
With the weekend shows on TV starting in the afternoons, the boxers who have fights lined up at Channel 7 will start their training an hour before everyone else to help acclimatize to the earlier fight times.
The gym also trains fighters from outside fighting under the Por Lakboon and Sorjortongprajin names, but are very careful in who trains and fights out of the camp after having problems in the past when a fighter from another gym was suspected of being involved in fixing a match.
Sia Kaek is one of the more high profile gamblers on the current scene and bets large amounts on his fighters so the gym has to be very careful to protect its reputation. Problems that can arise due to people wanting to make some fast cash either by bribing a fighter to lose or trying to slip them a sedative.
There are strict rules to make sure the fighters get enough rest. They are even required to give up their mobile telephones at night time to ensure that they get enough sleep.
With more money to be found with fights overseas PKSaenchai Gym are actively looking to get their boxers fighting abroad more according to Therdsak,
“It is good for our fighters to get more matches overseas, we are currently working with ONE Championship and some Japanese promotions to get more fights, it is good for the fighters as the money is better than they will make in the stadiums.”
Therdsak also spoke of the difficulties involved in being one of the most prominent figures in today’s Thailand fight scene,
“It can be hard for my father sometimes, groups of gamblers will sometimes try to join together and turn the result of fights to try and take his money, he gets tired and disheartened at times, but we have come to far now and we have too many fighters and people under our care to stop and give up.”