In the world of Muay Thai it is hard to find a more compelling rivalry than the one between these two champions. The level of attitude and electricity these two brought to the ring filled the stadiums and inspired the nation. Everybody knew that when Jongsanan “the Woodenman” and Sakmongkol Sithchuchok faced off in the boxing ring it would be a true war.
The fight that made the biggest impact on the “Golden Age” of Muay Thai was their 5th fight. An incendiary exchange that was notoriously dubbed “The Elbow Fight”, which was subsequently chosen as “Fight of the Year” and nominated for “Fight of the decade.” What was truly extraordinary about this fight began early in the second round (aprox 1:50) where you will see Jongsanan taking an intense amount of pressure given by Sakmongkol, and as a result an uppercut sends him reeling back to the corner where he gets caught by a heavy right hand that sends him down. He gets back up and puts on a relaxed demeanor with his arms laying comfortably on the ropes while the referee gives him an 8 count.
What many don’t know is that Jongsanan tells another side of the story. That initial uppercut hit him so hard that he was unable to see, and after that right hand that sent him to the mat, Jongsanan was barely able to rise. He was trying to look as if he was fine but needed the ropes to hold him up. He was not sure at that point whether he would be able to finish the fight. As you can see it took him a bit to get his wheels back under him while Sakmongkol swung wildly in an effort to stop the fight then and there. Jongsanan simply tried to survive. Then the storm of elbows begins to rise (aprox 2:20) and is sustained until the end of the round (aprox 4:19). This was considered one of the most brutal single rounds in Muay Thai history.
Many people comment that Sakmongkol did not incur any cuts during that flurry of elbows and there has been speculation that it was because Sakmongkol had a decided weight and size advantage. But despite those differences the two went on to exhibit amazing heart and evenly matched ability throughout the rest of the fight. The excitement of this bout was so intense that gamblers from the audience approached both fighters in between rounds and offered huge sums of money to win the fight. As it turned out that fight went to a decision and was won by Sakmongkol. However, out of all the times that these two fought Jongsanan won 5 times and Sakmongkol won 3.
Given that they fought a total of 8 times they became more to each other than just a kickboxer’s nemesis. They became very dear friends. And once they both retired from kickboxing they even held seminars together recounting the opposing techniques and strategies of their famous fights. Anyone who is a fan of Thai fighters must admit that very few were ever as good as these two Nak Muay, especially when the step in the ring together.