The Sakmongkol vs Jongsanan rivalry is amongst the most legendary rivalries in the sport of muay Thai. An incredible eight fights took place between these two hardened athletes, four of which were knockouts and one fight that won the Fight of the Year award and was nominated for Fight of the Decade.
The fight I am referring to starts at around 1:11 of this video and has been coined “The Elbow Fight” by muay Thai fans across the world.
The story of this fight is almost as good as the fight itself…
It was the third fight between the two, and Jongsanan had jumped from 127lbs to 132lbs for the fight. Sakmongkol had been allowed a 2lbs advantage and weighed in at 134lbs to make things more interesting for the gamblers.
Round two of the fight is that round that everybody talks about – the round where Jongsanan and Sakmongkol try to elbow lumps out of each other for the full three minutes.
Interestingly, in the third, Jongsanan came out and switched his focus to knee strikes. A gambler had offered him 20,000 baht (about $570) to win the fight in between rounds which added fuel to the already blazing fire.
In the fourth, Sakmongkol got back into the fight – it turns out that the same gambler had made Sakmongkol the exact same offer to beat Jongsanan after the third round.
Both fighters were offered more money by other gamblers after the fourth, too.
Sakmongkol went on to get the judges decision in this particular bout.
Out of the eight fights, Jongsanan won five and Sakmongkol won three; two knockout victories for Jongsanan, two knockout victories for Sakmongkol, three points victories for Jongsanan and a points victory for Sakmongkol.
Jongsanan has said that the pair didn’t really know each other well when the rivalry started, but they became good friends after the third fight, and it was their friendship which fueled the later bouts.
The Sakmongkol vs Jongsanan rivalry will go down in history as one of the greatest rivalries of all time.
Both fighters now live and work as muay Thai trainers in the United States.