Top American and Top World Muay Thai Fighters
America is a very dark horse when it come to Muay Thai. When it comes to elite non-Thai fighters (also known as Muay Farang), most people think of Europe (particularly the UK, France, and Spain).
My hope is that this blog can draw attention to American Muay Thai and highlight some of the country’s top fighters. I will dispel the myth that America is the only Muay Thai country. Even if I fail to do so, I will still be able to show you how delicious that small fry really is.
Here is my list, without any hierarchical order, of the top American Muay Thai fighters:
This is a fighter that I’m sure you are already familiar with. Topic is ranked number one in the USA and has won the following titles: WKA North American Lightweight Title; WBC Muay Thai North American Super Featherweight Title; IKF Lightweight World Title; Muay Thai Grand Prix Lightweight World Title; Lion Fight Lightweight World Champion.
Topic has competed at Lumpinee and Rajadamnern Muay Thai stadiums. Topic has fought Thais such as Saenchai and Paowarit Sasiprapa. He also fought Rungravee Sasiprapa. Dechsakda Sitsongpeenong. Saemapetch Fairtex. Coke Chunhawat.
Topic is as traditional stylistically as they come. Topic’s effective use of feints and fakes adds a trickery element to the fight. Let’s suppose that Topic was fighting a Thai opponent in a previous fight and all you could see were silhouettes. It would be nearly impossible to identify who the Westerner was.
Topic was born in Bosnia and fled to Serbia at the age of 9. He then moved to America to escape the Yugoslav Wars. Topic is a member of North Jersey Muay thai and trains there every day. He started training at the gym in 2005. He also has spent time at PK. Saenchai Gym, Eminent Air Gym are both located in Thailand.
Ross, aka “The Soul Assassin”, is a true pioneer in American Muay Thai. He has inspired a whole generation of American Muay Thai fans to try the sport. It’s a remarkable story of the underdog. He went from being a self-destructive, addicted alcoholic to winning multiple titles in the sport and competing against the best.
Ross has fought Thai opponents such as Sittisak and Malaipet. Ross combines a traditional style with forward pressure and sharp boxing. He was trained at Master Toddy and CSA gyms.
Ross’s story and his unwavering determination to fight any opponent, regardless of their record, have made him one America’s most respected Nak Muays. Ross hopes to be back in the ring soon after training at Boxing Works with Bryan Popejoy, and The Boxing Club San Diego.
Janet Todd is a professional Muay Thailand fighter and full-time aerospace engineer. Todd’s journey into competition was interesting. She won her first fight via TKO, 2009, and then she won an amateur title in her second fight, four years later. This was after she took time off to complete her degree.
Todd won a remarkable number of amateur titles from then on. She went on to become a Pan-American Muay Thai Champion and a total of 12 overall. She gained invaluable experience from competing in the IFMA World Games and Pan Americans four times, and was forced to adapt to international competitions and the varying styles.
This background would be the foundation of Todd’s professional career. The culmination of her career so far was her victory against the Stamp Fairtex In One Championship. In the first match, Todd displayed great skill and promise but was defeated by unanimous decision.
Todd won three consecutive fights to win the rematch, defeat Stamp and earn the ONE Atomweight Kickboxing World Title. This was a significant upset and a testimony to the highs American Muay Thai has achieved.
Todd is a sharp, fast and technically sound fighter. He trains out of Boxing Works with Byran Popejoy.
Eddie Abasolo did not earn the nickname Silk-E – Smooth for nothing. He’s a master of fluidity and flow and makes high-level fighting seem effortless. He is so composed and relaxed in battle that it seems as if he is just hitting the heavy bag with a live opponent.
He is a highly skilled artist with sharp eyes and an extremely high intelligence. Lawren Kenshin, a YouTuber, Striking Breakdowns, points out that “Eddie Abasolo” is the only American matrix-style Muay Thai fighter.
Abasolo’s training methods and fighting style are all unique. You’ll see what I mean by a quick look at his Instagram. I mean, who can balance on a balanceboard while simultaneously hula-hooping? Eddie Abasolo does.
He fights with a loose guard, uses a lot risky head movement and is always calm while keeping his cool. Despite all of this, Abasolo manages to make it work.
You could either see one of his fights or tell me how effortless his fighting style is. This is the only way to fully understand what words cannot express. Abasolo is WBC, MTG and IKF World Champion.
