Saenmuangnoi Lukchaopormahesak (Samson Issan)

Samson Issan: “Roi Et’s Bull” – Biography & Best Fights

In the heart of Thailand’s Issan region, a legendary figure emerged whose ferocity and spirit transcended the boundaries of the Thai boxing ring. Nicknamed “Roi Et’s Bull,” this fighter epitomised psychological resilience and sheer physical power, capturing the imagination of the spectators in Bangkok’s biggest stadiums.

Samson Issan was born in 1972 in Ban Bak village, located in Jungharn province, Roi Et. He came from a humble background as the third child among nine siblings – seven boys and two girls. His parents were farmers, and raised cattle in their village. 

Name: Samson Issan
Birth Name:Somboon Pantasi
Thai Name:แซมซั่น ดัทช์บอยยิม
Date of Birth:July 11th 1972
Place of Birth:Changhan, Roi Et Province, Thailand
Other names:Samson Elite Gym, Samson Kratingdaenggym, Samson 3-K Battery, Roi Et’s Bull
Weight Class:Super Flyweight
Height:5 ft 4 in (163 cm)
Reach:65 in (165 cm)

At the age of 13, Samson began training Muay Thai at home, and under the alias Ayjoy Sitsiansay, he began his fighting career in local stadiums. Seeking progression, Samson joined a local Muay Thai camp named Pratane Jamtaret, situated near his home. It was at this camp that he was given the fight name Saenmuangnoi Sit Khru Am, under which he competed in several bouts. 

samson issan 553

Later, he joined the Lukjaopomehsak camp in the city of Roi Et, assuming the name Saenmuangnoi Lukjaopomehsak. The camp’s owner, Khru Thongpon Kamsawat, gave him the nickname he would become famous for – Samson Issan – drawing parallels to the biblical figure ‘Samson’ who was renowned for his extraordinary strength. The name also emphasised Samson’s ties to the Issan region of Thailand. 

At the Lukjaopomehsak Gym, Samson began his journey to the top alongside Yodkunpol Sittraipum, who would later go on to become the Lumpinee and Rajadamnern champion at 118 lbs. Under the guidance of coach Apisit Petsanghan, Samson refined his boxing skills and engaged in rigorous training routines, including daily 20-kilometer runs and late-night gym sessions ending with hundreds of knees on the heavy bag.  

Samson Issan Training Footage – 1980s (clinch work with Yodkhunpon at 3:12)

With Songchai Ratanasuban as his first promoter, Samson began his fighting career in Samrong Stadium in Samut Prakan. By 1989, he was fighting at the renowned Lumpinee Stadium in Bangkok under the Petchyindee promotion.

At 17 years old, Samson defeated the seasoned Nongnarong Looksamrong at Lumpinee Stadium. Later that year, Samson and Rittidet Sor Ploenchit, both 18 years of age, contended for a world title at 100 lbs. The championship was organised by the controversial promoter Kleo Thanikul, and resulted in a closely contested match which Rittidet won by decision. 

While 1990 saw Samson notch victories against Kiewmorakot Praianan, Dentaksin Keatratthapol, and Rittidet Kerdpayak, among others, it was also marked by two losses inflicted by the technical virtuoso Sanklai Sitkru-Ott. These defeats at the hands of Sanklai ignited one of the most intense rivalries in the sport’s history. 

Peak Years – 1991-1993

In 1991, Samson had arguably risen to his peak in Muay Thai, evidenced by victories over Kraiwannoi Sitkru-Ott, Dentaksin Keatratthapol, and Rittidet Sor Ploenchit at Lumpinee Stadium

Samson Issan (red) vs Kraiwannoi Sitkru-Ott (blue) | January 18th, 1991 – Lumpinee Stadium (Points Victory) 

On April 9th at Lumpinee Stadium, Samson faced off against Pepsi Piyapan, dubbed “Khun Khao Tornado” for his formidable Muay Khao style.  

Samson Issan (red) vs Pepsi Piyapan (blue) | April 9th, 1991 – Lumpinee Stadium (Draw) 

Their first bout ended in a draw.  

Samson Issan (red) vs Pepsi Piyapan (blue) | May 3rd, 1991 – Lumpinee Stadium (Draw) 

The rivalry continued on May 3rd, resulting in yet another draw.  

Samson Issan (red) vs Pepsi Piyapan (blue) | May 24th, 1991 – Lumpinee Stadium (KO R5)

In their third clash, Samson secured victory with a fifth-round knockout, landing a lightning left cross on the chin of Pepsi and finally settling the score. 

Samson went on to secure four consecutive victories against top tier opponents that year. He KO’d Kraiwannoi at Lumpinee in July, outpointed Thongchai Tor Silachai at Rajadamnern in August, and avenged his past defeats by defeating Saenklai at Lumpinee in September. This winning streak earned Samson a 115 lbs world title fight against Veeraphol Sahaprom, nicknamed “Death Mask” for his ice-cold demeanour in the ring.

The highly anticipated showdown didn’t disappoint. Despite Veeraphol’s initial dominance, Samson surged forward in the second round, unleashing a barrage of punches that left Veeraphol knocked out cold.

