‘The Boxing Computer’ Retires, Undefeated Since 2011
The Muay Thai community let out a collective cry earlier this month when Yodsanklai made it official: after a legendary career, he was hanging up his mongkon.
One of the most celebrated Muay Thai fighters out of Thailand, and one of the most feared kickers of all time, Yodsanklai (“Yod”) Fairtex formally announced his retirement on Facebook (in Thai) and Instagram (in English) earlier this month.
This news caught me, and probably a lot of others, by surprise. Yod was like a timeless fixture in Muay Thai: like a massive, stationary tree that no man could move. His exit after 250+ fights is both understandable and deeply saddening.
The first time I saw Yod was on Contender Asia, the hit TV show that pitted Muay Thai fighters from around the world against one another. In the first episode, Yod waltzes onto the set with his shades looking like a badass.
As the series went on, I noticed that he wasn’t the stereotypical shy and polite Asian man I was accustomed to seeing on American television. This guy was outspoken and confident.
I literally burst out in gut-rupturing laughter when Yod pulled out the WBC belt he had won from John Wayne Parr and said: “ John Wayne, look: it’s the belt from when we fought in Australia, the one I won from you. You were crying in the ring.”
From that moment on, I was hooked. I immediately began learning more about this 5’7 beast.
Yodsanklai Fairtex was born on July 1, 1985 in Northeastern Thailand. He began training at the age of eight after seeing his older brother fight.
Before joining the Fairtex Gym in 2005, Yod fought for several different gyms and won numerous titles including the most prestigious Lumpinee Stadium belt in two different weight classes (112 & 147 lbs.).
After joining the Fairtex team, Yod went on another championship winning spree, collecting the WMC World Middleweight Championship belt, the WBC World Super Welterweight title, the King’s Cup Challenger title, the Lion’s Fight Middleweight title, and of course, the Contender Asia grand prize. His left kick was heard around the world.
Yodsanklai fought around the globe, from North America to Europe, Asia to Australia. The Thai boxer holds victories over some of the best fighters in the world: Kem Sitsongpeenong, John Wayne Parr, Lamsongkram Chuwattana, Samkor Keatmontep, Yohan Lidon, Malaipet Sasiprapa, and Cosmo Alexandre.
In 2015, Yod took some well-deserved rest to heal his aching body. He returned to the ring in February 2017, banking a series of victories over fighters like Masoud Minaei in April, and Cedric Manhoef and Soichiro Miyakoshi in May.
With so many legendary fights, Yodsanklai Fairtex helped enormously to put Muay Thai on the map and became one of the most prolific nak muays the Western world had ever seen. His boyish charm and lacerating left kick enamored fans around the world. His aggressive and powerful style of fighting will be missed.
- Pierre started his journey in martial arts after witnessing Bruce Lee on the silver screen. He began training Tae Kwon Do, earning a brown belt by his 18th birthday. He took up Muay Thai in 2000, training under Kru Nestor Marte in New York City. Pierre eventually moved to South Florida and trained at American Top Team under Christian Toleque and the late Howard Davis Jr. Pierre finally made the leap to Bangkok in 2007, having about a dozen fights. Today, Pierre Smith teaches Muay Thai and strength and conditioning out of his home gym. He also has a podcast called Catching Wreck which is available on Soundcloud, iTunes and Google Play. Pierre can be reached at www.catchingwreck.com.