It was another hard year for the world of Muay Thai. Stadiums and shows opened up and then were shut down. Gyms experienced waves of Covid closures making consistency difficult. But three hundred sixty five days passed and life continued.
We wanted to point to the highs of the year.
Pro Muay Thai Fighter Male: Superbon Banchamek
The elite level fighter started in Muay Thai but has transitioned into kickboxing. His two bouts for the year against Sittichai Sittsongpeenong and Georgio Petryosan saw him winning at the highest level. His knock out of “The Doctor” shocked the world.
Superbon hasn’t fought Muay Thai rules since at least 2015 so why is he our pro fighter of the year? For what he’s done for the sport.
His knock out win brought a spotlight on Thai fighters and their ability to adjust to different rule sets. His seminar tour across the states helped spread the sport. His social media showed that elite level fighters can maintain a strong marketing presence while winning. Finally he was open about why he shifted from kickboxing to Muay Thai. Hint, it was money.
His seminar tour included gyms such as: Warrior Family, East LA Muay Thai, Sityodtong LA, Kaensak Muay Thai, Team Toro, Sitan and more.
Superbon’s strong performance this year showed how well athletes can do when they leverage their talents, popularity, and marketing into real success. It also shows how big the market for the sport actually is.
Pro Muay Thai Fighter Female: Niamh Kinehan
Our second stand out for the year is the indominable Niamh Kinehan. Well known in the UK the hard hitting Kinehan has been training out of Frank Hudder’s gym for ages. She’s also been on a strong run of form. She went 4 for 4 in the last year.
It was an impressive showing especially 1: Covid 19 restrictions 2: the number of available opponents a high level talent like her has.
Kinehan is the number 1 contender for the WBC women’s lightweight belt.
Her last showing at Lion Fight helped expose her to a more international market. We hope that she continues to grow.
Inspirational Story Of 2021: The Comeback Of Ognjen Topic
Nothing hits as hard as life. Serbian fighter Ognjen Topic knows that. He’s had several successes in 2021. His knock out against Fahlikit Sor Parath in the fourth was a massive upset. But the inspiration for the year was his most recent bout against Chalawan JomhodMuayThai. Knocked down in the third Topic. He steadied himself on the ropes and came back with a strong fourth and a fifth round knock down.
A win without a little drama seems hardly a win. The gamblers were upset with the judge’s decisions and stormed the ring. Topic remained a cool cucumber and took home the win along with a hefty prize from gym owner Sia Kaek.
Ognjen Topic knock out win
Development of the year: Photographers And Content Creators
The world of media relies on content creators. Photographers, videographers and other creators shape our understanding of Muay Thai. Despite the slow down in events these people continued to prevail and shine a light upon the sport. They bring attention to the sport, and attention is the most valuable commodity in our current world.
A strong thank you to strong talents like: Panom Yimsiri, Taylor Sims, Jay Airis, William Luu, Hristo Petkov, Jeannie of Tiny Teeps, etc. And the sport would not be the same without the continued efforts of people like Pari Aryafar, Siam Fight News, Muay Thai Results, Muay Ying, Muay Iyarin and others.
Results from 2020 Muay Thai Gram Awards
The Muay Thai Gram Sponsored Athletes bouts in 2021:
Angela Chang vs Lisa Lynn for flyweight freedom fighter promotion belt: Points Win
Angela Chang vs Thestar Sitchor: Points Win
Thai Ngan Le vs Mareeya Chor.Thanaporn: Points Win
Thai Ngan Le vs Kwankaw Por Muengpetch: Points Win
Jalill Barnes IFMA: Silver Medal for Under 23kg with win over Samingdech Anuwat Muay Thai Gym
October 30th Jalill Barnes vs Versus Numtessakij Extra-Cole Muay Hardcore: Points Win
October 10th Jalill barnes vs Petchfocus 128lbs : Points Loss
November 20th Jalill barnes vs Yodsaenchai: Points Win
March 28th Jalill vs Sikhwae TN Muay Th Muay Thai Superchamp: Points Win
March 6th Jalill vs Yodwittaya Santi Muay Thai 59kg Muay Hardcore: Points Win
March 28th Brogan vs Rittidech Diamond 98 67kg: Points Loss
March 13th Omar Halaby vs Chaophrya Petch Por Tor Aor 60kg: Points Loss