Five Time World Champion at Three Different Weights, Muay Thai and Kick Boxer Liam “The Hitman” Harrison will celebrate his 100th fight on 10th October 2015.
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 10th October 2015 Liam will fight Singdam Kiatmoo9 in his 100th fight in his professional career which has spanned almost 15 years. Lets have a look at the English pound for pound contender’s journey to meeting “The Black Lion”…
Liam began training at 13 years old at Leed’s Bad Company gym under the tutelage of Richard Smith, a former British, Commonwealth and European kick boxing champion. Less than two years later he made his professional debut just short of his 15th birthday. Just after his 30th birthday this year he will celebrate his 100th fight and further cement his position as one of the pound for pound best fighters in the world.
Date of Birth: 5th October 1985
Age: 29 years old
Weight: 66 kg
Height: 1.72 m
Division: Light Welterweight
Total fights: 99
Liam Harrison was born in Leeds, England and brought up in ‘Harehills’; a harsh local neighbourhood.
At the age of 13 Harrison found himself attracted to Muay Thai when Andy Howson (5 times World champion), and also Liam’s cousin, had just began Thai boxing and invited Liam to come along. Liam had been playing football at a high level and began training at the gym to supplement his fitness. This marked the beginning of Liam’s journey with Muay Thai, along with trainer Richard Smith and Bad Company Muay Thai gym.
In the UK 13 is a relatively young age to begin Thai boxing, or any other martial art, but still a few years behind the Nak Muays of Thailand who start even younger; Liam’s upcoming opponent Singdam began fighting at 9! His results today do however demonstrate his dedication to the sport from a very young age, much like the fighters in the home of Muay Thai.
At Bad Company, Richard Smith, himself a former European kick boxing champion continues to train Liam alongside a stable of World class fighters including Jordan Watson, Andy Howson and European champion Stephen Meleady.
Under Smith’s tutelage, Liam made his amateur debut within one year of arriving at the gym at the age of 14, which resulted in a win for Liam. Before turning 15 years old, he had already made his professional debut against Martin Shivnan, whom he knocked out in just 30 seconds!
After these confidence-boosting victories, success seemed to follow Liam as he won fight after fight in local competitions. One of his notable successes from this period is his win against Abdul Arif, whom he again defeated by knockout in the first round for the S.I.M.T.A. Muay Thai Super Featherweight Northern Area Title (under 52 kg).
Between 2000 and 2004 Liam moved through the divisions from featherweight (52kg) through to light-welterweight (63.5kg) as he naturally grew older and bigger. After proving his skills at local, national and European levels, he soon started to take on fiercer international adversaries like Preechapon Por Nuongubon of Thailand, Ait Said Aberderahman of Morroco, and Satoru Vasikova at home in Japan.
During this period Liam took the W.A.K.O world title from Italian champion Emannuel Di Profetis; becoming a world champion himself at only 19 by technical knockout. Last minute injury caused the defending champion Massimo Rizzoli to pull out and the title vacated. In spite of the late replacement opponent and fighting under different rules (no elbows, clinch and low kick rules) Liam proved he could already come up strong against much more experienced fighters.
Now as a World champion Liam set his sights on even more challenging opponents. Liam soon added to his regional S.I.M.T.A belt the European title of the same organisation; when victorious against reigning European champion Mohamed Ajuou of the Netherlands.
From 2000 to 2005, Liam continued undefeated against high-calibre fighters like Benzouaoua Hakim, Abdoulaye M’baye and Japan-based Hiromasa Masuda.
Only when facing a Thai opponent, Liam faced losing for the first time. A split decision against Witthayanoi Sitkuanem in the legendary Rajadamnern stadium marked the end of Liam’s undefeated record.
He would also lose his next fight, although taking place back in the UK, to Omnoi stadium champion Duwao Kongidom later in 2005. Harrison knocked Duwao down in the second round with a left hook but the Thai got back to his fight and continued to dominate to a points win. Some years later Harrison, when interviewed; would still talk about this fight as his hardest. He said in another interview it was following these defeats he decided to train in Thailand to perfect his technique and nullify the advantage the Thais had over him, particularly in the clinch.
