Not just Muay Thai: Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, the Thai who shocked the boxing world
Not just champions in combat sports like Muay Thai and K-1. Thailand has his elite fighters even in western boxing. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, in just 6 months, has passed from anonymity to top ten ranking pound-4-pound. Sor Rungvisai’s story (real name Wisaksil Wangek) remember an Hollywood movie. Born in an isolated town in Northern Thailand, from a poor family, with only 13 years old left home to go Bangkok, in search of fortune. He could find just a job as trash collector in a department store. With a very low salary, he often had to pick up food in the rubbish. He used to practice Muay Thai in gym, but then he started Western Boxing, as his family and his girlfriend told him that he could earn some money more, maybe. <<Move from Muay Thai to Boxing is not so easy>> says, <<in the ring you have to remember you can’t kick your opponent. It’s something about muscular memory>>. After 5 professional matches, a 1-3-1 record and a perspective of ‘journeyman’ career, Sor Rungvisai decide: things have to chance, or no more pain in the ring. Well, things changed. Seventeen consecutive victories and WBC superfly world title in 2013. Some celebrity and good dollars, but the twist of fate seems too short. He lost the belt in his first match on American continent, against Mexican Cuadras. Sor Rungvisai came back to Thailand, in the shadow. He tried to apply to work as police officer, his dream since he was a child, but no way. But he didn’t give up, and he kept training and fighting in his country. Finally, the big chance appeared: a match at Madison Square Garden, New York, valid for the WBC world title, against the boxer who many considered the best pound-4-pound, Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, from Nicaragua. Nobody could believe in the victory of Sor Rungvisai, against a champion, unbeaten, with a fantastic record of 46-0-0. But that night, 18th March 2017, the upset of the year happened: the Thai won for majority decision. Twelve tremendous rounds, a verdict doubtful (Gonzalez landed more punches), accusation of unfair fighting (Sor Rungvisai hit with his head the opponent in the first part of the match in a close exchange). <<I want a rematch immediately. That belt is mine>> said Gonzalez, who felt robbed. And after 6 months, he was satisfied, with the rematch scheduled on 9th September. Even in this new challenge, everybody saw the Latino like the man to beat, the favorite. But Gonzalez, stepped the ring that night with a faded sight. The result was even more dramatic: Sor Rungvisai destroyed in four rounds the former champion, with a severe K.O. and a night spent in the hospital. <<In the first match, i only trained for two months. This time four months. I wanted to be sure to ensure my victory by knock-out>> declared the Thai.
Today Sor Rungvisai is finally a police officer, but he spends most of the time in gym, waiting for his next title defence. <<I can’t forget that boxing allowed me and my family to escape poverty>>. He keeps living in his native province, he started studying Politic Science. But seems he has not forgotten his origin: rumours tell that his favorite dish is grilled rat.