Best Muay Thai Fighter (continued) – ‘Farang’ Muay Thai Legends
There is no doubt that being born in Thailand and perhaps straight into the traditional culture of Muay Thai itself; in some cases beginning training before even going to school (whether through choice or not), has a huge benefit for aspiring young Nak Muay.
The Thais have always and continue to dominate the countries national sport. Training from a young age, supported by experienced Kru and often family members that are or have also been professionals, training in intense heat, often twice a day at an insane pace & volume, puts them at a great advantage over the rest of the world where this culture is not embraced.
Native Muay Thai fighters are so damn good at the sport – their entire culture and society inspire and encourage them to become the best which they have often proved time and time again around the world. But with enough will, dedication, and sweat some farang or western Nak Muay have gone on to prove their own worth in the homeland of this tough sport.
The following list is about them; those Non-Thai Muay Thai fighters who, over the years, have won some of the most important titles in the game. Check out the stories of arguably the best foreign Nak Muay.
When you’ve got 7 World Muay Thai Championship titles under your belt, there’s no doubt you’re one of the most accomplished fighters in this sport. Dany Bill is definitely one of Muay Thai’s aces, and more. Born in Cameroon, but raised in France, Dany was one of those incredible athletes that were meant for Muay Thai glory.
Like many greats, he started his training early on, at the age of 13, after watching a match on TV. Only two years later, in 1988, he would become French Muay Thai Champion. He was also the first to set a precedent for a farang to win the World Title in Thailand, in 1993 on the world reknowned King’s Birthday event.
Dany Bill boasts wins over some of the best fighters at the time including Nokweed Devy, Pananonlek, Saimai Suk, Orono Por Muang Ubon, Joel Cesar, Joe Prestia and Ramon Dekkers. With many titles more and an impressive 115 wins out of a total of 126 fights, Dany Bill is today now one of the best Muay Thai trainers out there; the owner of Narai Gym in France.
JWP John Wayne Parr
Probably one of the Muay Thai fighters with the most titles out there, but with the most nicknames as well, John Parr has fought well and hard to win his place among the top players. Whether you call him JWP, John Wayne Parr – after the famous Hollywood actor and thus suitably the “The Gunslinger”, JWP has no fewer than 21 titles, 10 out of which are World Championship titles.
The Australian fighter started training in taekwondo and kickboxing at 11, and had his first Muay Thai bout at 16. He trained under the accomplished Blair Moore, whose training helped him win several important matches. But what truly led his rise to greatness were the four years spent in a Muay Thai camp full-time in Thailand training seven days a week; twice a day.
Some of his most notable fights include Yodesnklai Fairtex, Buakaw, Orono Por.Muang Ubon & Sakmongkol Sithchuchok. Between 2007-2008 John Wayne Parr took part in the Contender Asia and made it to the final but lost after picking himself up twice in the first round to Yodsenklai in their second of three meetings.
He continues to fight in his own organisation CMT (Caged Muay Thai) and more recently at Lion Fight on the 23 October 2015 where the the former WKA, WMC, WKN and ISKA world champion John Wayne Parr went into a rubber match with Cosmo Alexandre with an official record of 88-30-1 (40 knockouts). Unfortunately JWP lost this match by decision. At the time of writing JWP (who turns 40 this year) says there is plenty more to come and a busy year ahead!: “I refuse to let that be a factor. Plan is four fights this year. Two on CMT. One in England June 11 against Michael Wakeling. Possibly another one in America later in the year.”
Another great Muay Thai fighters from outside of Thailand this time from the East; Japanese-born Toshio Fujiwara is arguably one of the best champions out there, a living legend, all due to his impressive achievements. Fujiwara is still remembered for winning 126 of his 144 total fights, 99 of which were incredibly KOs!
Fighting in the lightweight division, he was also the first Rajadamnern Stadium champion not to have been born in Thailand,beating Mongsawan Ruk Changmai, as well as the first to have won a Muay Thai title in Bangkok. He went on to win a world title in the shape of the Shin-Kakutojutsu World Lightweight championship title beating Thai Sepree Kiatsompop.
After retiring in 1983, Toshio Fujiwara became a trainer, and produced some of the best Muay Thai fighters of subsequent generations.
Jean Charles Skarbowksy
Dubbed “The Tattoed Dragon”, JCS, or simply Jeannot, Skarbowsky is another retired kickboxer that made history in Muay Thai. From a total of 101 fights, JCS won 75 matches, and 55 of those were exciting knockouts.
