Reflecting on Thailand’s Golden Age Fighters

The fighters of Thailand’s golden age showcased some of the most epic knockouts in Muay Thai history. The camps in Thailand were churning out KO artists like they were going out of fashion and the smaller 6oz gloves they wore when fighting only complimented their accuracy.

Of course, I’m talking about the “golden age” or golden era which ran roughly from the mid-late eighties to early-mid nineties.

The fighters competing around this time were part of a huge pool of talent and the stadium belts were changing hands on a regular basis. In fact, many great fighters from this time didn’t manage to win a coveted Lumpinee or Rajadamnern belt but are still considered better than some of the modern era champions.

This is why comparing fighters from different eras is so difficult; fighters like Saenchai dominated the game for 15-20 years but many would argue that his level of competition was not as high as it was during the golden age. It would seem that fighters like Samart had much tougher competition during his active years as a fighter and still dominated his opponents.

Of course, Saenchai has spent a lot of his career fighting above his optimal weight but you could also say the same for some of the golden age greats such as Karuhat Sor Supawan and Hippy Singmanee who often had a weight and size disadvantage when fighting and still managed to do great things in the sport.

The legendary fighters delivering the knockouts in this video are Anantasak Panyuthapum, Samson Issan, Veeraphol Sahaprom, Namkabuan Nongkeepayuyuth, Kongnapa Watcharawit, Chatchai Paiseetong, Samart Payakaroon, Hippy Singmanee, Wangchnannoi Sor Palangchai, Ramon Dekkers, Yodkhunpon Sittraypum, Boonlai Sor Thanikul, Chamuekpet Hapalang and Orono Por Muang Ubon.

With the ever-increasing influence of gambling and the influx of foreigners training in Thailand, it seems extremely unlikely that we’ll ever see so many legendary champions with this kind of skill all peak in the same era.

Who would make your top ten list of the greatest Muay Thai fighters of all time?

About Aaron Jahn

Aaron is an active muay Thai fighter and coach from the UK. He holds a BSc (hons) degree in Strength & Conditioning and is currently studying a Sports Therapy Master's degree in Leeds, UK. Aaron has fought over 20 times in Thailand and has spent years training at different muay Thai camps all over the country.
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