Sangmanee has one hell of a story to tell and it’s the story of the sport’s brightest star of all time. . .
SANGMANEE: THE BABY-FACED BEST OF ALL TIME
At just 21 years young, Sangmanee has many years left in his Muay Thai career – a career filled to the brim with astonishing feats so far.
Like many before him, he started fighting at a young age – six years old to be exact. His father started training him and saw potential in the young nak muay. The southpaw was once cleaning houses in the Isaan provinces and soon found himself in Bangkok at 13 Coins Gym. At 13 Coins, he was training alongside Saenchai, his idol, before the time anyone anyone even knew who either of them were.
In 2012, he became the Lumpinee Champion at 105 pounds and, in that same year, captured two Rajadamnern titles at 108 and 112 pounds. The following year, he became the Rajadamnern Stadium champion at 115 pounds. He was also voted Fighter of the Year. If those achievements alone don’t speak for this kid’s talent, nothing else will.
GAMBLING WITH HIS LIFE
Sangmanee’s rise to fame and glory didn’t come without setbacks. The most dangerous setback of fighting in Thailand is from the gamblers. Blinded by greed, gamblers have, on too many occasions, poisoned fighters in an attempt to make big bucks. They will secretly put dangerous cocktails in a fighter’s drink or water and then bet on the opposing side to win. The bigger the fight, the bigger the money, and some have gambled their entire life savings on a single bout. That said, it’s easy to see why people would resort to shady measures to get the most out of their money. It’s not right by any means, but it still unfortunately happens today.
In 2014, he fought his fourth bout against Thanonchai and lost on points. He collapsed and was rushed to the hospital, where the doctors found several poisonous drugs in his system: Nordazepam, Temazepam, Oxazepam. It was clear that someone tried to fix the fight, or even worse, get rid of Sangmanee altogether, as he was a rising star on the scene. Sangmanee came very close to dying but thankfully made a good recovery and got back on the scene within a couple months. Today, he’s continuing to expand fight fans’ awareness of him by fighting on even bigger platforms, such as Top King World Series.
MILLION DOLLAR BABY
In the Thai stadiums, Sangmanee (also known as the “Million Dollar Baby”) is nothing short of a technician: calculating, explosive, and well-rounded in all his weapons. His explosive and exciting fighting style can really shine in three rounds of action.
In the stadiums, many fighters conserve their energy to fight all five rounds, with much of the fight dependent on the third and fourth round. This makes it very unappealing to the general audience, but Sangmanee’s televised fights are singlehandedly changing the perception of Muay Thai as a predictable and boring sport. He’s stunning to watch in action. He possesses the ability to read his opponents and time his shots accurately. In short, he makes fighting look both beautiful and effortless.
Here are a few of Sangmanee’s (many) notable moments, strategies, and trademarks in fights.
Swing your legs like sledgehammers.
- Plant-based fighter, foodie, and aspiring physical therapist. Angela is currently living in Bangkok and training full time.