Wellington’s Angel Gym is getting a reputation as the most successful Muay Thai gym in the world.
“My boys, even though they were born in Thailand are so proud to represent Wellington,” coach Philip Bennett said.
“Every time they fight anywhere in the world you will see an Australian flag, Angel Gym and Wellington on their shorts.
“I have never asked them to do that, they have their own shorts made.
“They are proud of Wellington and choose to represent us by displaying our town on their fight shorts for the whole world to see.”
In England, Angel Gym’s Petchtanong won the World Muaythai Council (WMC) world title against Michael Dicks.
“As always, Petchtanong was giving away considerable weight but still won easily taking home the gold, winning by way of a knock out in the fourth round with a jumping knee to the head,’’ Bennett said.
Petchtanong is the first fighter in any ring combat sport to hold four professional world titles in four different weight divisions at one time, he said.
No other fighter in any ring combat sport has been able to achieve this.
“Petchtanong is now the current professional world champion at 61 kilograms, 63 kilograms, 66 kilograms and 69 kilograms,” Bennett said.
“The only world title he does not have is the one at his true weight 59kg as nobody on the planet seems willing to fight him at that weight.’
“I have always said how good this kid was and I’m so proud of him for proving it.
Petchtanong will next be representing Wellington at the Evolution promotion on May 5 in Queensland then in Luxembourg Thailand and America.
All fights are professional world title fights, Bennett said.
After he fights in America, Bennett will give Pethtanong a few weeks’ rest before he defends his 63 kilogram world title in Orange at the Conquest 2 Muaythai promotion.
“I want him to be fresh and at his best to perform locally,” Bennett said.
“If you missed his fight last time I highly recommend making the trip to Orange on June 23 as this kid has to be seen to be believed.
“He is without question the Muhhamed Ali of Muay Thai, the greatest show man in professional sports in the planet,” he said.
Bennett also had confidence in his other fighters.
“There is only one fighter alive who could beat petchtanong but thankfully he is also from Angel Gym, Saiyok,” he said.
“As a fighter, this man was my absolute hero. Now to be in his corner every time he fights is just a dream come true,” Bennett said.
One day after Petchtanong won his WMC world title in England he flew to Bangkok to work in Bennett’s other fighter Saiyok’s corner for his WMC world title fight, in the King’s Cup four-man tournament.
This fight was telecast live in over 50 countries across the globe and was watched by an estimated 40 million viewers.
“It was by far the biggest honour of my life as a trainer to work his corner for this (fight),’’ Bennett said.
Once a year the four best fighters alive are chosen to fight on one night in a four-man tournament for the King’s Cup and pro world title.
“My fighter Saiyok can easily make 65 kilograms however, as is the case with several Angel Gym Wellington fighters, nobody at his true weight will fight Saiyok,” Bennett said.
The tournament was at 72 kilograms and featured Collosa from South Africa, Jordan Watson from England, Mustaffa Abdallahi from Arab Emirates and representing Thailand and Australia was Angel Gym’s Saiyok.
In the first fight Saiyok drew Collosa from South Africa.
“Saiyok absolutely destroyed Collosa winning by a third round KO,’’ Bennett said.
“In the final, Saiyok fought Jordan Watson from England.
“I was a little concerned as Saiyok had fractured three ribs in his previous fight with Collosa, however this made little difference as Saiyok showed why he is regarded by most to be the greatest fighter who has ever lived and won every round on his way to becoming the WMC world champ and 2012 Kings Cup Champion,” he said.
The four-man tournament was to promote Muay Thai for Olympic recognition to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Muay Thai will now be at the London Olympics as an exhibition sport with medals to be won, the same as every other sport.
“Saiyok is currently the highest paid Muaythai fighter on the planet,” Bennett said.
“He has held over 40 professional world titles. He has a record of 242 fights, 208 wins. He has had 107 fights with non-Thai fighters and he has won 107 times, he has never lost to a foreign fighter.
“Nobody has to take my word for how good Saiyok is, just google Saiyok and they will see what I mean,” he said.
Bennett took the time to reflect on how far his gym has come.
“All in all it was the biggest week for Angel Gym since it opened seven years ago,” Bennet said.
“And by far the biggest of my career as a trainer of fighters. I have been training fighters for over 20 years but this was by far the greatest achievement I have had as a trainer to work with Saiyok and Petchtanong in one week on two such huge promotions was like a dream,” he said.