10 Of The Most Terrific Muay Thai Fights You Should Watch

10 Of The Most Terrific Muay Thai Fights You Should Watch
Muay Thai Wednesday

Writing a list of the best or the most entertaining Muay Thai bouts in history is an extremely difficult task. Fans can have wildly different preferences when it comes to the fights that inspire them, therefore no matter how hard you try, such a list will never have the global Muay Thai community in agreement.

When we made this list, we looked for fights featuring beautiful displays of Muay Thai between evenly matched opponents. The ones that stood out were those where the narrative of a fight shifted and evolved over the course of many rounds as the fighters adjusted to the changing gameplans of their opponents. Fights with a great story, that added drama and lifted the emotional stakes of the fight were a bonus.

So, without further ado, here are 10 fights (with video) that we consider to be among the most terrific ever fought in the art of eight limbs and we believe should be considered for every fan’s personal list.


1) Samart Payakaroon Vs Dieselnoi Chor Thanasukarn

To fully explain the magnitude of this fight to new fans you’d have to tell them to imagine what would have happened if Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson both faced each other in their prime. Both men were at the absolute pinnacle of the sport in their respective weight classes when they faced each other in 1982, with Dieselnoi stepping down in weight to meet his much shorter adversary in what would later be awarded fight of the year.

What made this fight even more exciting was that both fighters had opposing styles. Samart was known for his high IQ and Muay Femur style which allowed him to use his opponent’s aggression against them to secure the win. Dieselnoi was the textbook definition of Muay Khao, an aggressive clinch and knee fighter, stalking opponents and not giving them a chance to breathe once he had locked them in his grip. Their presence in the ring was like oil and water and many fans saw this not just as a fight between men, but as a battle to see which style was superior.


2) Roy Wills Vs Chadd Collins

This fight between two of the best super-lightweights Australia has ever produced holds special significance in The Land Down Under. Both men were in top form and high in the world rankings, so there was an incredible amount of hype around this fight on the Australian circuit when they were scheduled to meet on the Rebellion stage in 2015. Both fighters had contrasting styles with the West Australian, Wills, favoring the power and timing of his right leg while the Queenslander, Collins, utilized footwork, volume, and incredible speed.

The fight lived up to everyone’s wildest expectations in what became a calculated clash of titans. Wills stalked forward from the opening round to find a home with his trademark right kick while Collins remained active yet evasive. It remained this way until the halfway point of the fight when Wills began to add the clinch to his game plan, utilizing it to outscore Collins while nullifying his highly successful hands. In the end, this made all the difference, with Wills securing a very close points decision in one of the most competitive matches ever held on Australian soil.


3) Namsaknoi Vs Saenchai

Of all Muay Thai’s distinctive styles, the Muay Femur is the most beautiful to watch. So, when two men, each being regarded as among the best Muay Femur of all time were matched to fight, fans were eager to know who was better at this high IQ style of fighting.

The fight began in typical Muay Femur fashion with each man feeling the other out, testing their opponents’ defenses, and trying to get an idea of the gameplan that their adversary had in store for them. Then, in the second round, Namsaknoi changed gears and made the tactical decision to stop Saenchai from using the precision and skill that had made him a stadium champion. He began to find opportunities within kick exchanges to engage in the clinch where he was able to outscore the shorter, Saenchai. This success snowballed in later rounds and Namsaknoi clinched his way to a points victory.


4) Lamnamoonlek Vs Samingdet

It didn’t come as a surprise to hardcore fans when the 2023 RWS Super-Lightweight grand final between Lamnamoonlek Tded99 and Samingdet Nor. Anuwatgym became an instant classic. The pressure was on for the two fighters who had spent the majority of the year facing the best fighters the world had to offer for their chance to fight for the RWS title and a prize of 3 million baht.

The two men didn’t disappoint and delivered one of the best kick battles in Muay Thai history. While this tit-for-tat war of body kicks may not have had the fireworks that would have a layman fan on the edge of their seat, it was a fast-paced chess match of speed and timing that true lovers of the sport won’t be able to pull their eyes away from. Throughout the five-round Muay Thai clinic, the two men fixated almost entirely on body kicks. Punches were thrown sparingly, either as a way to make space for a shin to connect to ribs or as a way to unbalance an opponent and stop them from returning after a scoring kick.

It was a highly competitive fight, but Lamnamoonlek was able to catch, counter, and evade just slightly more of Samingdet’s kicks over the course of five rounds to become crowned the 2023 RWS Super-Lightweight Champion.


5) Tawanchai Vs Petchmorakot

This Lightweight Championship bout between two of the most elite Southpaw strikers on the planet was in the running for the ONE Championship fight of the year and for good reason. This high IQ fight changed shape and style over the course of five rounds, silencing the Muay Thai purists that like to claim that the 4oz gloves and ONE’s global ruleset inadvertently force fighters to take a Muay Mat/ Muay Bouk approach to fighting.

The challenger, Tawanchai, and then reigning champion, Petchmorakot showed fans what is possible when the elite stadium Muay Thai experience meets in the ONE cage. The men were cautious in the first round, showing respect for their opponent’s ability to end the fight in a single strike as they ‘felt’ each other out with low-risk strikes. As they found their rhythm in the second round the men drifted into a boxing chess match with the champion favoring a fast jab to search for openings while the challenger attempted to find a home for his powerful left hand on his jaw.