Abasolo fights out of CSA gym and his record isn’t exactly jaw-dropping (11-3), but he is definitely a prospect to keep an eye on.
Another killer CSA gym. Bolanos, originally from Lima, Peru got his start in martial arts early. He started Muay Thai at the age of 11 and had his first fight at 12. He moved to the United States three years later.
Bolanos, an amateur Bolanos, was so skilled that he even lied about his age in order to gain more experience. He ran through all junior competitions at the age of 16. He was also a teenager and fought grown men, earning a 23-3 amateur career before becoming a pro.
Bolanos’ pro debut saw him score a stunning spinning elbow TKO against Brian Del Rosario at Lion Fight. He has won 8 professional Muay Thai bouts. 5 of those knockouts came via his spinning elbow. This weapon is unrivalled. Kirian Fitzgibbons, his coach, notes that Jon Jones does not knock people out with spinning elbows. This is because he doesn’t time them correctly. Bolanos does.”
Bolanos also made it into MMA and kickboxing, scoring highlights reel worthy knockouts. He was also voted Bellator MMA’s knockout of the year for 2017, thanks to his spinning elbow.
Bolanos, a three-time amateur Muay Thailand champion, won two belts in South America, one in the U.S., and is also a pro WMC South American Champion at 140 lbs.
Tiffany Van Soest
Van Soest, also known as the “Time Bomb”, is an unorthodox fighter who excels at mixing multiple styles. Although she does not fight in a traditional manner, she can still use that foundation to her advantage. Her style is more fluid and rhythmic.
She is a master of footwork, angles and stance switching. This makes it difficult for her to hit the mark and creates opportunities. Many of her footwork is actually a result of years of playing soccer.
Van Soest has faced tough competition from around the globe. Van Soest is a three-time world champion in Muay Thailand, with most of her experience from Lion Fight. Van Soest is a three-sport athlete and has made the transition from Muay Thai (Invicta FC), to Kickboxing (GLORY).
Her kickboxing-oriented style has made the transition to Glory easy and smooth. Van Soest is currently the Glory Super Bantamweight Title holder and will be making her return to Glory on the 30th.
Asa Ten Pow
Asa Ten Pow is “The American Ninja”, and he doesn’t shy away from using flashy techniques. He’s a master of all things: heel hooks and flying knees as well as spinning back kicks and heel hooks. Ten Pow has a solid background in boxing and was awarded the Florida State Golden Gloves. His Muay Thai foundations are also solid, with excellent teeps, roundhouses, and great technique.
Ten Pow is a master at distance management. This ties together all of his skills. It might be an understatement to say that Ten Pow was an early student in martial arts. He started Kung Fu at the age of 5.
Ten Pow had a successful amateur career. He won 41 victories and lost 10. These were mostly Muay Thai and Kickboxing with some MMA or boxing bouts. Ten Pow also competed in international competition with Team USA at IFMA PRO/AM events in 2015, 2017, and 2018.
He is the winner of the ISKA, IKF, and Thai Boxing Association tournament belts. Ten Pow was a professional fighter who fought at Lumpini Stadium as well as on the Muay Thai icon Buakaw’s All-Star promotion. He had a record of four victories and one loss as a professional, then he made the transition to Glory Kickboxing where he won six consecutive fights. Ten Pow is the owner of Florida Kickboxing Academy where he trains as well as teaches.
Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu
Sylvie von duuglas-Ittu has gone from humble beginnings to become a legend. Born in Boulder, Colorado in 1980, Sylvie began training in 2008 at the age of 24 under Kumron Vaitayanon (Master K), a 70-year-old Thai man. His basement gym was a famous place for Sylvie to train.
A year later, in 2009, Sylvie had her first amateur bout. Sylvie realized quickly that fight opportunities were very limited in the USA, especially considering her 46 kg weight. In 2010, Sylvie made her first trip to Thailand.
This trip became a permanent residence. Sylvie’s aspiration of doing 10 fights soon turned into 50, 100 and so forth. Sylvie currently has more than 260 fights. This means that she averages 36 fights per year. This is the record for foreigners fighting males and females in most fights. She plans to break the record for professional fights (473, Len Wickwar) if this isn’t enough wildness.