At the end of 2005 Liam returned to Thailand to prove himself as a world class Nak Muay. Now training full time in Thailand, Liam affiliated to the Jitti Gym in Bangkok, where his trainer Richard Smith had also trained during his professional career. His first fight in Thailand would see him take the Patong stadium title from Contender Asia star Dzahabar Askerov. This fight took place at Super Welterweight (68kg) and the Russian who is naturally larger was also more a experienced fighter at that stage.
Liam fought again a month later, knocking out a Thai opponent, Klaynoi Sit Bankrajen, in the second round. He defeated Japanese fighter Masa Hiroshima a month later to claim another World championship title; the W.P.M.F. Light Welterwight title (under 63.5kg).
Liam was once again back in the ring just 2 weeks on against another Thai opponent at the Patong stadium. Liam won by TKO when the referee stopped the fight, again in round two. Almost immediately Liam re-matched Witthayanoi Sitkuanem to avenge his first defeat. The fight took place again at the Rajadamnern stadium in Bangkok, sadly once again his opponent was awarded the win by decision.
Thai Culture – Liam’s Ram Muay
Muay Thai a profoundly traditional contact sport, with deep roots in Thai culture and religion; one thing that differentiates Muay Thai from other fighting arts is the “Ram Muay”. Western fighters rarely observe this tradition, however; Liam always perform the Ram Muay.
One of the roles of Ram Muay, besides invoking the Gods’ favour and paying respect to your trainer, is for the fighter to show his mastery and body control. Liam Harrison is definitely one of the most gracious and strong fighters out there.
W.M.C World Title
Over the course of 2006 Liam fought another 8 times both in Thailand and at home in the UK, whilst also successfully defending the under 68kg title Patong Stadium title along the way.
2007 marked another busy year, racking up another 7 fights, 3 of these in Thailand, one even at the legendary Lumpini stadium in Bangkok. The year began well with a decision win over a Thai in Manchester England and a 4th round KO of Iranian Masod Patongmuaythai to defend his W.P.M.F World title.
On a show organised by his gym Bad Company Liam was then given an opportunity to fight in his home town of Leeds, England against the W.M.C 61.5kg World champion Numphon PK Sterio. Liam was unlucky in this close fight losing by decision.
Later on in 2007 Liam would successfully defend his W.P.M.F title against a Tunisian opponent Ahmed Saadi at his debut at the Lumpini stadium. Liam didn’t fail to entertain with a second round stoppage from a left hook. ‘The Hitman” stopped his next opponent, another Thai fighter, with an elbow TKO.
On the 25th November 2007 Liam rematched Numphon PK Sterio in the UK for the W.M.C. Lightweight world title in Manchester on a MSA Muaythai Premier League card. This time round Harrison’s power was too much and the Thai was stopped in the fourth round. After this fight Muay Siam magazine named him ‘Foreign Fighter’ of the year.
2008 was a quieter year for the W.M.C World Champion, fighting just 3 times all at home in Leeds for shows organised by Bad Company. He won all of these including 2 by early stoppage.
Superstars of Muay Thai
Number 5 of our ’15 Best Muay Thai Fighters’; Saenchai PKsaenchaimuaythaigym (formally Sor Kingstar), recognised as undoubtedly one of the greatest pound for pound fighters in the history of Muay Thai was the first opponent Liam faced in 2009. They fought in London, England at a ‘Muay Thai Legends’ show card. Although a tight fight Saenchai won by unanimous decision.
Bouncing straight back from this loss Liam made his second appearance that year at the Lumpini Stadium, fighting another Thai; Jedeechai Sor Khamsing. Liam’s powerful leg kicks stopped the Thai in just 3 rounds.
