By James Goyder
It is two years since WBC ‘Boxer of the Decade’ Pongsaklek Wonjongkam was last seen in the ring and the 38 year old this week announced he would be swapping his fighting career for a full time job as a boxing trainer.
The long time WBC 112 lbs champion will be moving to Singapore to work as a boxing trainer at Evolve MMA. It represents a return to boxing for a fighter who has not been involved in the sport since retiring from competitive action in 2013.
Pongsaklek (90-5-2) initially announced his retirement at the end of 2012 although he returned to the ring the following year for three final fights. He was named the ‘Boxer of the Decade’ by the WBC and heralded as the best boxer Thailand has ever produced.
During his career Pongsaklek fought in an incredible 26 world title fights, winning 22 of them. He beat the likes of Koki Kameda, Suriyan Sor Rungvisai, Edgar Sosa and Daisuke Naito, facing the last fighter no fewer than four times.
At his peak Pongsaklek won an incredible 55 consecutive bouts, the longest continuous win streak in boxing at the time. His 2002 knockout of Daisuke Nato was the fastest finish to a world title fight in flyweight history, the end arriving just 34 seconds into the first round.
Ponsaklek also holds the record for the most consecutive defences in the history of the flyweight division, having successfully defended his WBC belt 17 times between 2001 and 2007 before suffering a shock KO loss to Nato.
Thai boxers tend to disappear from public life after retirement, with the notable exception of Khaosai Galaxy who appears on variety shows almost every week. However there is a growing trend for the top Muay Thai fighters to travel overseas and work as trainers.
Among Ponsaklek’s colleagues at Evolve MMA will be former WBA 130 lbs champion Yodsanan Sityodtong. For more information visit: http://www.evolve-mma.com/