Sylvie is a Muay Khao fighter. She excels at the clinch and her knees. She also uses forward pressure to take down her opponents. Her nickname is “Sao Nakleng Khao”, which means Miss Gangster knee in Thai newspapers.
If one is to effectively take the title “The Muay Thai Guy”, then they need to embody Muay Thai to a high degree. This is exactly what Sean Fagan does. He is a content creator, which most people know. Fagan creates high-quality content that covers all aspects of Muay Thai, whether it’s on his Muay Thai Guy blog or YouTube channel.
He also hosts the Muay Thai Vacations podcast and the Muay Thai Guys podcast. Fagan is a successful entrepreneur and fighter. Fagan has won two amateur titles, fought in Lion Fight and captured a title at Madison Square Garden.
Fagan has defeated and knocked out Thais who have more experience than he. Fagan is technical sound and effective in all areas. He is particularly skilled with punches and low kicks.
It is an amazing feat to balance fighting and entrepreneurship while also spreading Muay Thai knowledge to the masses.
Irwin, aged 20, is the youngest person mentioned so far. She represents the new wave in American Muay Thai. Irwin, who had her first fight in America at 15 years old, traveled immediately to Thailand to face serious Thai competitors a year later.
Among her many achievements as a youngster, perhaps the most noteworthy is winning three consecutive IFMA World Youth Championships (2016, 2017 & 2018). She also did not lose one round in any of her fights at the respective tournaments.
Irwin won all three knockout bouts in the 2017 tournament. Two of those KOs came from her infamous head kick. She is also the first American woman to win two gold medals at the IFMAS.
Irwin loves to strike from the outside using her long limbs. She is also strong with her head kicks and body. Irwin commented on how the new rules would favor her style when she made the switch to GLORY. She prefers to strike rather than clinch. Irwin is now 3-0 in Glory.
Irwin is a trainee at Heritage Muay Thai, Houston, Texas under Michael Chase Corley. Irwin has a bright future ahead of herself.
The 20 best Muay Thai fighters in the World
Muay Thai is known for its fierce beauty, evident in every strike and split-second block. This is why the discipline has a loyal following. The variety of techniques used in Muay Thai fights is what attracts spectators.
Competitive Muay Thai fighters combine technique and talent to show the simplicity, grace, and power of their art. It would be fascinating to see how modern Muay Thai fighters add to its breadth and depth. Today we will take a look at some of the most prominent professional fighters from this era.
Making the List
Talent and skill are key ingredients in becoming a professional martial artist. When you are competing in a combat sport, consistency and hard work are essential. It is possible to argue that hard work and consistency are more important than talent in many areas.
These characteristics are shared by the Muay Thai fighters we will be discussing in the next sections. Natural talent combined with a strong work ethic make Muay Thai fighters who continue to raise the sport. Here are 20 top Muay Thai fighters you should know.
1) Nong-O Gaiyanghadao
Nong-O, a seven-time Muay Thai champ, is also an instructor at EvolveMMA in Singapore. After he won the titles, he took a three year break to become a Muay Kru (or instructor) for life. In 2018, he resumed his competitive career and won the ONE Muay Thai Bantamweight Championship.
Nong-O has mastered his art through a combination of teaching and competition. Nong-O fights in a technical and calculated style that is punctuated by explosive but surgical attacks. His matches are some of the greatest in Muay Thai history.
2) Panpayak Jitmuangnon
Panpayak, a Thai martial artist and Muay Thailand instructor, is now an instructor at EvolveMMA in Singapore. He is the holder of four Lumpinee stadium champion titles and two Rajadamnern awards. He was awarded the Thai Fighter of The Year three times.
Panpayak is often up against Superlek and other elite fighters. He wins more matches than he loses. His current record is 247 wins to 41 losses. He employs both a traditional boxing style and a tactical approach in order to counter and defeat his opponents.
3) Superlek Kiatmoo9
Superlek is the holder of two Muay Thailand world championship titles. His kicking skills play an important part in his success.
His family history explains how he got started in Muay Thai. Superlek was the nephew of Muay Thai World Champion Singdam and spent his childhood at the Kiatmoo9 Gym. Superlek did the same thing any child would do at a Muay Thai club: he trained.
Superlek began his training at eight years old. This means that he spent many years perfecting his technique. You will be amazed at the speed and precision of his kicks. Superlek fights always end with a frenzy of calculated strikes.
