Sagat Petchyindee

Sagat Petchyindee: Street Fighter Muay Thai Legend

Who is Sagat Petchyindee? Sagat Petchyindee, a highly accomplished Muay Thai fighter and one of the greatest strikers in history, established his name in the sport during its golden age. Boasting an impressive record of 266 wins, 40 losses, and 11 draws. This Thai-born athlete achieved the distinction of earning multiple titles at both Rajadamnern and Lumpinee Stadium over the course of his career.

Sagat’s power as a striker made him a formidable force to reckon with. Throughout his fifteen-year journey, he secured victory in more than half of his fights through knockouts, solidifying his position as one of the top 10 greatest Muay Thai fighters in history.

Beyond the boundaries of Muay Thai, Sagat ventured into other combat sports as well. In the late 1980s, he ventured to the United States and claimed a Kickboxing title. Additionally, he also dabbled in professional boxing. Such was the impact of his remarkable legacy that he served as the inspiration behind the ‘Sagat’ character in the popular ‘Street Fighter’ video game.

Who is Sagat Petchyindee?

Name:Wirun Phonphimai or Sagat Petchyindee or Sagat Phonthawee
Date of Birth:November 30, 1957
Place of Birth:Phimai, Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand
Nickname:Sagat
Gym:Petchyindee
Height:1.65 m (5 ft 5 in)
Weight:63 kg (139 lb; 9.9 st)
Weight Classes:Lightweight, Welterweight, Featherweight
Record(s):Kickboxing & Muay Thai 266-40-11 – Boxing 12-2
Years Active:1975 to 1990
Championships:Five Muay Thai World Championships, One Kickboxing World Title, One Boxing National Title

Sagat Petchyindee Early Life

Sagat Petchyindee began his Muay Thai career at the age of only 11 years old. He began training under the tutelage of his older brother Saksout. The Thai-born athlete admits that he was a peaceful child who simply enjoyed combat sports. He comes from a family of fighters. Aside from his older brother, his uncle, and grandfather, Suk Prasarthinpimai, were also combat sports athletes.

His brother tried to dissuade him from joining but Sagat was too determined. At the age of 11, he took his first match. According to him, he won this fight via knockout and took home a whopping 30 cents USD for his efforts.

Additionally, he trained with Buddhist monks who helped shape his craft. Buddhism plays an integral role in Muay Thai. The Wai Kru (ceremony before fights), Mongkon (headband), and pra jiad (armbands), are all based on Buddhist tradition. Legend has it, that historically many forms of Muay Thai were taught by Buddhist monks, and Muay Thai fights were hosted at Buddhist temples.

These Muay Thai Buddhist Monks have been vital to the success of Muay Thai and Sagat Petchyindee. Reportedly, Sagat was able to learn the Tiger Style uppercut from Buddhist monks which led to him winning many of his bouts via knockout. In his career, nearly half of his bouts were won by way of KO.

Sagat Petchyindee Muay Thai Fighter

Sagat’s World Titles in Combat Sports

The powerful and dangerous striker Sagat collected numerous world titles in Muay Thai, Kickboxing, and Boxing. The official list does not even have all of his world championships. The Muay Thai legend won his first Stadium title when he was only 18 years old. As for major world titles, these include:

  • Rajadamnern Stadium 118 lbs Muay Thai World Champion
  • Rajadamnern Stadium 135 lbs Muay Thai World Champion
  • Rajadamnern Stadium 140 lbs Muay Thai World Champion
  • Lumpinee Stadium 135 lbs Muay Thai World Champion 1985
  • Lumpinee Stadium 135 lbs Muay Thai World Champion 1986
  • World Kickboxing Association (WKA) Super Lightweight World Champion
  • Thailand Lightweight Boxing National Champion
  • WBC Asian Boxing Council Lightweight Champion

What Makes Sagat Petchyindee Notable in Muay Thai History?

Due to his striking expertise, Sagat Petchyindee is a significant and important Nak Muay in the history of Muay Thai. This Thai-born striker focused on fist and elbow strikes and had tremendous power behind them. This heavy-handed puncher competed during the golden era of Muay Thai and fought the very best in the sport’s history. The legendary striker was even able to win a fight via knockout in just four seconds, this earned him the fastest knockout of the year in 1977.

If you ask any pundit about who are the greatest Muay fighters in history you will hear the same answers; Samart Payakaroon and Dieselnoi Chor Thanasukarn. Sagat Petchyindee was among this class and clashed with both of these men.

