Saenchai Talks to the Science
By Mike LNg
Much thanks goes to Dr.Lynne Miller, all at Sinbi Muay Thai and Saenchai himself for making this interview possible. Saenchai is widely regarded by Muay Thai aficionados as the pound for pound best fighter in the world in Muay Thai. He won the Lumpini Championship title in three different weight divisions. Saenchai would often give up 5 lbs. + in weight to find worthy opponents in Thailand. He’s known for having excellent ring vision and speed.
In Muay Thai Saenchai won many titles including:
2010 Lumpinee and WMC World Lightweight title
2010 Toyota Cup tournament champion
Current MTAA World Lightweight champion
Lumpinee Stadium Super featherweight (130 lbs / 59 kg) champion
Lumpinee Stadium Bantamweight (118 lbs / 53 kg) champion
Lumpinee Stadium Super flyweight (115 lbs / 52 kg) champion
1999 Sports Writers of Thailand Fighter of the Year
2008 Sports Writers of Thailand Fighter of the Year
Question: How did you get started in Muay Thai and where did you first start training?
Answer: I used to watch Muay Thai and I really liked it when I was a child. I always wanted to do it. I come from Mahasarkham. I started practicing with my father when I was about 7. We did it at our home as there were no gyms nearby. It was before the days of hand pads and my father used to wrap clothes around his hands and arms to protect them.
What is your fight record thus far?
I started fighting when I was eight years old. I have had over three hundred fights. I have only lost 40 times and drawn twice. I won my very first fight at the age of 8. I won 30 thb. I had to give 20 thb to my father and he allowed me to keep 10 thb for myself.
As many already know by now you have now relocated to Sinbi Muay Thai in Phuket. What made you want to move from 13 Coins in Bangkok?
I wanted to change my lifestyle and to have a better life for me and my family. I wanted a more relaxed lifestyle. I wanted to think about my wife and my son who is now 9 years old. I have not fallen out with anyone. I was in Bangkok for 15 years and I knew I could do better for my family. I will still go back to Bangkok for holidays and to train at 13 Coins. I will use 13 Coins when I need to lose weight for a fight, although most of my training will now be at Sinbi.
Will you still be able to fight as many high profile fights in the past in Phuket instead of Bangkok?
Everything will be the same, except that because I will be more relaxed I will be better than before. When I was in Bangkok I was working all the time. I was always being called upon to do things. In Phuket my life is much easier. I will be fighting in Lumpinee, Ratcherdermneon and other countries as well.
Most fans of Muay Thai consider you pound for pound the best in the world and even Sangteinnoi considers you one of the best of the modern era of Muay Thai. How did you come to develop your unique and winning style?
I have always wanted to do things that surprise people and that people would like. I used my imagination and wanted to be the best. I looked at the old style of Muay Thai and brought it together with the modern style.
As one of the best fighters in Thailand what do you think is the most important thing you teach new students?
To be very successful, you have to really love Muay Thai. I tell my students to love Muay Thai and put your whole heart into it and they will be good without doubt.
Who was your toughest opponent in Thailand?
Tongchai Tor Silachai – he has excellent technique.
Recently, it was reported by WBC Muay Thai that you wanted to fight Kevin Ross. Does this match still interest you?
Yes, I am still interested in this match.
Having fought extensively throughout the world which country do you feel has the best Muay Thai outside of Thailand?
It has got to be Europe, definitely Europe especially England, Germany and France.
You fought many fights above your own weight class and won. What makes you willing to fight bigger fighters than yourself?
I have to fight heavier opponents because people in my own weight class will not fight me.
Who would you like a rematch against and why?
There is no one in Thailand I would like a rematch against. I want to go to other countries to fight now.
What is the biggest difference for you now training at Sinbi Muay Thai than at 13 Coins?
There is not much difference at all between my training at Sinbi and at 13 Coins. The main difference is that outside of training there is not so much pressure in Phuket. I can relax more. Before I just trained and worked. Here I can train and then relax. I can spend more time with my son and enjoy being a father.
There was some speculation that you were going to leave Muay Thai to become a professional foot ball player. Was this ever a true ambition for you?
I haven’t played football for about two years now. Someone offered me money to become a footballer. I tried it but I realized I love Muay Thai too much to give it up.
As a citizen of Thailand and high level boxer in Muay Thai what would you like to see change in order to improve Muay Thai internationally?
Muay Thai is Muay Thai. If you change the rules it is not the same. It has to be everything for me. I fought in China and I lost because you were not allowed to do certain things.
Most dedicated fans of Muay Thai consider the 1990’s era of Muay Thai to be the best time for Muay Thai in terms of quality of fighters and fights. Do you agree with this?
Yes, although there are a lot of good fighters around now, they were many more at that time.
You also have your own children who fight in Muay Thai. As a parent how safe is it for them?
I don’t particularly want my son to fight although I allow him to practice Muay Thai because he enjoys it. He is only a child now and I wont make any rules for him. He can decide what he wants to do when he is old enough to do this.
How do you enjoy Phuket compared to Bangkok?
I enjoy myself wherever I am.
Which fighters do you like now fighting out of Thailand for their skill?
I like fighting Liam Harrison. I like his technique. Whatever I do to him, he copies and does back to me. I enjoy this. It is fun.
What projects or fights can we look forward to from you now that you are in Sinbi Muay Thai?
The thing I am looking forward to most of all is extending my international career and I am particularly looking forward to fighting in England again.
You have many fans in the USA and in the world. What message would you like to tell your fans?
Support me and I will not let you down. I will keep doing things you will be excited about.
Much thanks to all at Sinbi Muay Thai and to Saenchai for the interview. You can keep up with Saenchai and his latest activities at the official Sinbi site.