At the mid-way point of round three Petchmorakot changed gears and began creating opportunities to clinch with great success, finding openings to land several elbows in the later part of the fourth round. Tawanchai, who had been pushed backward for much of the previous round, then flipped the momentum in the final round by cutting angles and landing more of his trademark kicks, capturing a very narrow and divisive victory in what was one of the best Muay Thai exhibitions to ever take place in the ONE arena.


6) Liam Harrison vs Singdam Kiatmuu9

When two champions from different countries collide, anticipation is always high. Often, the fight becomes more than a war between men, but a battle for bragging rights between nations. This 2015 contest between the pride of England, Harrison, and 3 division Lumpinee World Champion, Singdam, had the makings of a classic before the first bell even sounded.

Harrison, a proven knockout artist who throws every strike with deadly intent, had early success with his leg kicks in this fight.  While Singdam was outscoring the Englishman with fast body kicks early in the fight, Harrison battered his lead leg, literally kicking it out from under him as the bell sounded to close out the second round. The swelling and damage to his leg were so severe that veteran Muay Thai commentator, Vinny Shoreman, confidently announced, “Liam will finish him” as the Englishman resumed his assault early in the third round.

As if intent on proving Shoreman wrong, Singdam immediately changed the rhythm of the fight. Fighting fire with fire, he charged the Englishman down with step through knees and clinching so that Harrison couldn’t continue to assault his wounded leg. His dramatic show of heart and fortitude led him to a close victory in a highly competitive match that will inspire fans on every rewatch.


7) Robert Kaennorsing Vs Namkabuan Nongkeepayuth

This bout won the 1992 Sportswriters Association of Thailand Fight Of The Year Award, and for good reason.  When they met in the center ring, Robert held the 126lb Rajadamnern Title, while Namkabuan held the 130lb Lumpinee Title, making this a contest to see who could claim to be Bangkok’s true champion.

Both men brought a masterclass of skill, timing, and intelligence to every single one of their kick and clinch exchanges in this fight. Their legs were fast and precise. Their clinch battles were ones of IQ rather than violence. Both men foregoing massive knee battles to fight for arm and body position so they could score massive sweeps and dumps. It was an extremely tight contest until round 4, when Robert began to edge ahead with a fatal mixture of footwork, balance, and kicks, to secure a well-earned victory.


8) Daniel McGowan vs Ja Kiatphontip

This ICO World Title bout between Englishman, Dan McGowan, and Thai, Ja Kiatphontip, was a fast-paced and technical war between two very intelligent fighters that could truly do it all. The two men traded punches, kicks, elbows, and knees in an exciting battle where the lead swayed several times a round as both fighters adjusted to one another’s incredible skill sets.

The first round started at range with both men battering their opponent’s legs and ribs with massive kicks but when McGowan scored two massive sweeps at the end of the round, Ja was quick to adjust. The Thai began to work his way into the clinch in round two, but McGowan quickly adjusted to the change of style and landed several unanswered elbows in the later part of the round, timing them as the Thai charged in. Instead of shying away from the clinch altogether, Ja switched tempo, changing between kick exchanges at range and punches to search out safe opportunities to lock on, and while McGowan had many successes firing kicks off the back foot, the difficulty in timing Ja’s clinch assaults led the Thai to a narrow and thrilling victory.


9) Sakmongkol Sithchuchok vs Pairoj Wor.Walapon

The 1996 Beer Chang Muay Thai Tournament final is amongst the greatest of all time, mostly because everything about it was so unexpected. It was a bout between two of Thailand’s most prolific southpaws, who bafflingly spent most of the fight trading in an orthodox stance.

Sakmongkol usually fought much heavier and had a considerable height and reach advantage. All of this combined with his aggressive, walk-forward style was rumored to have made him a two-to-one favorite as he stepped over the ropes to face Pairoj.

Astonishingly, both fighters met in orthodox stance for most of the opening rounds, a tactical maneuver to prepare for the powerful left kicks that they expected their opponent to hurl at their bodies. The opening rounds were a bone-crunching chess match with Sakmongkol occasionally switching southpaw in an attempt to catch Pairoj off guard.

Then in round four, Sakmongkol switched stance and gears, attempting to overwhelm his smaller opponent with a deadly mixture of power and pressure. Pairoj’s defences were impenetrable and unperturbed by the bigger fighter’s imposing presence he was able to counter-fight his way to victory and the huge, million-baht prize.


10) Toby Smith vs John Wayne Parr

For Australian Muay Thai fans, the emotional stake in the bout between these two men couldn’t have been higher. In one corner was Parr, the most decorated and successful Australian on the international Muay Thai circuit, and Smith, the young blood who had symbolically followed in his footsteps, spending three years living and fighting in Thailand to become an international star. The hype around this fight described the match as a battle between “The Prince” and “The King,” and it was a battle to see who would be crowned as Australia’s number one Super-Middleweight.

The fight opened at a lightning pace from the opening bell and both men tested each other in all aspects of the Muay Thai skillset. Their kick exchanges were even, but Parr landed better boxing combos while Smith got the upper hand in the clinch. This became the standard for the fight and in round two Toby increased the pressure looking to lock on and knee. Parr scored on the back foot before spoiling Smith’s clinch whenever he found himself backed onto the ropes. Parr’s experience served him well and in the third round, he was able to counter Smith’s charge by cutting angles and he even turned the challenger onto the ropes several times. Despite this, Smith’s incredible work rate eventually tired the reigning king and he was able to score a knockout victory, shattering Parr’s orbital bone with a savage elbow to claim the crown.


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