The most decorated athlete in Muay Thai history is about to make his arrival in ONE Super Series.
After retiring from the sport two and a half years ago, 14-time Muay Thai World Champion Petchboonchu FA Group is returning to the ring to showcase his legendary skills to a global audience.
On Saturday, 23 June, he will meet three-time Max Muay Thai World Champion “The Funky Drummer” Fabrice Fairtex Delannon at ONE: PINNACLE OF POWER, which broadcasts from the Studio City Event Center in Macau.
Before he debuts in ONE Championship, learn a little bit more about the Thai icon.
Humble Beginnings In The Land Of Smiles
Like many greats of Muay Thai, Petchboonchu’s education in ‘the art of eight limbs’ began when he was a child.
Though no other members of his family competed in the sport, he began his combat education with his uncle in Thailand’s Udon Thani province when he was just 6 years old.
It was not long before he had his first bout, with his uncle’s guidance, at the age of 7. Even among Thais, who often start competing early in life, that could be considered as very young,
The wins on his résumé would soon start to pile up, based on the foundation of a strong work ethic.
In addition to perfecting technique, Petchboonchu and his teammates would run for miles to build up their cardio. They would also work on their physical conditioning with painful practices, like kicking banana trees and rolling beer bottles on their shins to strengthen their legs.
Those methods may have been exhausting and painful, but that is what they were prepared to do in order to grow and reach the pinnacle of the sport.
The Deadly Knee Of The Mekong
When he was 13, Petchboonchu earned his nickname – which translates as “Ultimate Diamond” – at a new gym in Nong Khai.
It was there where he met Kru Disel, his new mentor who helped him to develop the clinch-based, knee-striking Muay Khao style he became famous for.
This particular style is arguably more difficult to excel at than others. The grueling clinch training sessions at Thai gyms are notoriously tough due to the high levels of strength and conditioning required. Only the most committed athletes with incredible commitment and work ethics can succeed.
Also, its practitioners may not be the first fans may think of when it comes to crowd-pleasing kicking and punching bouts. However, Petchboonchu made effective use of his favorite techniques and provided plenty of entertainment.
His abilities took him to his first championship – the 48-kilogram Thailand Title – at age 15, and he subsequently earned another moniker. He was dubbed the “Deadly Knee Of The Mekong” because of his superb knee strikes, and his roots near the mighty river in the North of Thailand.
The Most Decorated Muay Thai Athlete In History
Using his aggressive style and height to control opponents, Petchboonchu continued to collect championships until his accomplishments became unmatched.
Overall, he amassed 192 career victories and collected 14 world titles — the most in Muay Thai history.
He is a seven-time Thailand Champion in six divisions, a four-time Lumpinee World Champion in four different divisions, a WMC Muay Thai World Champion, a Rajadamnern Stadium World Champion, and a Toyota Tournament Champion.
As well as earning those honors, he has also defeated a who’s who of iconic names on the Thai circuit, including Sam-A Gaiyanghadao, Nong-O Gaiyanghadao, and Sagetdao Petpayathai – all of whom are now his teammates at Evolve MMA.
Becoming A Trainer And Returning To Action
Despite his success, Petchboonchu retired from active competition when he was still just 26 years of age.
Instead of competing, he committed himself to inspiring the next generation of Muay Thai practitioners by teaching in Singapore alongside many of his contemporaries at Evolve.
Petchboonchu is following in his uncle’s footsteps. The difference is, however, he is passing on the knowledge he built during one of the greatest Muay Thai careers of all-time.
Although he has enjoyed instructing at the world-renowned Singapore training centers for the past two years, he jumped at the chance to compete again on the global stage for martial arts. After all, it is the largest audience he will ever compete in front of – 1.7 billion potential viewers in 138 countries.
The 28-year-old will make his ONE Super Series debut against Delannon in Macau, and he could follow in the footsteps of his fellow teammates, who have already experienced success in the global super league.