The Legend Who Helped Turn Superbon’s Career Around
This Friday, 31 July, the man known as Superbon will make his promotional debut at ONE: NO SURRENDER in Bangkok, Thailand.
That night, the star kickboxer will meet his old foe and Thai compatriot “The Killer Kid” Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong in a much-anticipated trilogy fight.
But while Superbon is ONE’s #1-ranked featherweight Muay Thai contender and #2-ranked featherweight kickboxing contender, his path to greatness was filled with ups and downs.
In fact, the talented athlete was close to leaving combat sports behind – until he met the man who helped turn his career around.
A Cloudy Future
Superbon was born in the southern Phatthalung province of Thailand, where he trained Muay Thai from the age of 5 and began competing at 6.
Then at 18, the up-and-coming athlete moved to Bangkok, where he fought in the ultra-competitive stadium circuit while attending university.
“It was really exhausting and I didn’t have time for anything else,” he says. “I trained early in the morning before going to school, and after I came back from school.”
Amid the pressures of studying and competing in the capital city, Superbon began to struggle in his Muay Thai matches.
“The competitions were very tense and much more serious,” he says. “It really affected my life.”
Due to those difficulties, the Thai faced an uncertain future when he graduated from school. He wasn’t earning enough money from the sport and began considering a new path, even entering the police academy with the support of his parents.
“I couldn’t make a living,” he says of Muay Thai. “I didn’t really want to quit. It was the situation.”
But in the end, Superbon did not quit combat sports and everything soon changed due to a chance meeting in Australia.
‘I Found A Light’
While competing Down Under during 2013, Superbon became acquainted with Buakaw Banchamek, one of the world’s most popular Muay Thai and kickboxing stars.
“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.”
Given that Superbon was not signed to any team, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. He soon agreed to the offer and joined the Banchamek Gym.
“It was the turning point of my life,” he says. “I found a light leading me to a new journey.”
Beyond the chance to train under a new mentor, Superbon’s move to Banchamek Gym also saw him transition to a new phase of his athletic career – kickboxing.
“I started kickboxing because of Buakaw,” Superbon says. “I stopped Muay Thai training completely.”
That transition was encouraged by his new mentor, who believed kickboxing would give his protege a better chance to succeed.
“I didn’t have much of a future as a Muay Thai athlete in Thailand,” Superbon adds. “But I found an exciting new path.”
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Learning From The Best
Fortunately for the young athlete, he was able to work closely with a striking legend while learning to compete under a different rule set.
“Buakaw had been training kickboxing for so many years,” Superbon says. “He was my kickboxing master.”
Because of his mentor’s wealth of experience, the former Muay Thai fighter immediately found himself becoming comfortable.
“I adjusted to kickboxing very well because of the training,” Superbon says. “I trained exactly how Buakaw did. The techniques and how to throw the weapons, I learned all that from him.”
By 2015, the transition to kickboxing was paying dividends. The young Thai was gaining more recognition in the international scene and was competing in the professional ranks.
Then in 2016, Superbon took the worldwide kickboxing community by storm. He vanquished elite opponents en route to becoming the Kunlun Fight World MAX Tournament Champion – an incredible run that included a victory over Sitthichai following a loss in their first meeting.
With that success, it became clear that Superbon’s transition to kickboxing – and his relationship with Buakaw – had indeed been an incredible turning point in his career.
“I feel very lucky to have been around Buakaw and learned kickboxing from him,” the star adds.
Building A Legacy
In the ensuing years, Superbon continued to establish himself as one of the most fearsome kickboxing forces in the world.
The rising star became a multiple-time Kickboxing World Champion – which included claiming the 2019 IPCC Kickboxing World Title – and racked up victories over the likes of Singdam Kiatmoo9 and Davit Kiria.
That success led Superbon to join ONE Championship, with dreams of climbing even higher.
“My goal is for everyone to consider me the best,” he says. “[I want it to] be accepted by everyone that I am the best in the division.”
While there’s no doubt that winning more World Titles would take Superbon’s career to the next level, he also hopes to become an inspiring force – just like his mentor.
“Honestly, I really admire Buakaw,” he says.
“I respect and praise him as my idol. If you ask me how would I like to be remembered, I want people to remember me just like they remember Buakaw.”
He may not be there quite yet, but Superbon is well on his way. And if he defeats Sitthichai at ONE: NO SURRENDER, he will continue building an incredible combat sports legacy.