Sagat Petchyindee discussed his legendary fight against Dieselnoi in an interview. The Muay Thai legend recalled:

“You know the tall one Dieselnoi? I fought him. Why did they give me a fight with someone so tall? Everybody said, ‘Oh you cannot win with him.’ Before, I am thinking I am scared. But in the ring what for scared? Sagat, why you scared?

“He was very tall. When I fight him I knocked him down … I punched and he went to the ground … I’m surprised he stood up … The fight was a a very top fight. Every round somebody clapped for me. When he knee, I punch, him knee, I punch. “

Sagat also wanted to challenge himself beyond just Muay Thai. The striker had success in professional boxing. Additionally, he traveled stateside and collected a kickboxing world title in the USA, plus had fights in Japan.

Sagat Petchyindee was also celebrated for his impressive Wai Kru. The Wai Kru is a ceremonial Buddhist dance that takes place before Muay Thai matches. Sagat had a particularly graceful dance and this earned him the award for ‘Best Ram Muay’ over ten years.

The Thai-born striker was able to accomplish much in the sport but struggled with nine career losses when he turned the age of 25. He even contemplated stopping fighting altogether. the Muay Thai icon consulted with Buddhist monks for advice. The monk told him, “Don’t be seduced by fame when you are rising, don’t give up when you fall. Keep going.” With this push, he came back to Muay Thai and won nine consecutive fights by way of knockout.

After retiring from competitive fighting, the Muay Thai legend transitioned into training and coaching aspiring fighters. His expertise and experience have made him an influential figure in the development and success of many fighters under his tutelage. His guidance and training methods have helped shape the skills and careers of numerous fighters.

Sagat Petchyindee’s involvement in Muay Thai extends beyond his personal achievements. He has actively participated in promoting the sport, organizing events, and supporting the growth of Muay Thai both in Thailand and internationally. His contributions have helped elevate the profile and popularity of Muay Thai on a global scale.

Sagat Petchyindee in Gym

Sagat in Street Fighter?

Some people speculate that during his time in Japan, Sagat may have been the inspiration for the ‘Sagat’ character in the 1987 video game Street Fighter. While the game developer has never admitted it, readers can judge if this is a coincidence or not. They both share the same name, additionally, the character in Street Fighter wears Muay Thai shorts and hand wraps, and he is a Thai-born athlete.

The character in Street Fighter, though, could be based on nearly any Muay Thai athlete. Aside from the name he does not resemble the Nak Muay. Within the Street Fighter lore, Sagat has a longstanding rivalry with Ryu, another iconic character in the series. Their rivalry is rooted in a past encounter where Sagat was defeated by Ryu, resulting in the scar on his chest. This rivalry adds depth to Sagat’s character and has been an integral part of Street Fighter’s storyline.

Training with Sagat Petchyindee

If you’re lucky, you may get the opportunity to train with this legendary figure. WBC Muay Thai World Champion Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu trained alongside the all-time great and wrote about her experience. On her website, she explained:

“He wants you to feel correct technique – it should feel stronger, faster, easier… it should feel good. And when you watch him on the video you can see how loose and relaxed he is. His movements are crisp and perfect, like he’s been programmed on a computer and all his spacing is mathematically determined …

“Sagat’s style isn’t fancy or “tricky,” so much as just solid. There’s a purity and truth to his movements that is unmistakable when you see him move. He’s carved away all the excess and it’s just this clean line, every time. It’s beautiful.”

This Thai striker is a highly accomplished Muay Thai fighter and one of the greatest strikers in the sport’s history. With an impressive record of 266 wins, 40 losses, and 11 draws, Sagat earned multiple titles at Rajadamnern and Lumpinee Stadium during his career. Known for his knockout power, Sagat is recognized as one of the top 10 greatest Muay Thai fighters of all time. He ventured into other combat sports, claiming a Kickboxing title in the United States and participating in professional boxing.

Sagat Petchyindee’s remarkable legacy even served as inspiration for the character ‘Sagat’ in the popular video game Street Fighter. Beyond his own achievements, Sagat has become a respected trainer, contributing to the development of numerous fighters, and promoting the growth of Muay Thai globally.

On his philosophy in Muay Thai, Sagat Petchyindee explained:

“Have strong heart, strong body, strong thinking, strong push … Power comes from inside, not outside … Give power to your heart.”

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