Changpuek Kiatsongrit is a legend in Muay Thai for proving its effectiveness despite a significant weight and rule disadvantage. Here he faces a Taekwondo black belt in the prestigious K-1 tournament, but under a special rules karate fight.
about Changpuek Kiatsongrit
Changpuek is a retired Thai Muay Thai . He is credited as being one of the first Muay Thai fighters to go abroad and fight other fighters of other martial arts styles, often stronger and heavier than himself, bringing to the world an understanding of the effectiveness of Muay Thai.
Changpuek is a seven time world champion who has fought some of the world’s best fighters at middleweight to heavyweight and has wins against world class fighters such as Rob Kaman (x3), Rick Roufus, Peter Smit and Tosca Petridis. After ending his career as a professional fighter while working for Sitpholek gym in Pattaya, Thailand, he continued his employment at that gym as a Muay Thai trainer.
Changpuek was born and raised in a small village some 30 km from the town of Prakhonchai, Buriram in northeastern Thailand, one of seven children. A young Changpuek became attracted to Muay Thai from watching local fighters and started training at home alongside his brothers under the tutelage of their father. He had his first fight at 14 and by 18 had left home to join the Kiatsongrit Gym in Bangkok, where he would remain for more than sixteen years.
Changpuek fought at the lower weights in his early years spent on the Bangkok circuit, weighing as little as 49 kg (108 lbs) on hisRajadamnern Stadium debut.
After fighting for a number of years in Thailand, Changpuek found it increasingly difficult to get fights domestically as his weight (70 kg) was not typical for a Thai where competitive bouts at tend to be at the lower weights. As a result, he started to fight abroad facing the K.I.C.K. world champion Rick Roufus in a non title fight in Las Vegas in 1988. Changpuek proved to be too powerful for Roufus, despite being knocked down in the first and suffering a broken jaw, won via knockout in the fourth round due to a culmination of low kicks that the American fighter was unprepared for.
In 1989 Changpuek faced another top class fighter in Rob Kaman. Changpuek won the first match of four between the two by decision in Paris setting the way for a rematch in Amsterdam the following year this time with the added bonus of the I.M.T.F. light heavyweight world title.
Kaman gained his revenge in Amsterdam knocking out Changpuek in the last round of their match. The third match between the pair followed two months later with Changpuek taking a decision victory and the belt which Kaman had only just won.