This French fighter is a three-time European Muay Thai Champion of the welterweight division, and also one of the best non-Thai boxers to have ever fought in Thailand. Twice ranked as number 1 at Rajadamnenrn Stadium, Skarbowsky’s career was not a smooth one. Following a severe hand injury in 1997, he was forced to retire, but despite physicians’ diagnoses, he managed to return to professional fighting only two years later, winning the I.S.K.A. Muay Thai World title at 65 kg in 2000.
He continued to fight on until 2006 collecting impressive victories over names such as Orono Por Muang Ubol, Kaoponlek Luksuntham, Suriya Sor Ploenchit and Lamsongkram Chuwattana. He also fought Baukaw and John Wayne Parr before retiring. Today, he is one of the most impressively skilled trainers out there.
It’s no wonder the Japanese make it to the list of top farang Muay Thai champions so often. Much like Takeda, they often specialize in more than one combat sport, which might play an important part in giving them a competitive edge over adversaries.
Though at a first glance his statistics don’t seem as impressive as other fighters’ – 45 wins out of a total 72 with 34 knockouts, Takeda is on this list for good reasons. He ranked high in Rajadamnern Stadium competitions, and for a while there competed professionally in K-1 matches fighting the likes of Buakaw and Andy Souwer. Not only that, but he’s a 5th dan black belt in karate, and was one of the best welterweight division fighters out there – he intentionally increased his weight to get there.
Ramon “The Diamond” Dekkers was one of the more spectacular fighters in the world of Muay Thai. His matches were real shows that drove fans crazy for him, but it wasn’t just his ring presence, it was his masterful technique as well. “The Turbine from Hell”, as they also dubbed him, had started as a youth with judo and boxing, then evolved to Muay Thai.
Dekkers had collected 8 World Muay Thai Championship titles when he retired in 2001, leaving behind an impressive career anyone would be proud of: 223 matches, 186 wins, 95 knockouts. No wonder they called him “The Diamond”, everything he did in Muay Thai was impressive, even the fact that he was active in all divisions, from featherweight to super welterweight.
Sadly Dekkers died from a heart attack at only 43 whilst riding a bicycle to the gym. A true legend of Muay Thai and one of our best Muay Thai Fighters of all time.
Still active on the Muay Thai scene, Hiroki Ishii, another Japanese contender on our list, is a proud champion of the Rajadamnern Stadium. He was the fifth farang ever to have won the title, at the super lightweight division, in a bout against Apisak K.T. Gym. He successfully defended the title twice.
He also fought for the WMC World Super lightweight title at (63.5kg/140lbs) on two occasions but was defeated by Thai technician Singmanee Sor Srisompong in Japan and later at Rajadamnern Stadium by Yodkhunpon F.A.Group. In 2014 he face Kaew Fairtex for the WPMF World Super lightweight (140lbs / 63.503kg) but was stopped early in round two.
Hiroki Ishii won the Japanese championship at the lightweight division in 2000, and managed to keep the title for himself an impressive eight years in a row. Out of a total 78 eight matches so far, he’s won 55, 27 of which were by knockout. Ishii is still competing.
SEE MORE OF HIROKI ISHII HERE:
|Martial Arts – Ishii Hiroki Kickboxing Super Technic||Martial Arts – Ishii Hiroki Kickboxing Super Technic Vol.2||Muay Thai kick boxing breaking|
|Title||Martial Arts – Ishii Hiroki Kickboxing Super Technic [Japan DVD] SPD-5223||Martial Arts – Ishii Hiroki Kickboxing Super Technic Vol.2 [Japan DVD] SPD-5224||Muay Thai kick boxing breaking (2013) ISBN: 4883936074 [Japanese Import]|
This French Muay Thai fighter has been active for about 12 years now, and is still very much active in competitions. Like many others, he discovered Muay Thai at an early age, and was so attracted by it, nothing stood in his way to excellence.
Though he has competed often in European kickboxing, Pinca seems to prefer Muay Thai, where he’s known for his clean and sharp technique. In his restless career, Pinca has gathered 117 fights with a whooping 91 wins, 33 of which were knockouts.
He is a W.B.C. Muaythai world champion, W.P.K.C. European Kickboxing Champion, and French Muay Thai Champion in the Class B category.
