Ten fighters shortlisted for Muay Thai’s biggest award
The time has almost come to announce the candidates for the Sports Writers of Thailand ‘Fighter of the Year’ award, the most prestigious award in the entire Muay Thai world.
A shortlist of ten fighters was released this week. These are the men who have performed the best during the period in question, which ranges from May 7th, 2018 to July 3rd, 2019, and the panel will consider each fighter’s record as well as the calibre of their opposition and the manner of their victories and losses.
The decision on who will be crowned fighter of the year will take place on the 4th of July and the winner presented with the trophy on the 20th of July. These are the ten fighters in contention:
Tawanchai PKSaenchaigym was riding a seven fight win streak that included three straight decision wins over last years winner Gulabdam SorJorPiekUThai as well as a convincing KO win over Sangmanee Sathiangym, another previous winner. However that winning streak was snapped by Sangmanee on Wednesday, potentially opening the door to the other contenders. His record for the year now stands at 7-1.
Gaonar PKSaenchaigym also looks a strong contender for the award and arguably has faced the highest grade of opponents in his run in to the vote, with five wins and one draw and one loss for the year. Two of the wins, the draw and the loss in his final fight before the vote were against Seksan Or Kwanmuang, where Gaonar frustrated ‘the man who yields to no one’ with his slick, technical style. The loss to Seksan at the end of May was also disputed, with many feeling he deserved the win. Gaonar’s record for the year 5-1-1
Kompatak Sinbimuaythai is one of the more prolific fighters in the chase, with 11 fights in total for the year. The Phuket based warrior is known for a good all round style, with a strong clinch and knee game and a dangerous high kick that has seen him score several KO’s in the past. Two points losses for the year against Petchrung Sitnayokgaibattery and fellow contender Kiewpayak Jitmuangnon won’t help his cause though and he finished the year with a 9-2 record.
Rungkit Mohbeskamalais another busy fighter with 11 fights also for the year and he even managed to squeeze in a couple of fights in Japan, that won’t count in the vote. Rungkit’s year started on May 8th with a points loss to Petchdam Petchyindeeacademy, but he avenged that loss with a points win over Petchdam a month later and beat Petchdam again on points in November. He also beat fellow contender Rodtang Jitmuangnon on points in August, but decision losses to Suakim Sitsortortaew, and Superlek Kiatmoo9 will make it difficult for him to make the final selection. Rungkit finished the year with a third round TKO win over former award winner Petuthong Or Kwanmuang, ending with a 8-3 record.
Rodtang has the lowest amount of fights on record for all the contenders with a total of six for the year, with several fights abroad for ONE Championship impacting on his stadium appearances. Among the record was a points win over Rotlek PKSaenchaimuaythai gym and two thrilling, hard fought decision wins over Chorfar Tor Sangtiennoi, where he picked up cuts in both encounters. The only blemish in Rodtang’s record is a points loss to fellow contender Rungkit Mohbestkamala that saw him finish with a 5-1 record.
Rungnarai Mor Rattanabandit
Rungnarai also fought 11 times. The young warrior from Buriram, fighting out of the fabled Kiatmoo9 camp, fought a diverse range of fighters, across promotions, beating Palangpon Petchyindeeacademy and Petchsuphan Por Daorungruang by decision. In December Rungnarai fought on the Lumpinee birthday show, beating Jomhod Eminentair and winning the Lumpinee stadium 115lbs title in the process. The only blemishes on Rungnarai’s record were a draw against Petchphuthai Sitsarawatsua last July 2018 and a KO loss to Detchaiya Petchyindeeacademy in February saw him round out the year with a 9-1-1 record.
Kiewpayak is the younger brother of Panpayak Jitmuangnon, a three times winner of this award. He brings a eight fight record to the table for the year. Kiewpayak started off with a points win over Morakot Petchseemuan in May 2018 and also scored decision wins over Yothin FAGroup and Kompatak Sinbimuaythai. His only blemish in the year was a third round TKO loss to Chorfar Tor Sangtiennoi back in December. Kiewpayak finished the year with a stoppage win in the third round over Chalerm Parunchai on the Koh Samui mega show on Wednesday, finishing with a 7-1 record for the year.
Kongsuk is the first of two Sitsarawatsua fighters to make the contenders list and brings an 8 fight record to the table with the highlight of his year a points win over Worawut Baoweejeans back in March to win the Lumpini stadium 122lb title. With his only loss for the year, a points loss to Chailar Por Lakboon, Kongsuk was hoping to further his claim on the award with a win over Ronachai Sor Ramintra this coming Tuesday at Lumpinee, in the final show to be included in this years run up to the award, but unfortunately had to pull out with a rib injury at the last minute, finishing the year with a 7-1 record.
Kongsuk’s stablemate also comes in with a strong showing for the year, with points wins over former Lumpinee and Rajadamnern champion Ongri Sor Dechapan and points wins over Jomhod Eminentair and both Chokdee PKSaenchaigym and Wacharapon PKSaenchaigym. His toughest test in his quest to win the award will come on Tuesday though where he takes on another PKSaenchaimuaythai gym star, Prajanchay, at Lumpinee. The only blips on his record for the year were a draw and a points loss to fellow award contender Petchsommai Sor Sommai and his record for the year currently stands at 6-1-1 with one fight still to come.
Petchsommai Sor Sommai
The final of the ten fighters in contention Petchsommai Sor Sommai started and finished the year with stoppage wins, beating Chokplerngrit Por Lakboon in the fourth round back in August 2018 and stopping Petchpailin Sitnumnoi in May. He has a draw and a win over fellow contender Kompetch Sitsarawatsua and the only blemish on his record is a points loss to Rajadamnern champion Petchsuphan Por Daorungruang back in March. Petchsommai finished the year with a 6-1-1 record.
With all ten fighters very close in terms of wins and losses, credibility and levels of opposition will most likely play a part in the voting panels final decision. Tawanchai, despite the loss on Wednesday, looks to be the frontrunner along with his teammate Gaonar. But there have been some surprise decision in recent years and it will most likely be a tense final few days for all ten contenders, until the winner is announced this coming Wednesday.