There have been hundreds of great Muay Thai fighters to come from outside of Thailand. Everyone has a different opinion on who they regard as the best, but the four I have picked, to me, are the elite of the bunch.
The reason why these are at the top of the tree in my opinion is because they made a huge noise in the home land of Muay Thai; they fought the best Thailand had to offer and in their backyard too.
It’s quite fashionable now to bring over high ranked Thais to fight on the bill against the hosting country’s top fighters, but in my opinion, to fight the top Thais inThailand is something special. The Thais like close fought bouts because of the gambling, so to be regarded as being able to fight at the same level is what sets these guys apart.
Jean Charles Skarbowsky
While I was in Thailand I would hear his name mentioned often by the Thai trainers which held him in high regard. One of the rumours I heard, so I’m not sure if it’s true or not, is that Skarbowsky was not a fan of cutting weight, so he often fought at a much heavier weight category but still gave a great account of himself.
Jean Charles retired back in June 2006 but before then he claimed four European titles, became world champion 2000-2005, and the winner of A1. Some of the notable opponents Skarbowsky has fought are Fuji Chalmsak, Nonthanon Por Pramuk, John Wayne Parr, Robert Kaenorrasing, Buakaw Por.Pramuk, Big Ben and many more.
Jean Charles featured in one of the episodes of Ultimate fighter, helping them to improve their stand up game. He turned up a little drunk from the night before and I think he got the wrong end of the stick as he was asked to teach them a lesson, so he did by knocking them about a bit which is quite amusing to watch as I dont think thats what the programmers had in mind.
John Wayne “The Gunslinger” Parr a.k.a. JWP born
You’d have to regard Wayne Parr as an active living legend. Having spent four years living in Thailand, Parr competed in 30 fights, winning two world titles and being voted the Best Farang (foreign) Fighter of the year in 1997.
He even put his hand to having a boxing career when he returned to Australia which he was also was successful at; winning the Australian boxing middleweight title.
His résumé holds a vast amount of titles and they still keep growing, as he is still very active having over 100 fights and still entertaining the fans of the sport. Parr has fought many of the big names such as Buakaw, Sakmongkon, Orono, Yodseanklai the list can keep going.
My career has been going for 18 years now, so seeing Wayne Parr at such a high level for so long and still doing well gives me the motivation to keep going.
Parr’s Titles and awards include –
1997 Best Farang Fighter inThailand,
2000 IMF Kings Cup World Middleweight champion,
2001 Kings Cup Champion,
2001 Australian Boxing Middleweight Champion,
2004 S-1 World Champion Middleweight Tournament Champion,
2004 Fighter of the Year by IronLife Magazine,
2004 Fighter of the year by International Kickboxer Magazine,
2007 WMC Middleweight Wold Champion,
2008 International Kickboxer Magazine World Champion Belt,
2008 WMC Contender Asia Runner-up and MANY more!
Danny, coming fromFrance, was a huge force in the golden era, dominating Europe and making a big name for himself in Thailand.
Unlike many of today’s fighters he was flown into Thailand to fight the big names of that era.
The only thing in my opinion which stops Bill taking the crown for being the best Western fighter, are the rumours of him not making weight for many of his fights with the Thais. The fights still went ahead but Bill’s purse would be deducted for each pound he was over.
However you cannot ignore how Bill often out skilled the Thais at their own game, his fights are a real joy to watch for those who like the finer skills in MuayThai.
Danny Bill was a 7 times world champion winning his first world title at just 17yrs of age and he has shared the ring with many of the greatest such as Sakmongkon, Sangtiennoi, Coban, Dekkers, Den Mungsurin.
Dekkers didn’t have a textbook Muay Thai style, which is why he doesn’t appeal to some hardcore fans of the sport. Dekkers also never used a Thai trainer while he was inThailand. His only pad holder was stepfather Cor Hemmers, even when they were flown into Thailand to fight; Cor would be Dekkers’s trainer.
Without a doubt though, Dekkers was the most successful westerner to fight in the major stadiums in Bangkok.
There have been many western fighters who have competed in the Bangkok stadiums, but none of them had the prestige that Dekkers had. All have actually been to Thailand off their own back and more often then not paid for their own flight for the privilege to fight, and weren’t flown in especially for the event like Dekkers. The only other westerner on the same level in my opinion is Danny Bill.
Dekkers fought the Thais at the their weight, so he had no advantage unlike many western fighters today. The gamblers loved him because of his knock out power, as he could change the course of a fight at any stage. He won some and lost some but he always gave 110%, fought ferociously and was entertaining to watch.
“There were so many Thai fighters at his weight but only one Ramon.” Cor Hemmers (Dekkers’s step father and trainer)
He fought almost all of the big names in the 90’s in their prime. I’ve spoken to many Thai fighters from that era and all had said that they wanted to test Muay Thai against Dekkers’s power.
Dekkers was 8 times world champion, having close to 200 fights, his style still to this day excites the fans of the sport and inspires many around the world.
Some of his notable opponents are: Numphon, Namkabuan, Coban, Sangtiennoi, Orono, Cherry and Sakmongkon just to name a few
It would be good to hear of other people’s opinions on who they regard as being the best none Thai fighters and why….