Notable fights include Diesellek, Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong, Saiyok Pumpanmuang, Big Ben Chor Praram 6,Kem Sitsongpeenong, a TKO victory over Thai Fight favourite Sudsakorn Sor Klinmee and even holds an impressive win over one of our ‘best muay thai fighters ever‘ top 5; Saenchai!
Vallaume is a bit atypical in this list, since he’s originally a boxer that has moved to the world of Muay Thai later. Of course the two sports are closely related and he made a sucessful career in both. He had access to Thai traineers from a young age and this previous training made him a rather special case in Muay Thai, where he’s known for a refined, particular technique although somewhat true to his origins; Vallaume prefered throwing punches rather than elbows.
Valluame boasts impressive wins over Orono Por Muang Ubon, KO victory over Sakhet Dao, Sakmongkol Sithchuchok and a draw with Yodsenklai Fairtex.
He is an eight-time Muay Thai World Champion in various competitions, and twice French Muay Thai Champion. His statistics are over the top: out of 112 fights, he’s won 102, 80 of them by knockout. What a record!
Another exciting Japanese Muay Thai fighter, Genji Umeno is also one of the best and most spectacular K-1 fighters in Japan. At one point, he was ranked 9th place at Lumpinee Stadium. At Lumpinee, he beat great names like Stephen Meleady by decision for the international WBC belt, TKO’d Pornsane Sitmonchai in round 4 and stopped fighter of the year Muangthai PK Saenchai in 4.
Genji Umeno became the new WBC Super Featherweight World Champion division on the 15th November 2014 beating Jompitchit Choowattana by decision at Lumpini.
In April 2015 Umeno competed for a Lumpini title losing by decision and competed at the Rajadamnern Stadium on the 10th September 2015 against current top ranking Thai fighter Saeksan Or. Kwanmuang losing by decesion.
Genji Umeno is still a young fighter that gives his best in the ring, and we can’t wait to see how he achieves his next accomplishments.
The French can be pretty ruthless when it comes to Muay Thai, and Damien Alamos is no exception. Like many other fighters who’ve made great progress in the highly competitive world of Muay Thai, Alamos had trained extensively in Thailand since a teen.
Before his apparent retirement in April 2014 at only 23 Alamos was active in the super lightweight division, where he won some very prestigious titles such as the W.M.C Title, W.P.M.F, THAI MAX Tournament & was the first foreigner to win a Lumpinee Stadium Champion title and then successfully defend it, which he successfully defended twice. Alamos was was also European and French Muay Thai Champion.
As you would expect Alamos’ opponents read like a whos who of Muay Thai; Saenchai, Orono Wor Petchpun, and Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong to name a few.
With over 9 important titles to his name before his seemingly early retirement in his prime; Damien Alamos must be on the list as one of the best foreign Muay Thai fighters in sport. Out of a total 74 fights, he has won 61; of those, 28 were won by KO.
Mourad Sari (Morad Sari)
Mourad Sari is one of the two non-Thai fighters to have ever received the highest rank at Lumpinee Stadium. The French-Algerian Muay Thai fighter was actually the first foreigner to win the sport’s homeland’s most prestigious title; to became Lumpinee champion.
Sari fought many strong adversaries and muay thai and kick boxing legends in their own right including Buakaw, Sakmongkol Sithchuchok, Saimai, Somchai Sor Nantana, and Masato.
Famously nicknamed “Diesel Black”, Nikiema is yet another French Muay Thai fighter on this list. During the 70s and 80s Nikiema made himself a name as one of the best farangs to ever compete in Thailand.
Out of a total 98 fights, this welterweight champion won 79 fights, 40 of them by knockout. Deservedly so, he was a three-time Muay Thai world champion, three-time European Muay Thai champion, and three-time French Muay Thai champion. Quite the record, huh?
Nikiema was also a contender for the Lumpinee Stadium belt, a fight which ended in controversy as his opponent; Thai Neungtrakan was rescued by the referee who stopped the fight apparently seconds before knockout! The urban myth about this fight is that following Mosad Sari’s victory, and Lumpini title win, the referee was given the order to stop the fight. Neungtran was blamed for Lom Muay (taking a dive), the fight was stopped and decided no contest. Apparently.. so that another of the nation’s revered titles would not be taken by the foreigners!
Liam has fought the who’s who of the world’s most famous Nak Muay including Saenchai, Pakorn, Sagetdao and Anuwat Keawsamrit.
Liam has fought at both Rajadamnern and Lumpinee stadiums and has been described by Saenchai as the best foreign fighter he had ever fought.
