Mar 4, 2020
For more on this fight read my previous post: The Dieselnoi vs Samart Fight (1982) - the Holy Grail GOAT vs GOAT - in watching the video above please turn on English Subtitles CC on YouTube. There is a pre-interview, and the fight starts around min 16, then there is a post interview.
The Holy Grail of Fights Watched By Dieselnoi
That this fight video, and interview exists is beyond imagination. Not long ago, nobody other than the folks who were in the stadium along with the fighters had ever seen the historic GOAT vs GOAT, Dieselnoi vs Samart fight, "The Holy Grail of Fights". This was a fight that top promoter (for decades and whose promotions shaped the Golden Age) OneSongchai said he never would have allowed, himself. (It was, in fact, promoted by the notorious Klaew Sor. Thanikul.) This fight would determine who would be awarded Fighter of the Year in 1982, with the fight taking place on Christmas Eve of that year. This fight is the Knee Fighter versus the Femeu Fighter. And now, 37 years after the fact, we have video.
The original fight video was uncovered by my patron Harri, of Turku Thaiboxing Club, digging through an old VHS tape given to the gym by Smingnum. Hidden treasure, indeed. Thank you Harri for making this video available for us all to see!
Even the surfacing of this video is made possible through the community that is my amazing patrons. VHS tapes of old fights exist all over the world, dusty or buried, and it takes an eye that can recognize the fighters to even know what value they might have. That's what happened with this fight: a patron whose eye knew what the Holy Grail might look like, was able to see it when it emerged before his eyes. And then to post it so it can be seen by others - a decidedly uncollector-like move, which I think is so beautiful. Because the whole ethic of my channels, even before Patreon, was to share as much as possible; so others with that same ethic are the foundation of this community, and look what comes out of that. If you are a patron know that you, in your way, also made this interview even possible.
Because of my patrons, I have been able to go around Thailand and film with Legends, Krus, and Fighters for the Muay Thai Library - Preserve the Legacy project, preserving the technique of Muay that is fast disappearing from Thailand, but also archiving the men who embody these skills, styles, and aesthetics. Dieselnoi, of all the people I've ever met in my life, both embodies and keeps precious the glory of Muay Thai. To be able to know him, as I do, is probable because we share this love for the art and life of Muay, but it's possible because I was able to meet him at all, filming for my patrons. And I've been able to help support him financially through the generosity of my patrons, including bringing him to Pattaya 3 days per week for 6 months, in the Legends in Residence program, which brings the Legends of the Golden Age back into direct teaching contact with the active young Thai fighters of Lumpinee and Rajadamnern, at my gym Petchrungruang in Pattaya. With Dieselnoi here, we were able to sit down with him and interview him, then watch this Holy Grail fight with him and have him reminisce and lecture, as he likes to do in equal parts. He's wonderful. And, again through the help of my patrons, we were then able to have this interview and watch-along professionally translated, so that Dieselnoi can speak for himself and with his own, incredible personality shining through.
A Few Notes
As a side note, my Thai is good enough to carry long and natural conversations but I sometimes miss things - I certainly cannot translate these interviews myself and do them justice. As such, there are two times in this interview where I missed what Dieselnoi was saying and kind of moved on without giving attention to the incredible thing he was telling me. This is not disinterest, it's that I literally didn't grasp what he was saying and wasn't able to catch it and draw out more.
The first thing I missed, Dieselnoi tells me that the head of his gym scolded him between rounds 3 and 4, accusing him of throwing the fight because he looked like he was holding back. The head of his gym, very connected to Mafia and who had probably killed people before, said, "hand me a gun, Doi is throwing the fight." And I missed that (above). Talking to Dieselnoi today I asked him if he was afraid. He said he was, as Mr. Kuang, had killed people before. Dieselnoi's ultimate boss was one of the biggest mafia bosses in Thailand, and Mr. Kuang ran the Thanikul gym for him, as I understand. It's hard to grasp the absolute intensity of having your life threatened for not going hard enough, when going back to the corner in the Fight of the Year, and having to fight your very good friend. This is the kind of man Dieselnoi is, he walked that line.
Secondly, Kevin asks a question at the very end about who is considered the GOAT and why. Dieselnoi very humbly explains that while he was unbeatable in the ring, he did not leave his fighting career with financial success. It's a biting, sad moment and I didn't hear him clearly enough to respond in kind. That's what followup interviews are good for, I reckon. After this fight Dieselnoi did not ascend into the immortality of Best Ever. He had many difficult years, despite pulling off the victory here (and then twice against the fearsome Sagat), until basically running out of opponents. Samart on the other hand grew into an embraced legend, not only of the ring, but of the screen. Only now with the film of this fight coming to light, can history glimpse more fully back onto what and who Dieselnoi was as a fighter.
Third, we've spoken to Dieselnoi about his incredible weight cut and weigh in experience for this fight, but I'd actually understood it incorrectly because he had never mentioned before his intentions. Dieselnoi weighed in a few pounds lighter than Samart, which I had previously interpreted as an agreement made by the fighters, an allowance given to Samart of a few pounds. This is something you see in fights occasionally, usually no more than 2 pounds allowance. However, this was not the reality. The agreement was for both fighters not to exceed 132 lbs, equal limit for both. But Dieselnoi and his manager were annoyed that lots of people were talking, saying Dieselnoi's team had first taken advantage by making the fight at 132 lbs (instead of the 130 lbs that is Samart's upward fighting weight, a known weight class), and then some suspected he would then miss weight and force Samart to take the fight with a weight disadvantage anyway. There was a lot of shit-talking. These people said Dieselnoi "couldn't make 130 lbs." The weigh-in was a huge event, with people paying admission to see, and bets being taken on what Dieselnoi would weigh. To really show these talkers what Dieselnoi was, he and his manager went below 130 lbs on purpose, thereby giving Samart a 2+ lbs weight advantage... just to prove a point. This is amazing, honestly.
