Sancherng Narupai (red) vs Manasak S Rajchai (blue) – this fight is likely from 1986.
I love Sancherng’s (red) crouched approach for the first two rounds, the way he gets so still and just swallows up space in front of Manasak, daring him to strike. Sancherng looks like a cat, the way they get really low, still and focused when they’re ready to pounce. As the rounds go on and he explodes out of his defense for strikes you can see how insanely fast he is. People love to watch knockouts because they’re exciting; I love to watch this kind of exchange of dominance. It’s suspenseful and thrilling but without the hope for a sudden end to it. There aren’t a lot of fights like this nowadays, but I don’t know that there were a lot of fights like this back in the day either. This one comes from a Sonchai best of (one of the biggest and longest-established promoters of Muay Thai) so it’s a standout no matter how you look at it. I hope I can find more of Sancherng Narupai’s fights. They say “styles make fights” and his style is just awesome.
[Update: Nik of Santai Gym on Facebook tells me Sancherng was Lumpinee Champion at 4 different weight classes, and still is a trainer at Pinsinchai camp. Called him possibly the best ever. He adds this photo of him: Nan, Sancherng, Phon and Vanlop, left to right.]