On the 10th October 2015 Liam fought Singdam Kiatmoo9 in his 100th fight in his professional marking a huge milestone in a career which has spanned almost 15 years. Read more about Liam Harrison in our article in celebration of this huge achievement.
On the 19th March Harrison defeated Tetsuya Yamato to take the vacant 65kg Yokkao world title and is now set to fight Fabio Pinca on October 8th Yokkao 19!
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The next world champion on our list comes from Santos, Brazil. Cosmo Alexandre, dubbed “Good Boy”, is another great mix of different trainings – boxing, kickboxing, mixed martial arts, and Muay Thai. Alexandre, now fighting out of the Santos after a stint in the US previously, is a W.P.M.F. World Champion, Showtime 77MAX World Champion, and WMC Intercontinental Champion and has competed for many more.
In total, he boasts 9 major titles in kickboxing and MMA. The majority of his career as a fighter has been in Muay Thai, with some kickboxing fights also in the mix along the way – winning 46 of his 62 fights, 19 of them by knockout.
The “Good Boy” Alexandre is also one of few foreigners to compete in and win the prestigious WMC King’s Cup Challenger Tournament that takes place every year in Bangkok. beating Naruepol Fairtex and Madsua along the way. Alexandre has also fought many big names including Yodsenklai, Dzahabar Askerov, Sakmongkol Sithchuchok and Marco Piqué.
Alexandre is still very active; beating John Wayne Parr in October 2015 to win the Lion Fight Super Middleweight title. Since then (at time of writing) he has also won an A.M.T.I. (162lbs) South American title by first round knockout.
Already a world champion at 21 and his life story depicted in the fictional movie ‘Chok-Dee’ it is fair to describe Dida Diafat as true legend of Muay Thai. Diafat has held no less than 11 World Muay Thai & Kick Boxing Championships Titles and competed in 16 world titles.
With a career spanning only 10 years, his accomplishments are all the more impressive, but his dedication and hard work made it all happen: only 18 at the time, Diafat left France for Thailand, where he trained in Muay Thai intensively for the next three years.
Diafat fought some big names along the way including Coban, Saimai and even beat Ramon Dekkers twice! Once by third round elbow TKO – see the video below!
He left the fighting ring in 1994 to pursue acting, directing and even his own brand of clothing.
Muay Thai fighter out of Belarus, Andrei “Bullet” Kulebin has spent his entire life training in combat sports. Starting with Taekwondo at the very young age of 8, he switched to Muay Thai at 12 and debuted professionally at 15. Up to now, he is an 18-time world champion in Muay Thai and kickboxing.
Although he performed in the amateur divisions for a long time (121 fights with 115 wins and about 20 major titles), Kulebin has been active in 71 kickboxing matches, 57 of which were wins.
He has fought in several weight divisions, around the world, and many of his major titles were won in Thailand. His professional titles include:
2014 IPCC World champion-67kg
2014 Kunlun Fight 1 Tournament 2nd place
2013 MAX Muay Thai 1 Tournament Champion
2012 Thai Fight 67kg Tournament 2nd place
2011 W.K.N. World Grand Prix Big-8 champion -66.7 kg
2010 World Dynamite Thaiboxing champion -66 kg
2010 W.K.N. World Grand Prix Big-8 runner up -66.7 kg
2010 W.M.C. I-1 World Grand Prix champion -66 kg
2009 W.M.C. World champion -63 kg (1st title defense)
2009 W.M.C. I-1 World Grand Prix runner up -66 kg
2009 W.K.N. World Grand Prix Big-8 champion -66.7 kg
2009 W.M.C. World champion -63 kg
2008 W.M.C. I-1 World Grand Prix champion -65 kg
2007 W.M.C. I-1 World Grand Prix champion -63.5 kg
2006 W.M.C. I-1 World Grand Prix champion -63.5 kg
2005 W.K.N. Muay Thai featherweight world champion -60.3 kg
2004 W.K.N. Muay Thai super bantamweight world champion -58.5 kg
2002-07 W.K.N. Intercontinental champion
2002 W.K.N. European champion
Along this exciting journey Kulebin has faced Saenchai, Sagetdao, Singmanee, Liam Harrison, Sudsakorn, Saiyok & Aikpracha Meenayothin.
In Belarus his achievements have resulted in him being the country’s first Muay Thai fighter to be awarded the “Honored Master of Sport” by the countries president!