Interview by Tony Nobbs: One Songchai Promotions (onesongchai.com) is a name synonymous with the very best of boxing and Muay Thai in the Asian country where both are national sports with nightly shows held to capacity crowds and millions of school children dream of becoming champions and escaping a life of poverty.
This success stems from hard work and commitment, looking after the interests of fighters while consistently providing audiences with top level match – ups for reasonable prices, at stadiums Lumpini and Rajadamnern, since 1975.. Besides his involvement in boxing and Muay Thai, sixty two year old Songchai Ratanasuban, founder of One Songchai, seeks to make a contribution to society through charitable foundations, donating millions of baht (Thai currency) as well as time, to worthy causes targeting at – risk groups, war veterans and retired fighters. He has played a crucial role in the development of boxing in Thailand and is the only Thai promoter / manager to produce ten world champions.
Mr Songchai, was born on March 5 1946 and grew up with his elder brother and sister in Chachoengsao Province. In 1973 he married Miss Saowanee Tungkongphanit and today the couple live in Bangkok with their son Mr Siraphop and daughters Miss Pataraporn and Miss Pariyakorn.
I met Siraphop (Songchai Junior) last year and have kept in contact with him as he continues, with sister Pariyakorn, the transition of taking over the company his father built from the ground, today being the number one boxing promoter in Thailand and the world’s premier Muay Thai promoter. I recently spoke with One Songchai Vice President Siraphop, 32, who has a masters degree in marketing and finance. He graciously took the time to answer the following questions.
Tony Pritchard Nobbs: Hello Siraphop. You and your sister Miss Pariyakorn are in transition of taking over the reigns of One Songchai. How has it been so far?
Siraphop Ratanasuban: It has been very enjoyable. I continue to learn.
TN: How many fighters do you have in your stable?
SR: We have about twenty boxers and one thousand muay thai boxers
TN: What big fights are lined up?
SR: We plan for our boxers to fight every two months. We had wanted to challenge for WBC championship for Chonlatarn on December 5 for King’s Birthday. To celebrate for Kings Birthday we have over one hundred thousand people come to open door royal ground for both muay thai and boxing. We plan to promote Tukta Sor Ratana for world Female Title. Tukta fought a non title draw with our WBC (Atomweight – 102 lb) champion Winyu on October 23.
TN: How many promotions do you have per month?
SR: At least six muay thai a month, one boxing a month.
TN: You have visited Australia quite a few times. How do you find this country?
SR: I love Australia. I think Australian people are very nice and beautiful. They are very friendly. If I do not have family, business to run, then I want to move to Australia. It is much better than the US where people are more aggressive.
TN: Who do you say is the best Thai boxer today?
SR: Now Thailand has no (men) world champion based here. I cannot see anyone special. I do not want to say my boxers.
TN: Who would you say is the best Thai boxer of all time?
SR: We must honor Khaosai Galaxy who defended his WBA (super flyweight) title nineteen times which is the most in Thailand.
TN: Tell us One Songchai world champion boxers
SR: 1/ Pitchit Chor Siriwat, WBA 108 lb. 2/ Samart Payakarun, WBC 122 lb. 3/ Muangchai Kittikasaem, IBF 108 and WBC 112 lb. 4/ Pitchit Sith Bangrajan, IBF 112 lb. 5/ Dowrung Chor Siriwat two time WBA 118 lb. 6/ Yokthai Sith Oar, WBA 118 lb. 7/ San Sor Ploenjit, WBA 112 lb. 8/ Yodsanan 3K Battery, WBA 130 lb, 9/ Yoddumrong Singongcha, WBA 122 lb, 10/ Winyu Paradorn Gym, WBC female102 lb.
TN: Who are your rising stars?
SR: We have Chonlartan Piriyapinyo – WBC number 3 featherweight and ABCO champion (22-0,11 KO’s), Saddam Kietyongyuth – WBC number 21 lightweight and ABCO champion (13-0, 9 KO’s) and new WBC Atomweight female champion Winyu Paradorn Gym (4-1-1, 1 KO).
TN: How many trainers do you have in your gym?
SR: I have two but most of my boxers train in the other three hundred gyms we work with.
TN: Describe an average day for you
SR: Get up at 6 am, go muay thai training. Have breakfast at 8 am. 8.30, walk to work in the office, telephone sponsors, hotels, tour companies, Sport Authority of Thailand, Minister of Sport and government people to hold promotion. Finish at 5.30pm, then go to temple and meditate and dinner often with those people mentioned above.
TN: Thanks Siraphop
SR: No. Thank you Tony. This is you helping me.