Superbon’s Journey To Kickboxing And Muay Thai Greatness

Thai kickboxing star Superbon

The man known as Superbon is finally set to make his ONE Championship debut at ONE: NO SURRENDER on Friday, 31 July.

That evening, the superstar will face his old rival and compatriot “The Killer Kid” Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong in a highly-anticipated trilogy bout.

Superbon is already ONE’s #1-ranked featherweight Muay Thai contender and #2-ranked featherweight kickboxing contender, and a victory in Bangkok, Thailand, would send him to even greater heights.

But first, learn more about the exciting athlete who will introduce himself to the global fan base at ONE: NO SURRENDER.

Martial Arts Roots

Superbon, who grew up in the southern Phatthalung province, has been surrounded by martial artists since birth.

His father owned a Muay Thai camp, while his brother and cousins all trained in combat sports. So, it was only natural that Superbon got involved at an early age.

“My dad had me train Muay Thai since I was 5 years old,” he says. “I’ve been training Muay Thai since I can remember.”

For many people, Muay Thai is a way to get in shape, learn self-defense, or grow as an individual, but Superbon’s father had another purpose for putting his son in the sport.

“There was drug influence in my village,” the Thai athlete says. “One of the reasons my dad made me train Muay Thai before and after school was to occupy me from being with those kinds of friends.”

It also helped that the family patriarch was able to teach the techniques himself.

“My dad was the one who trained me all those years,” Superbon adds.

The Good And The Bad

While Superbon’s father started him in Muay Thai to keep him away from the destructive forces that sometimes plague rural Thailand, the young athlete was also reaping other benefits.

At just 6 years old, he began entering bouts, and those competitions came with a nice reward.

“I started to earn some money,” Superbon says. “As a boy, it was a great feeling to be able to earn money and buy things I wanted on my own without having to ask my parents.”

Before long, the talented fighter was competing in two or three bouts per month. But even with extra cash in his pockets, there wasn’t much else that Superbon was enjoying about the sport.

“I must say that in the beginning, I didn’t like Muay Thai. I didn’t like the exhausting training and wanted to go out and play like other kids,” he admits.

“I preferred going out to play, so I skipped the training quite often. My dad always caught me, punished me, and made me train even harder.”

Despite his frustration, Superbon stuck with it. And looking back, he understands that his father was simply trying to put him on the right path.

“If I could turn back time, I’d choose to do the same thing because it made me who I am today,” he says.

“I was lucky that my dad didn’t let me out of his sight to do drugs or bad stuff like that. If I had chosen to go out and play, I wouldn’t be here today.”

A Move To Bangkok

After developing his skills in Phattalung, Superbon began entering Muay Thai events in Bangkok’s world-famous stadium circuit.

He moved to the capital city at 18 and quickly realized it would be an entirely different experience.

“When I came to Bangkok for professional training, it was more competitive,” Superbon says. “I became more serious with the training and when going to bouts. Everything had to be perfect.”

The up-and-coming talent was also attending university, which meant he needed to balance Muay Thai with his studies.

“It was really exhausting and I didn’t have time for anything else,” he recalls. “I trained early in the morning before going to school, and after I came back from school.”

It wasn’t an easy transition, but it did give Superbon his first true taste of the spotlight – something that made quite an impact on him.

“It’s a totally different feeling,” he says of competing in the capital. “There is more excitement and [a bigger] atmosphere in the stadiums.

“The audience in Bangkok is much bigger by tens of thousands. I was like, ‘Oh! These people came to see me!'”

An Uncertain Time

Despite Superbon’s talent and potential, the pressures of studying and fighting in Bangkok were causing his performance to suffer.

“The competitions were very tense and much more serious,” he says. “It really affected my life.”

Because of those struggles in the ring, Superbon’s future was cloudy when he graduated from university. He was not earning enough money from the sport and was questioning whether he should take a different path.

“There was no opponent and no event, and I couldn’t make a living,” he says. “I didn’t really want to quit. It was the situation.”

Meanwhile, his mother and father were encouraging him to try something new.

“My parents wanted me to work as a civil servant,” Superbon says. “And when I graduated from school, I got into the police academy.”

For a short time, it appeared the young athlete was leaving combat sports behind for good. But before long, he realized that joining the police was not the life he wanted.

And then, in that uncertain time, he caught a break.

A New Journey

While competing in Australia during 2013, Superbon had crossed paths with Buakaw Banchamek, one of the world’s most popular Muay Thai and kickboxing stars.

It was an encounter that proved to be very fruitful.

“I had the chance to train with him,” Superbon recalls. “When we came back to Thailand, he asked me to train with him.

“He said that if I joined his gym and adopted the Banchamek name, he would put me in international tournaments.”

After thinking it over, Superbon agreed to the offer. He joined the Banchamek Gym and began working with his new mentor.

“It was the turning point of my life,” he says. “I found a light leading me to a new journey.”

That journey also involved a change in sport. Inspired by the living legend, Superbon transitioned to kickboxing, believing it would present him with more opportunities in the future.

“I started kickboxing and improved my skills because of Buakaw,” he says. “I followed him and learned the techniques by watching him. I feel very lucky to be around Buakaw.”

In the end, the move to kickboxing revitalized Superbon’s career.

He went on to enjoy success in various international competitions, becoming the KLF World MAX Tournament Champion and the IPCC Kickboxing World Champion while recording victories over the likes of Singdam Kiatmoo9, Davit Kiria, and, of course, Sitthichai.

A Move To ONE

Finally regarded as one of the best strikers in the world, Superbon knew it was time to make his mark in The Home Of Martial Arts.

“I think all the great fighters in my division are in ONE Championship,” he says.

“As an athlete, I want to compete with the best. I want to challenge myself with the best. Also, ONE Championship has perfected many aspects [of sporting competition] and that made me want to join.”

With ONE, he’ll have the chance to compete against some of the greatest kickboxing and Muay Thai superstars on the planet such as Giorgio “The Doctor” Petrosyan“The Boxing Computer” Yodsanklai IWE Fairtex, and ONE Featherweight Muay Thai World Champion Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy.

For the 29-year-old Phatthalung province native, it’s a chance for him to prove that he is the most elite striker in the weight class.

“Everyone will see what I can do,” Superbon says. “I think I can climb my way up and be the best in this division.”

The Thai star will begin that quest with his match-up against Sitthichai at ONE: NO SURRENDER, and he hopes this contest will continue to propel him to the very top of the kickboxing world.

“If you ask me if this is the highest point of my career, I’d say no,” Superbon says. “My goal is for everyone to consider me the best.”

Read more: Superbon Reveals His Keys To Beating Sitthichai In Trilogy

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