Combat sports are an ever-changing landscape of fighters, with new names popping up constantly. All fighters have heart, and all fighters have talent, yet of all the fighters who have stepped up over the years, there are some who stick in our minds, who changed the way we think about the sports we love, and who are truly inspirational to today’s generation of martial artists.
In this new series we wanted to take a moment to appreciate some of the true legends of fighting, looking at some of the most inspirational, most influential, and the most fearsome fighters out there. You can find the whole of the series here. Give us a shout in the comments section at the end of this article to let us know which fighter is an inspiration for you.
In this part, we’re looking at the golden age of Thai Boxing, at a fighter so dominant that he was forced to retire as champion because nobody could beat him. We’re talking about Dieselnoi.
So who is Dieselnoi?
There are several ‘types’ of fighters recognised in Muay Thai. Without going into too much detail, these include Muay Mat fighters who fall back on aggression, heavy punching and low kicks, Muay Tae fighters who develop a strong game around their kicks, Muay Femur fighters who are highly technical and utilise all weapons well, and finally there are Muay Khao fighters who use devastating knees to drain the life from their opponents.
Dieselnoi (aptly nicknamed The Sky Piercing Knee) is debatably one of the best Muay Khao fighters of all time. Standing at 6 feet and 2 inches, and fighting at 62 kg / 135 lbs, Dieselnoi was exceptionally tall for his division, an advantage which allowed him to press all his weight down on his opponents, pummelling them with knees.
Just look at some of the rare footage of Dieselnoi’s training and you can see just how powerful those strikes are.
Throughout his career, Dieselnoi built a record of 122 fights, 110 wins (with 40 by way of Knock Out), 10 losses and 2 draws.
The fights that will never be forgotten
After switching gyms a couple of times, Dieselnoi eventually won the Lumpinee Stadium Lightweight championship title in 1981 after defeating Koapong Sittichuchai. In 1982, he was matched up with (Samart Payakaroon, another fighter considered one of the greatest of all time), in one of the most highly paid fights of the 1980s, adding another win to his record.
After the Samart fight, Dieselnoi commanded so much fear, and respect, in the lightweight division that there were no challengers and for a period had no fights at all. Eventually Dieselnoi faced up with Sagat Petchyindee (who we’ve featured previously in a separate Inspirational Fighters article). Sagat was one of the few people who posed a real challenge at the time, and was the man behind 2 of the 10 losses on Dieselnoi’s record, from their previous encounters. In this third encounter, Dieselnoi’s knees were enough to beat Sagat, and Dieselnoi remained the champion.
Unable to find any more contenders, Dieslenoi looked abroad, having a few encounters with foreign fighters, before eventually being forced to retire at the age of 25 because nobody wanted to face him.
If you loved reading this, you’ll want to check out the highlight video below by the brilliant Lawrence Kenshin.
Also, if you want to study Dieselnoi’s technique further, Sylvie Von Duuglas-Ittu has a series of videos showing off his training and style, including the video below, as well as much longer videos available to her Patreon subscribers
If you liked this article, let us know. We’d love to hear what you like most about him, and which other inspirational fighters you think deserve to be featured in an article like this.