Let’s continue to acquaint our readers with Muay Thai history as well as biographies of great Muay Thai fighters.
Today we are going to introduce you to – Orono Wor Petchpun, who, from being an ordinary teenager took the thorny path to become a world recognized champion.
The multiple World Muay Thai Champion Orono Vor Petchpun was born on the 22nd August, 1978 in Nonthaburi. His father named his son after the legendary Muay Thai fighter of the 60s, Orono Por Muangubon.
HOW DID ORONO WENT INTO MUAY THAI
«One of my childhood memories: waking up in the morning with my 7 brothers and 2 sisters, thinking about how to help my parents. They were farmers and grew rice, earning only enough to buy food. But so did many around us. I was then 10 years old, we worked in the fields under the exhausting sun. I thought that if things were continuing like this, then in 20 years I would follow the footsteps of my parents. I got another plan. Instead of working in the fields, I got a job as a fisherman. I needed money to get a bachelor’s degree in the future. I didn’t want to be a burden for my parents. Every evening after school, I used to set up the nets. I then woke up a few hours earlier than everyone else in the morning, picked up the fishes from the nets and sold them. I didn’t earn much, but it was enough to pay for the school meals.
On Sundays my father used to watch Muay Thai fights on TV. A lot of boys gathered near the TV to watch the eight-armed martial arts. It didn’t matter who was wining in the ring, the fights were exciting and memorable. One day, the father said: “I have eight sons, it’s a little pity that none of them are engaged in Thai boxing.” Those words echoed in my head.
When I was 15 years old, one of my classmates came up to me and ask if it was true that did not have any money. There was no need to ask, it was a known fact for the whole school. Then he showed me his pocket, it was full of money. A classmate said he earned his money on the ring. He suggested that I could put my hands at Muay Thai. Then I remembered the words of my father from the other day, and the money was very tempting.
After school, my classmate and I went to a Muay Thai camp. It was located near the school, a few kilometers away. When we first entered the gym, my friend told to the coach that I wanted to try Muay Thai.
I had never been to a Muay Thai camp before and the sound of the punches and the kicks on the bags and the pads made my heart skip a beat… There were boys of all ages, from 7 years old and older, and they were oranised as one close-knit group, like a team that picked up the idea of a victory.
The walls were decorated with photos of champions and belts. Back then, I would have never imagined that my photo would hang next to one of them, they were great fighters.
The trainer came up to me, looked at me and said that I was too thin and my bones could only be bruised and “cut”. I replied that I wanted to try. The coach asked about my age, I replied that I was 15 years old, and then he clicked my tongue and said that my time had passed and it was too late at this age to start learning Thai boxing. But I promised to try hard and they took me.
After a while, I proved to the coach that he was wrong. After 2 months of training, I won my first fight and earned the first fee of 300 baht. It was a small amount, but I was happy. Then I knocked out my opponent with a left knee. My first victory motivated me to go and train further. I won 8 fights in a row, trained and attended school at the same time.
In my first gym, I learned a lot, how to improve the clinch, the work of the knees and elbows. My coaches forced me to focus on these moments, forced me to repeat techniques, combinations and drills hundreds of times.
Later, when I moved to another gym, the trainers said that my moves were great, but far from perfect. And I realized that there is no limit to this, and I trained even more willingly and became stronger. I knew there was a lot to learn in a relatively short amount of time.
On the ring, I became famous for my left hand, knee and elbow strikes. I won a lot of fights with them. I beat many great fighters, such as Yodsanklay, Buakaw, Saenchai on the ring. In all my fights, my tactics never changed, nothing scared me, I just wanted to win and survive.
In 2001 I met Buakaw on the ring. It was just after I became the champion of the stadium. In the same year I received my bachelor’s degree. In Thailand, especially in our province, higher education is considered a luxury. But I have accumulated enough funds for it. It was important for me to win and complete my education as well. It was an honor for my family. I earned the respect in my family after I won that fight and completed my education»
WHO WAS YOUR MOST DIFFICULT OPPONENT ON THE RING?
«Of all my opponents, Saenchai turned out to be the toughest. His technique was amazing, and very relaxed and fast. This is the main reason why he is considered a legend and one of the best fighters in the world. Unlike other fighters, he is very mobile and unpredictable. In our first meeting, Saenchai proved his legendary status, it was a close fight, but he was more technical and got the victory. I knew that I would meet him on the ring again and I knew that I needed to prepare better.
Two years later we met again. I used my height to keep my distance, I often used a teep. Saenchai constantly tried to get to me, but he met my left counter punch. I knew that I had to stick to this tactic. I got a couple of good shots in the first round, including the famous wheel kick. When I finally got him into the clinch, I attacked him with knees and elbows. I won that night, it was one of the most amazing moments of my life. I was exhausted emotionally and physically, but I won»
PRESENT LIFE OF ORONO
Looking back, I want to thank my coaches for the opportunity they gave me. Without them and Muaythai, I would not have the life I have today.. Now I have everything and my family does not need anything. I no longer compete on the ring, but I pass on my experience and knowledge to my students. I coach and I know that this is how I can help those in need, such as I once was.
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