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A few weeks ago I was watching the Channel 7 fights at my favorite local restaurant and a young fighter named Saenpon (แสนพล) was fighting. The moment the fight started, I knew that this young fighter was special.
Saenpon’s fighting style was a perfect mix of skill and aggression. He was very technical, but at the same time he was extremely vicious and explosive. While everyone already knows famous fighters like Saenchai and Yodsanklai, I wanted to introduce you to a Next level fighter that you probably have never heard of.
Here are 8 Reasons Why Saenpon (the Fighter in RED) is Next Level: #1. He is Extremely Explosive
Throughout the fight Saenpon remains completely calm and relaxed. He looks like he was born to fight in the ring. He doesn’t show much emotion throughout the fight, maintaining the perfect poker face. When he does strike, he explodes from his state of relaxation, making it difficult for his opponent to block his strikes.This clip showcases Saenpon going from a state of calm, to exploding on his opponent. He is a fighter that belongs in the Muay Thai ring.
#2. He Sets Up His Strikes Beautifully With Feints
When you reach a certain level in Muay Thai, fighters will block most incoming attacks. One factor that separates the good from the best fighters is their ability to set up their strikes with feints. Fighters who can set up their strikes effectively have a much better chance of scoring points.This clip showcases Saenpon using feints to set up his straight punch through his opponents guard. Beautiful extension in the right straight allows him to land the punch cleanly on his opponent.Notice how relaxed Saenpon stays before he throws the straight right punch. Perfectly set up with feints that gets his opponent raising his left lead leg.
Here is another clip that showcases Saenpon disguising his strikes with feints.
Watch how Saenpon fakes a right kick, gets his opponent to raise his leg and steps forward with the same leg to deliver a left elbow strike. That is something you don’t see many fighters do..
#3. His Defensive Abilities and Counter Attacking
To be a good fighter you not only need to have good offense, you need to be able to block your opponent’s incoming attacks.This clip demonstrates Saenpon’s excellent defense and counter attacking abilities. Instead of letting his opponent get away with unanswered strikes, the moment his opponent backs off Saenpon strikes him with a right knee, right punch combination.
Notice how Saenpon holds his ground as his opponent comes in, giving him the position to counter strike when he backs off.This clip showcases Saenpon’s balance as he is always in a position to defend against any strike. He throws a Uppercut, straight punch, and then immediately blocks his opponents counter kick.
Look how relaxed Saenpon looks as he explodes for his punches and the easily blocks his opponent’s kick.
#4. His Punching Abilities
For a young fighter from Thailand, he displays crisp, hard, accurate punches. He is very good with his hands and demonstrates it throughout the fight.The following clip showcases Saenpon using effective punches to initiate and counter attack against his opponent. Very fast and explosive hands from this young talent.Notice how Saenpon throws short 1-2 combinations. He doesn’t do anything fancy, but whatever he uses is very effective.
#5. He Has The Perfect Blend of Aggression and Skil
I have talked a lot of about the battle between Aggression and Skill in Muay Thai. There are a few fighters who can battle both roles in a fight, Saenpon is one of them. Not only does he have next level skill, he can turn on his aggression to completely overwhelm opponents.
Click here to read the full article: The Battle of Skill vs Aggression in Muay Thai
This clip showcases Saenpon going for blood against his opponent. He turns the pace up and unleashes a nice series of punches and elbows, while avoiding his opponent’s attacks. This display of aggression makes him a tough fighter to face.
#6. His Footwork is Next Level
Once the fighter in blue realized that he was not winning the striking war, he immediately moves in to clinch Saenpon. While Saenpon is skilled in the clinch, he does not have the same advantages that he does at a distance. For this reason he uses footwork and arm control to avoid being locked down in the clinch.This clip showcases that beautiful footwork in action as Saenpon stay on the outside of he opponents lead leg to control him. Look at the footwork and arm control as he goes for the sweep.Notice how fast Saenpon is on his feet as he controls the distance and then goes in to sweep his opponent. Beautiful.
#7. His Aggressive Elbows
One of the best ways to counter someone who is coming forward is to throw a well timed elbow. Elbows can hurt an opponent and take away their vision when the blood starts dripping down.This clip showcases Saenpon throwing a perfectly timed right elbow that cuts his opponent as he moves forward. This is a great technique to use when you have someone trying to push forward into the clinch.Notice how Saenpon throws two soft jabs right before he throws the elbow. This helps him find the distance for his right elbow strike.Besides being skilled with the right elbow, Saenpon is also able to use his left elbow strike.Using the same left jab as before, instead of throwing the right elbow, he throws his left elbow strike around his opponents rear guard.
#8. His Clinch Defense
In order to be effective at range, Saenpon needs to be able to avoid his opponents clinch. To do this he uses a number of techniques to tie up his opponent so the referee will separate the fighters.This clip demonstrates Saenpon using the body lock to effectively lock down his opponent before he can be effective in the clinch.Notice how he uses the jab to initiate the body lock and lock his opponent down before he gets into the clinch.
Besides locking down his opponent before they get into the clinch, he also controls his opponent when they do end up clinching.This clip showcases how Saenpon quickly locks down his opponent by using his right arm to push the Blue fighters face away and using his left arm to control the back arm. He also uses the front leg to block any incoming knees. Perfect clinching defense.
“This is what Next Level looks like in Muay Thai”
These are just a few of the examples of Saenpon’s beautiful techniques that he displays in the fight. To get a full taste of his real skill you need to watch the full fight below.If you appreciate skill and technique, you will love watching Saenpon in the ring.
In Summary, here are some of the things that Saenpon does very well:
Saenpon (Red) is very good at staying relaxed, not making any unnecessary movements or tensing his muscles
He sets up his strikes with feints, making it difficult for his opponent (blue) to gauge his offense
Defensively, Saenpon blocks almost every attack his opponent throws at him
He utilizes his punches very well throughout the fight, setting them up with good combinations
As his opponent is charging forward, he counters him very well with strong elbows
He also makes it very difficult for his opponent to get inside the clinch, using the long guard and sweeping his opponent on numerous occasions
Once inside the Clinch, Saepon ties up his opponent and nullifies his attacks.
A Future Star
Saenpon is one of the many young talented fighters in Thailand. He has a fighting style that I love watching because it showcases Muay Thai at its finest. I am looking forward to seeing what Saenpon can do in the future as he continues to face tougher competition.Saenpon has a very bright future ahead of him if he continues to showcase the type of dominance that he displayed in this fight.I will be posting more videos of Saenpon in the future.All of the techniques and strategies that Saenpon uses in this fight are listed in my new book Muay Thai Counters. If you like reading about Muay Thai strategy and Counter tactics, I highly recommend you read my books.
Karate Japanese pronunciation: [kaɽate] is a martial art developed on the Ryukyu Islands in what is now Okinawa, Japan. It developed from the indigenous martial arts of Ryukyu Islands (called te (手?), literally "hand"; tii in Okinawan) under the influence of Chinese martial arts, particularly Fujian White Crane. Karate is now predominantly a striking art using punching, kicking, knee strikes, elbow strikes and open hand techniques such as knife-hands, spear-hands, and palm-heel strikes. Historically and in some modern styles grappling, throws, joint locks, restraints, and vital point strikes are also taught. A karate practitioner is called a karateka.