Paul Wheeler talks to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, the man who dethroned a pound-for-pound king
When and why you started boxing:
I started training in Muay Thai when I was around 13 years old because one of my neighbours wanted to fight me. When I was 22, I moved to Bangkok to work as a security guard and trash collector. That was where I met a boxing matchmaker who booked me to fight in Japan against Akira Yaegashi, who went on to become a three-division world champion. Before that fight, I’d never competed in boxing, so of course
I lost. That was the beginning of my boxing career.
Favourite all-time fighter:
Veeraphol Sahaprom is my all-time favourite Thai fighter. He’s a hero in my country. The foreign fighter that I like the most is Manny Pacquiao. He’s a global superstar and he’s a southpaw like me.
Best fight you’ve seen:
Pacquiao vs Floyd Mayweather. Pacquiao did well in attack and Mayweather did well in defence.
Personal career highlight:
My two victories over Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez, who was the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world when we first fought. Those wins changed my life.
Carlos Cuadras. He was always running away from me, so it was tough to catch him.
Best and worst attributes as a boxer:
The best attribute that any boxer can have is discipline. It’s essential.
When throwing a punch, make sure to rotate your shoulders and body, as this will increase your punching power.
Fans call me ‘Rat King’ because my favourite meal is grilled bandicoot rat. My favourite restaurant is Tee-Noi, where they serve Thai barbecue. It’s next to my gym, so I usually go there after training.
Best friends in boxing:
Phongsaphon Panyakum. He’s a rising young star who fights in the super-flyweight division like me. We’re fighting on the same card on March 13. You have to watch this guy. He’s going to be my successor.
Last film/TV show you saw:
The movie, Mulan.
Have you ever been starstruck:
When I met Sarach Yooyen. He’s a footballer who plays for Thailand.
Last time you cried:
When I lost to Juan Francisco Estrada in our rematch. I was so disappointed because I could’ve performed better. I can’t wait to fight him again in the future.
Best advice received:
‘Fight for our family.’ My wife always says this to me when I feel down. It encourages me so much.
Worst rumour about yourself:
That I skip training sessions and I lack determination and discipline. These rumours aren’t true. My goal is to become a three-time world champion, and I believe I can do it.
Something not many people know about you:
I’m very down to earth and I’ve never forgotten where I came from.