The beauty of Muay Thai is subjective to the millions of fans of the sport around the world. While some enthusiasts gravitate to the delicate finesse of a technician’s movement and deft attacks, others marvel in the cutting, mechanical poetry of a knee specialist.
However, what brings us all together is the appreciation for a fighter who manages to demonstrate an unstoppable dominance inside the ropes. Whether this is done through cerebral, premeditated strategy or unwavering, raw brutality, a relentless fighter is one that never takes no for an answer.
Today, we take a look at some of the most relentless fighters in the history of Muay Thai.
There are a small number of fighters in the history of Muay Thai that are synonymous with one particular weapon. When it comes to the left body kick, there is no fighter on earth that can match the sheer ferocity that Yodsanklai Fairtex can generate with this strike.
Yodsanklai, otherwise known as “The Boxing Computer,” is one of the most feared fighters of the modern era. The multiple-time Muay Thai World Champion is a fighter that has struck fear into the hearts and minds of competitors for decades, and continues to do so, under the ONE Championship banner.
Multiple-time Muay Thai World Champion Nong-O Gaiyanghadao from the Evolve Fight Team is one of the most relentless competitors in Muay Thai history. Having competed in Muay Thai since the age of 10, Nong-O has won all there is to win in the world of Muay Thai. He is a five-division multiple-time World Champion, 4x Lumpinee Muay Thai World Champion, Rajadamnern Muay Thai World Champion, 2x Thailand National Champion, 3x Fighter of the Year, and more. He is also the first-ever ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Champion. Nong-O’s style is a blend of technical mastery mixed with ruthless power. Inside the ring, he is slick and tricky but also knows how to bring the heat. With the ability to kick well off both legs, Nong-O has been known to change in between orthodox and southpaw, depending on the situation. His ability to dictate fights and leave his opponents scratching their heads is what makes him so feared. And when he senses a finish, Nong-O is ruthless in going for the KO.
Kaensak Sor Ploenchit
From one technician to another, the name Kaensak Sor Ploenchit is one that is widely revered among Muay Thai historians. Kaensak earned his crust during the “Golden Age” of Muay Thai in the 1980s and 90s, wowing fans with his beautiful understanding of the arts and his unremitting spirit.
A Lumpinee and Rajadamnern titlist, Kaensak should undoubtedly be a part of every educated Muay Thai fan’s list of the greatest fighters of all time. This incredible fighter notched up over 200 wins at a time when the competition was among the most fierce in the history of the sport.
Pud Pad Noy Worawoot
Pud Pay Noy made his senior debut at the tender age of 14 before going on to carve out one of the most impressive careers in the history of Muay Thai. Known for his devastatingly brutal left leg, competitors would shake at the sheer mention of the name of Pud Pad Noy Worawoot. With a career record of 135-15, it is not hard to see why.
Renowned by everyone from the common man on the street to the King of Thailand, Pud Pad Noy was the multi-weight World Champion that captured the imagination of fans during the 1970s. As such, “The Golden Leg” will forever go down as one of the most relentless Muay Thai fighters of all time.
When you talk about talent, ensure you drop the name Somluck Khamsing in there. The man known as the “Pride of Thailand” for his talents in Muay Thai and boxing, Somluck was a fighter that was, in some ways, a victim of his own success. Given that he had the talent to translate his skill set from Muay Thai to boxing – becoming the first-ever Thai to win an Olympic gold medal in the process – set him apart from most other fighters.
However, when it came to Muay Thai, Somrak was that good that he was ranked at number 1 in both the Lumpinee and Rajadamnern. The problem was that the promoters saw his talents as that superior to others that they would not allow him to fight for either title.
Apidej Sit Hirun
The original “Golden Leg,” Apidej Sit Hirun is nothing short of Muay Thai royalty. Speaking of royalty, the king of Thailand declared Apidej as the “Fighter of the Century” in the 1900s, given his reputation as a competitor that was as close to unbeatable as had ever been seen. Apidej is known as one of the hardest kickers in Muay Thai history.
There are fewer fighters on this list that are as relentless, in the classic meaning of the word, than this guy. A true warrior and one of the most inspiring fighters in the history of Muay Thai.
Wherever the sport of Muay Thai is mentioned around the world, Saenchai will be one of the first fighters to come to mind. On the flip side, the incredibly agile technician may not be the first fighter that we think of when the word “relentless” is mentioned, but this has more to do with the legendary Muay Femur’s ability to make things look just so easy.
Behind this Muay Thai master’s spellbinding skillset is a complete obsession with the “Art of the Eight Limbs.” He had a relentless devotion to Thailand’s national martial art, if you will. Oh, and just because he makes it look so pretty does not render him any less fierce than the fighters on this list.
Dieselnoi Chor Thanasukarn
Dieselnoi, the “King of Knees,” was so good that he went years without a fight. There was no politics involved – fighters just flat out refused to take on the long and rangy Muay Khao (knee fighter). Footage of Dieselnoi’s brutal knees and elbows from the clinch still make even the most hardened Muay Thai historian wince, given how incredibly powerful and effective they were.
When it comes to a relentless fighter, fewer Muay Thai legends were as singlemindedly ferocious as Dieselnoi. A legend of the game, Dieselnoi is one of a handful of fighters to beat the legendary Samart Payakaroon.