The production of these new interviews with Legends, watching their fights (this is the 2nd in the series so far) is only possible because of my patrons. Preserving it all and making it something that went from what nobody could see to now what anyone and hopefully everyone will see... that's the mission and work of my Patreon and the Preserve the Legacy Project. It's truly, truly incredible. In this growing series of "watch with me interviews" I want to also thank an anonymous sponsor who has stepped forward to pay for the cost of translation. With this support I can more regularly go and out and capture the history of fights from the awesome men who fought them.
Patreon is a monthly pledge, which grants patrons access to exclusive content as a "thank you" for all they make possible with their generosity and passion. But their generosity benefits everyone, because it also helps me create free, public content, like this interview and watch along with Dieselnoi. This video will be available to everyone, as will other videos produce in this series. Free content is never totally "free" to make. And translation - good translation - is difficult to find. In fact, this translation is the result of more than one hired translator, because it is so important for us to get it right. This is Legacy. Note: The translation isn't perfect, I'm still going to be working on it in some small details, but I really wanted to get it out to everyone as soon as I can. I will keep shaping it. The time that Kevin and I put into editing, burning, voicing, uploading, writing and otherwise creating free content is seemingly endless. But it's so valuable. These Legends being able to speak for themselves, with their own voices, is incredibly important to me. Listening to Namkabuan's actual voice (below), watching his face as he watches himself against Dekkers, you get to see Namkabuan in a way that you never could if he were dubbed over or trying to speak English. Even the effort we put into finding the right translator, so that the English subtitles aren't distracting or cumbersome is collectively hours of work on our part.
Dieselnoi is a particular challenge in and of himself, in that he speaks in a very particular way - it's so unique, in fact, that his friend of more than 40 years Chamuakpet laughed and told me he was astounded that I understood something Dieselnoi was saying, whereas he didn't understand it himself. But that's Dieselnoi. He speaks his own language, he speaks "Dieselnoi," and you don't want to lose that any more than you want to get lost in what is being said because of it. Being able to share Dieselnoi and all his wonderful quirks in addition to all his incredible wisdom is beyond any monetary value. It is literally invaluable. Which is why the possibility of this interview and my Kaimuay Diaries, and sessions of Dieselnoi in the Muay Thai Library are such important work. Because this, right now, all these moments of capturing him - a man who has barely any video of himself from his hayday and is yet perhaps the most mythical man of them all - this is all we'll have of him. My patrons make any and all of this possible. Thank you.
More On Dieselnoi Chor Thanasukarn
If you have fallen in love with Dieselnoi, then definitely take a look at the two Kaimuay Documentary series episodes I made for patrons, following him inspiring the young Thai fighters in the gym as they seek to fight at Lumpinee Stadium:
Kaimuay Diaries - Episode 5 | Dieselnoi In the House Part 1 (52 min) In this episode I follow Dieselnoi and his impact on Alex, one of the Petchrungruang fighters, at Rajadamnern stadium. Alex has been featured in previous Kaimuay Diaries, an Italian boy who has been raised like a Thai boy since he was 12. Now 17, Dieselnoi wanted to make make him more intense and forward fighting. You get to see Dieselnoi's passion, and listen to Pi Nu talk about what it has been like having a legend like Dieselnoi in his family's gym. watch it here
Kaimuay Diaries - Episode 6 Dieselnoi In The House Pt 2: Bank (47 min) this is "Part 2," focusing on Bank and Dieselnoi's dedication to him, leading up to a fight at Rajadamnern that was a step up for Bank. If he won, it would push him into a next level of opponents. You can see the difference between Dieselnoi's training of Alex and his training of Bank, but you can see the similarities as well. Mostly it's just amazing to watch how f***ing much Dieselnoi puts into everything. watch it here
you can check out all of the Kaimuay Diaries series and so much more patrons access here
Photography in Support
Dieselnoi is one of the dearest men my husband I have ever encountered. It's an honor to know him. Above are Kevin's photographs of him. 100% of the profit from the sale of prints of these photos goes to Dieselnoi. You can own prints from small to quite large at muaynoir.com - Theses photographs were from Dieselnoi's time with Petchrungruang, Legends in Residence.
First Watch, Then Study
What is cool about the Muay Thai Library, of course, is that after watching a fight like the above, you can actually study the techniques and styles of the legends themselves, because that is what the Muay Thai Library project is. Below are the entries in the Library for both Dieselnoi and Samart.
#48 Dieselnoi Chor. Thanasukarn - Jam Session (80 min) watch it here
#30 Dieselnoi Chor Thanasukarn 2 - Muay Khao Craft (42 min) watch it here
#3 Dieselnoi Chor Thanasukarn - The King of Knees (54 min) - watch it here
#76 Dieselnoi Chor Thanasukarn 4 - How to Fight Tall (69 min) watch it here
#34 Samart Payakaroon - Balance, Balance, Balance! (81 min) watch it here
You can see the full table of contents for the Muay Thai Library here
If you enjoyed this you will also love my interview of the legend Namkabuan, as he watched his fight against fearsome Ramon Dekkers:
watch it here <<< available for everyone