4) Rodtang Jitmuangnon
Many of the top Muay Thai fighters started their martial arts training as young children, including Rodtang. As a shy seven-year old, the fighter began his Muay Thai training. Soon, he would be able to make a living from his art.
Rodtang, then 14, moved from north-east Thailand to Bangkok. Rodtang joined the Jitmuangnon team as a competitive member.
Rodtang’s endurance and aggressive attitude are what make him stand out. Rodtang is a champion fighter who loves to go after his opponents with a hailof strikes that lowers their defenses and leaves them open. He is able to absorb and defend against an attack with the same skill as he delivers the pain. Rodtang is a fan favorite and his fights will keep your at the figurative edge.
5) Janet Todd
Todd is an American Muay Thailand kickboxer. She is currently the ONE Kickboxing World Champion for her weight division. In her weight division, she holds the 2017 Pan-American championship title. The strawweight fighter has 38 victories to 11 losses. Eight of her wins were knockouts.
She is a right-handed orthodox boxer and has a well-rounded fighting style.
6) Sangmanee Sathi Muay Thai Gym
Sangmanee has multiple titles in the highly competitive Thai stadium circuit. He has won seven championships in martial arts across a variety of weight classes.
Sangmanee began his Muay Thailand career at six years old, competing and training in the rural areas of northeast Thailand. His father was the one who organized matches and trained Sangmanee until he turned seven. Soon, the young fighter began training at Sor Tienpo. Sangmanee joined the 13 Coins gym in Bangkok at age 15. As a member the 13 Coins team, he would win many fights.
Sangmanee, a southpaw and strategic fighter, has won victories against some of the most skilled Muay Thai fighters. Superlek is his greatest opponent. He has won many of his matches. Sangmanee is now a member of the Sathian Muay Thai Gym.
7) Rungkit Wor.Sanprapai
Rungkit, seven years old, sees children sparring and decides he will join them. At 12 years old, he began training and moved on to Muay Thai competition. According to Muay Thai historians, the rest is history.
Rungkit is a skilled Muay Thai fighter. He uses strategy and force to enforce his will. Between 2016 and 2018, Rungkit won five championships with his Muay Femur style. Rungkit is an elite fighter who has fought warriors like Superlek, Sangmanee and others.
8) Kongklai AnnyMuayThai
Muay Thai fights are characterized by the underdog winning the final round. Kongklai is a fighter who can bounce back from his opponent when he seems to be losing. His fights keep the audience on the edge of their seats as they wonder if he will recover from his opponent’s constant assault. Kongklai’s brutal, short comebacks finally get his fans up to their feet.
Kongklai was awarded the 2020 Fighter of the Year Award by the Sports Authority of Thailand for his entertaining fighting style. Kongklai is the winner of five Muay Thailand championships thanks to his ability to serve knockouts and tactical approach.
9) Capitan Petchyindee Academy
It is no surprise that so many of the champions featured on this list are from Thailand. Muay Thai is a part of Thailand’s culture, which goes beyond flashing lights and championship titles. Anueng Khatthamarasri was born into this culture. Capitan would be his name, and he would become one of the most skilled Muay Thai fighters.
Capitan is a strategic and aggressive fighter. Capitan is able to adapt and learn from his opponents’ strategies. Capitan is versatile and will use any opening or ‘weapon to his advantage. Capitan can either knock down an opponent with a precise kick or a devastating punch. Capitan is a respected Muay Thai fighter.
10) Marie Ruumet
Ruumet, an Estonian Muay Thai fighter and kickboxer, is a graceful ballet dancer whose powerful strikes are matched by her grace as a ballet dancer. With a combination powerful elbows and knees as well as kicks, she can mount a quick attack. She is a combination of speed, reach, technique, and sheer power. This makes her a formidable blitz that will keep you on your computer screen.
Ruumet is a strategic fighter. She enters the ring with an idea and plans to destroy her opponent’s defenses. Ruumet will change her fighting style to keep her opponent guessing. Ruumet is flexible enough to convert and counter most strikes from her opponent. Ruumet appears to have a bright future.
11) Anissa Meksen
Meksen was a former Flyweight World Professional Muay Thai Champion. Meksen also holds two Glory Kickboxing Championship titles in the bantamweight weight division.
Meksen is a professional Savate, Kickboxing, Muay Thai, and Savate fighter. Meksen is fast, graceful, and precise in her strikes, making her an intimidating opponent.
