‘I Look Up To Him As An Idol’ – How Prajanchai’s Guidance Fueled Tawanchai’s Rise To Muay Thai Stardom

Tawanchai and Prajanchai PK Saenchai

Even though they’re not bound by blood, Thai superstars Tawanchai PK Saenchai and Prajanchai PK Saenchai consider themselves family.  

The ONE World Champion teammates will both compete at ONE Friday Fights 46 this week, and they are motivated by the incredible opportunity at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand. 

Tawanchai will defend his ONE Featherweight Muay Thai World Title in a colossal main event against Superbon Singha Mawynn, while ONE Interim Strawweight Muay Thai World Champion Prajanchai hopes to avenge his defeat to Joseph “The Hurricane” Lasiri in their World Title unification match.

The Thais have trained together for more than a decade, so the chance to fight for gold in back-to-back contests has them both fired up.  

Tawanchai said: 

“It’s quite special because he is my older brother who has done so much for me. We might celebrate our victories together.” 

The close relationship between these strikers even extends to their ring names.

Prajanchai means “Moonshine,” and he was the man who named Tawanchai – meaning “Sunshine” – when the younger athlete began training at PK Saenchai Gym.

Now, the elder competitor is just as excited to share the stage with his close friend this Friday:

“This is another important fight for each of us. I think if he and I both win, it will be incredible! And all Thai people – especially my boss – will be happy. And I believe our lives will get better and better. 

“We can write in history that Sun and Moon became World Champions simultaneously, and our stock will skyrocket.” 

Although it’s obvious that both men will be backing their teammate to win in their adopted home city of Bangkok, they’re also aware of the difficult tests they are facing.

But if anyone has insider information to make a prediction, it’s the athletes who train together day in and day out.

Tawanchai said: 

“I think Prajanchai was a little careless that day [when he lost to Lasiri the first time]. And Lasiri was well prepared. I believe the outcome will be different. My bro will claim the [unified] gold.” 

Meanwhile, Prajanchai has a lot of respect for Superbon, who previously held the ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Title.

At the same time, he thinks Tawanchai’s recent dominance in “the art of eight limbs” will be the crucial difference when they go head-to-head.  

He said: 

“Superbon may have more experience in kickboxing, but in Muay Thai, I believe Tawanchai can’t lose to him. Because Superbon will have to adapt to smaller gloves.

“It took me a while to get used to the small gloves. I believe Superbon may not punch as freely as he does when he wears big gloves in kickboxing. But I’m sure their match will be explosive.” 

‘He’s Taken Care Of Me Since I Was A Child’

These days, 24-year-old Tawanchai and 29-year-old Prajanchai stand shoulder-to-shoulder as two of the greatest strikers on the planet, but their relationship started with a fanboy moment.  

Almost a decade ago, Tawanchai admired Prajanchai, who was already a well-known competitor and a prestigious Rajadamnern Stadium Muay Thai World Champion.  

The younger man was still trying to rise through the ranks, and after meeting one of his fighting heroes, he took his shot. 

Prajanchai recalled: 

“We fought on the same card at Rajadamnern. I fought in the main event, and we took a photo together. And then he asked me if it was possible for him to come to practice with me in PK Saenchai.

“At that time, he had a problem with his old gym, so I asked the gym owner to negotiate and invited him to PK. And we have stayed together until now.” 

From that day on, Prajanchai did everything he could to support his burgeoning new teammate, and their bond has only strengthened over the years. 

Tawanchai explained: 

“I respect him because he is a great example of a fighter with a good work ethic. So, I look up to him as an idol. I just love his fighting style. 

“I have been training with him for almost ten years. He’s taken care of me since I was a child. He and I are so close that we know what each other is thinking without using any words.” 

Tawanchai vowed that he would make all the time and effort worth it, and it’s clear the sacrifices have paid off.

With Prajanchai always there to offer advice and take up the big brother role, Tawanchai has thrived to become one of the biggest names in the sport of Muay Thai. 

That’s something the senior competitor takes pride in – and he’s thrilled to have played a part in the meteoric rise of the ONE Featherweight Muay Thai World Champion. 

Prajanchai added: 

“If my memory serves me well, as a child, Tawanchai didn’t have a chance to be with his blood brother much because his brother was in prison, so he just lived with his father. And when I took care of him, I taught him and counseled him like he was my younger brother. So he looks up to me as a brother. 

“One day, he said to me, ‘Someday I will be able to replace you.’ What he meant was he wanted to be my representative. His success is my success as well. 

“I’m proud he was able to deliver on his promise to replace me and grew up to be a good fighter. He is a good example for next-generation fighters in terms of discipline. I want him to be a legend for next-gen fighters to talk about. Anyone can be number one. But few can become the legends.” 

More in Features

Kongthoranee Sor Sommai Jaosuayai Sor Dechapan ONE Friday Fights 84
Tye Ruotolo Izaak Michell ONE Fight Night 21 45
Jimmy Vienot walks to the Circle
Luke Lessei Eddie Abasolo ONE Fight Night 19 29
Nong O Hama Nico Carrillo ONE Friday Fights 46 2
Bampara Kouyate Shakir Al Tekreeti ONE Fight Night 15 45
Jozef_Chen hero 1200x1165
Ok Rae Yoon Lowen Tynanes ONE Fight Night 10 66
Rodtang Jitmuangnon Denis Puric ONE 167 142
Rodtang Jitmuangnon
Tawanchai PK Saenchai Jo Nattawut ONE 167 78
Tawanchai vs. Nattawut II faceoff