Next up was another world class Thai; “The Iron Hands of Siam” Anuwat Kaewsamrit. A former WBC World Champion, Lumpini and four time Rajadamnern Stadium champion. Liam met Anuwat in Jamaica for this bout which saw Liam lose his W.M.C. belt following a third round stoppage. Although this must have come as a real blow; once again unperturbed Liam intensified his training.
This same year he went on to stop Dutchman Buray Bozaryilmaz in two rounds and face another legendary Thai WBC, WPMF & lumpini champion; Sagetdao Phetpayathai. Sagetdao is a veteran of 225 fights as professional with wins over Saenchai, Nong-O, Singdam and Jomthong to name but a handful. Although hard fought, landing heavy shots and even out boxing the bigger man, Liam lost by decision with the Thai’s left body kick seemingly being the deciding factor.
Liam met Anuwat for a rematch again in 2010 in Manchester. Proving once again that his will is as strong as his leg kicks, Liam defeated Anuwat this time on points, and regained his world.
That same year, Liam took on an even greater challenge with the Thai Fight competition, where 16 of the world’s best champions fought for world recognition and a large cash prize. Liam did well in the first few fights, managing to get to the quarter finals but was disqualified for not making weight. Soishiro Miyakoshi who Liam beat by a second round elbow KO in the quarter finals went on to take his place in the semis.
Saenchai II & III
Having another shot at a rematch against Saenchai in 2011, Liam was again defeated by the Thai champion, yet this too was another opportunity for him to prove himself as a true contender against one of the very best. Unwilling to accept this defeat, Liam met Saenchai again in 2012 for the Muay Thai Warriors Welterweight (65kg) title , only to lose after another close fight by decision. Here is the fateful battle between two of the world’s greatest Muay Thai fighters:
2012 did see one of Liam’s best performances however; managing to defeat another multi-time champion, Andrei Kulebin, whom he dispatched early by way of TKO in the third round. Liam was too strong for the man considered to be one of the best pound for pound Nak Muay outside of Thailand.
Tough at the top
The end of 2012, where Liam meet Saenchai for the third time saw the start of a 4 bout losing spree.
Although Liam was fierier than ever he lost against opponents Mosab Amrani, Masaaki Noiri, and Sagetdao Petpayathai in 2013. He tells his side of the story in the lead up to his only ever first round stoppage defeat against Mosab Amrani in the podcast at Muay-Thai-Guy.com
His fourth fight of the year however, against Dylan Salvador marked the end of this run of losses. In 2014, he won against another world Muay Thai champion, Houcine Bennoui, at the Yokkao 8, a world champion himself.
2015 and Beyond for Liam Harrison
This year has reported both major wins and losses for Harrison in the top rankings. Earlier in March, he was defeated by Pakorn PKSaenchaimuaythaigym at the Yokkao 13 by unanimous decision. Harrison fought a very technically impressive 5-rounds however Pakorn, one of the world’s best champions in several world-level competitions, kept Harrison out of ranged with his teep and won a unanimous decision on points.
Liam managed to turn the balance when he met Malaipet Sasiprapa at the Lion Fight 23 in Los Angeles, in July this year where he won by split decision in the fifth round.
Liam’s next big challenge is the Yokkao 15, where he is expected to fight Singdam Kiatmoo9 on October 10th in Bolton, England. Singdam is another world class and dangerous opponent, Lumpinee Boxing Champion, renowned for his technical fighting style and powerful right kick. Singdam holds wins over Saenchai, Yodsanklai, Nong-O, Wanchalerm, Kongsak, Sagetdao, Petboonchu, Orono Wor Petchpun, Petmonkong, Superbon, and Jomthong Chuwattana to name but a few!
Liam is arguably the only westerner who can get in ring with the top fighters at 65kg. It will be interesting to see how Liam fares against a powerful adversary like Singdam Kiatmoo9, in a match that seems to be well balanced in terms of the two fighter’s skills and experience.
Singdams record (according to Wikipedia.org)
Age: 31 years old
Height: 1.75 m
Total fights: 332
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