12) Tawanchai P.K. 12) Tawanchai P.K.
This fighter is technical and strategic. He anticipates and counters his opponent’s moves. Tawanchai, like most Muay Femur competitors, uses precision techniques and high fight intelligence to gain an edge.
Tawanchai is a strong fighter and will take advantage of any opportunity to unleash devastating attacks. He adapts his fighting style from match to match. He creates a game plan after studying the strengths and weaknesses of his opponents.
After claiming multiple titles in Thailand, Tawanchai is now looking for new adventures.
13) Iman Barlow
Barlow is a Muay Thai fighter and kickboxer. This combination makes for a powerful fighting style. Young Iman was introduced to Muay Thai by her parents, who ran a gym in their backyard. As a baby, she would go to the gym and learn how to throw a punch and kick.
As a child, the British fighter would travel to Thailand in order to compete at Muay Thai tournaments. She quickly gained years of experience and developed a fun, pressing attack style. Barlow is a former Bantamweight World Professional Muay Thai Champion. Barlow is a skilled fighter who can win decisive wins, sometimes by knockout.
14) Jonathan Haggerty
Haggerty, a British Muay Thai fighter, makes the list due to his strategic and tactical approach. His unique approach to Muay Thai only enhances the sport’s richness. Despite having fought a few times, Haggerty won the 2019 ONE Flyweight Muay Thai Championship title over Sam-A.
Haggerty’s aggressive fighting style involves a mix of kicks, elbows and punches. The Brit seems to be the type of fighter who adapts and learns from every match. He is one of the most entertaining fighters to see because of his unique Muay Thai style.
15) Kiewpayak Jitmuangnon
Kiewpayak was awarded the Fighter of the Year title by the Sports Authority of Thailand in 2019. Kiewpayak is also the Lumpinee Stadium Flyweight Champion title. His fighting style is technical and right-handed (orthodox), with quick strikes. This style of fighting allows Kiewpayak mount blitz attacks which require a lot skill to defend.
16) Sawsing Sor Sopit
Sawsing, a featherweight Muay Thailand fighter, started training at nine years old. In her weight class, she is the World Professional Muay Thai champion.
The northern Thai technical fighter uses a combination of powerful kicks and punches to great effect. She has won five titles in different Muay Thai tournaments across Asia and Europe with her technique.
17) Superbon Singha Mahan
Because of his ability to hit powerful kicks and land them accurately, he is considered one of the top kickboxers in the world. Superbon, a veteran with many years of experience, started his career in amateur Muay Thai. Superbon was struggling to balance school, financial obligations, and his fledgling career in martial arts.
Superbon was just about to give up Muay Thai when he met Buakaw Banchamek. He is a legend in kickboxing as well as Muay Thai. Buakaw invited Superbon to train under the Banchamek brand.
Superbon’s aggressive and swift striking style was developed through the training. Superbon’s skills improved and he was able to beat Sittichai SitsongPeenong.
18) Prajanchai P.K.Saenchaimuaythaigym
Prajanchai is the holder of six Muay Thai champion titles. Four of his wins came from the ultra-competitive stadium circuit. Prajanchai is a skilled fighter who uses right-handed boxing to adapt his fighting style.
He is a skilled Muay Thai fighter and his technical approach gives him the versatility to be a successful boxer.
19) Tapaokaew Singmawin
Tapaokaew, a Muay Khao fighter (knee), has an exciting fighting style that is fun to watch. Tapaokaew is known for his aggressive fighting style that keeps his opponents on the defensive. Tapaokaew is a competitor in the stadium circuit and often wins in the lightweight division.
20) Ferrari Fairtex
The record of this welterweight Muay Thai fighter is impressive, with victories over champions such as Tapaokaew and Sangmanee Sor Tiempo. He is a regular on the Thai stadium circuit and continues to improve his fighting style with every bout.
Ferrari is a right-handed Muay Femur who has graceful, fluid execution and makes for solid defense. He can also mount pressing attacks that could end in a knockout victory.
Elite Muay Thai Fighters Display The Art In The Discipline
It is almost as satisfying to watch elite Muay Thai fighters as it is to get in the ring. Each fighter on this list is an integral part of the sport’s evolution and growth. For inspiration and tips on improving your Muay Thai skills, check out their fights.