Features

How Petchmorrakot Wor. Sangprapai Was Set Up For Lifelong Success

September 30, 2018

Two-division Lumpinee Stadium Muay Thai World Champion Petchmorrakot Wor. Sangprapai (156-33-2) is preparing to make an epic return to ONE Super Series.

On Saturday, 6 October, he will square off against Russian powerhouse Alaverdi “Dagger” Ramazanov (57-3) at ONE: KINGDOM OF HEROES, which takes place at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand.

The pair will don 4-ounce gloves and meet in the ring for three rounds of Muay Thai bantamweight action.

Petchmorrakot will look to follow-up on his promotional debut victory in June, when he defeated Fabrice Fairtex Delannon via second-round TKO at ONE: PINNACLE OF POWER.

Before the 24-year-old Thai enters the ring, learn a little bit more about one of the most accomplished practitioners of ‘the art of eight limbs’ in the world today.

A Childhood Of Poverty

Petchmorrakot grew up in poverty. He was raised foraging for food in a small village in the Ubon Ratchathani province in the Issan region, one of the poorest and most underdeveloped areas of Thailand. 

His parents, who were rice farmers, did not have a stable income. Instead, they had to provide for their family with whatever they could scavenge.

Not wanting the burden to fall solely on his parents, the young Thai took it upon himself to help out with the household duties.

Together with his two younger siblings, Petchmorrakot, who goes by the name “Win” at home, would dig for crabs and collect snails. Whatever they were able to gather would first go towards dinner, and the remainder was sold at the local market.

“Life was hard back then, but it was fun, too,” he says. “I loved going fishing with my family.”

Becoming A Nak Muay

Wanting more for his eldest son, Petchmorrakot’s father took him to a small local gym.

His dad thought Muay Thai could help the family’s financial situation and improve the quality of his son’s life. It could give him more than the family could ever hope for in terms of opportunity and life experience.

His dad’s vision would soon be proven right.

After just a few weeks of training, Petchmorrakot – competing under the name Mavin Lukeljet – made his debut, and earned his first victory.

Despite training in a makeshift ring and with a couple of haphazardly hung bags to hit, the youngster started to make the rounds as local Muay Thai athlete.

As an 11-year-old boy, he traveled in the back of the gym’s pickup truck and searched the region for matches.

When he arrived at events, he hoped there would be someone to compete against who was near his weight and skill level. Having no knowledge of his opponent until the morning of the contest was normal.

Petchmorrakot competed multiple times a month. During the Thai New Year, he would maximize his opportunities – competing as many as five times a week.

To maximize his chances, his father sent him to an established gym in the district’s capital. He stayed there until he was 18, when he was scouted by the famed Petchyindee Academy in Bangkok.

“I was both scared and excited to go to Bangkok,” he admits. “I went alone, never having been so far from home before.”

After winning a Lumpinee Stadium World Championship with his previous gym, he went on to win an additional four titles with Petchyindee, including a second Lumpinee belt in another division, a WMC World Championship, and national titles in two weight classes.

A Walk In The Wrong Direction

The life of a Muay Thai athlete is one of sacrifice and hardship.

Being a champion means a busy schedule against elite athletes with little downtime, and Petchmorrakot had already spent nearly a decade competing, training, and cutting weight when his motivation began to slip.

“The weight cuts were always so hard for me,” he explains. “I knew I needed to get the job done, but it was always a struggle.”

One day, the struggle became too much, and Petchmorrakot took a turn down the wrong path. Choosing instead to go out his friends, stay out late, and talk to girls on the phone, he lost all interest in training.

Without the focus in the gym, his management stopped booking him matches, which left the teenager unemployed until he straightened out and focused on his passion.

“It took a while, but I figured it out on my own. Fighting is my destiny,” he says. 

A Bright Future

Muay Thai 101 from Petchmorrakot.

Muay Thai 101 from Petchmorrakot.Download the ONE Super App now ???? http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp

Posted by ONE Championship on Sunday, 12 August 2018

Back on his feet, Petchmorrakot’s career moved forward and he barely missed a beat.

As a decorated champion with more than 200 bouts, he has nearly done it all in Muay Thai. He has even beaten his idol – pound-for-pound Muay Thai superstar Saenchai PKSaenchaiMuayThaiGym.

“It was a very proud moment for me,” he states. “I’m grateful to have shared the ring with such a legend.”

Now, a new chapter has begun with ONE Championship.

Although Petchmorrakot’s premiere in the world’s largest martial arts organization was made on just a few weeks’ notice against a former training partner, he got the job done.

“We had trained together before, but I am a fighter, and this is my job,” he says of his bout with Delannon. “I just went to work.”

With his debut firmly behind him, Petchmorrakot will look to pick up exactly where he left off at ONE: KINGDOM OF HEROES. He has studied his opponent, noting that Ramazanov is an athlete with a full arsenal of weapons.

Still, the Thai remains confident of getting his second victory. 

“I don’t know how I will do it, but I will win by KO, for sure,” he says. 

Bangkok | 6 October | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/oneheroes18