Later that year, Samson clinched his first Lumpinee title by knocking out Saenklai Sitkru-Ott in the second round with one of the most spectacular spinning elbows ever witnessed in the sport, becoming the new 118 lbs champion.

Samson Issan – spinning elbow KO vs Saenklai Sitkru-Ott

Samson went unbeaten 1991, winning 9 out of 11 fights, including 4 wins by knockout. His performances earned him the prestigious “Fighter of the Year” Award 1991 from The Sport Writers Association of Thailand. 

In 1992, Samson had another successful year, defeating Chatchainoi Chaorai-Oi at Lumpinee Stadium on January 24th, and securing his first victory in professional boxing on February 16th, knocking out Filipino boxer Young Elmer in the first round. 

In March, 19-year-old Samson faced off against the Muay Khao veteran Langsuan Phanyuthapum, who was six years his elder. Despite a valiant effort from Samson, Langsuan secured a points victory in a thrilling bout. Later that same month, Samson defended his 118 lbs Lumpinee title against “The Chonburi Shark” Jaroensak Kiatnakornchon, known for his technical mastery, adaptability and durability. In an intense matchup, Jaroensak eventually won the fight on points, taking the 118lbs Lumpinee belt from Samson’s clutch. 

samson issan muay thai fighter

The following month, Samson took on the reigning 115 lbs Rajadamnern champion “Puncher from Hell” Lakhin Wassandasit at Rajadamnern Stadium. Lakhin was in good form, having just won the Isuzu Cup by beating the Technical Ace, Burklerk Pinsinchai, in the final. Samson outscored Lakhin after an action-packed bout.

On June 2nd, Samson suffered his second defeat to Jaroensak Kiatnakornchon. However, a few weeks later, Samson knocked out Tweesaklek Ploysakda in the second round at Lumpinee Stadium. During this fight, Samson reaggravated an old injury to Tweesaklek’s left eye with punches. Following the bout, Tweesaklek underwent four unsuccessful surgeries to repair the damage to his eye. He never fought again.

In August, the highly anticipated rematch between Samson and Lakhin took place at Lumpinee Stadium, and it proved to be even more violent than their previous encounter. In round two, Lakhin knocked Samson down with a powerful uppercut that left him dazed. The referee started the count when the bell rang for the end of the round, giving Samson an opportunity to recover. Despite his condition, Samson and Lakhin continued to exchange heavy punches right up to the final bell. By the match’s end, Samson’s face was bloodied, and Lakhin secured a points victory.

Samson Issan (red) vs Lakhin Wassandasit (blue) | August 4th, 1992 – Lumpinee Stadium (Points defeat)

On September 28th, Samson and Lakhin took to the ring for the third time, with Lakhin defending his 115 lbs Rajadamnern title. In the third round, Samson opened up a significant cut to Lakhin’s face with elbows. Despite Lakhin’s attempts to knock Samson out, Samson held on until the final round, winning the bout on points and taking the 115 lbs Rajadamnern belt from Lakhin.

Samson Issan (blue) vs Lakhin Wassandasit (red) | September 29th, 1992 – Rajadamnern Stadium (Points Victory)

One month later, Samson was due to fight Jaroensak for the third time. Having suffered two defeats out of two previous meetings, including losing his 118 lbs Lumpinee belt to Jaroensak, Samson was determined to redeem himself.

Samson Issan (red) vs Jaroensak Kiatnakornchon (blue) | October 30th, 1992 -Lumpinee Stadium (TKO Victory)

It was Samson, the reigning 115 lbs Rajadamnern champion vs Jaroensak, the reigning 118 lbs Lumpinee champion. In the third round, Samson unleashed a barrage of punches in his trademark style, prompting the referee to stop the fight. Jaroensak subsequently lost his Lumpinee belt to a stablemate of Samson in Yodkunpol Sittraipum just two months later.

Samson capped a successful year by beating arch-rival Saenklai Sitkru-Ott in December, ending 1992 with seven wins from eleven fights.

Samson Issan (red) vs Saenklai Sitkru-Ott (blue) | December 8th, 1992 – Lumpinee Stadium (Points Victory)

On February 19th, 1993, Samson faced fimeu legend “Tiger of Bua Yai” Dara Aek Sitrungsap, defeating him on points at Lumpinee Stadium. However, Samson racked up a string of four losses against top contenders over the coming months.

He lost decisions against Saenklai Sitkru-Ott and Singdam O Aukritt in March and April, and his much-awaited rematch with Veeraphol Sahaprom in May resulted in Samson’s first career KO defeat. Another loss followed in July to Dara Aek Sitrungsap.

samson 43
Detduang Por Pongsawang (left) vs Samson Issan (right) | October 10th, 1993 (Points Victory)

Despite these setbacks, Samson chalked up wins over notable opponents throughout the remainder of the year, including Jomhodlek Rattanachot, Jowwayha Looktapfah, Duongsompong Por Pongsawang, and Detduang Por Pongsawang.

His win against Detduang stood out as one of the greatest battles of the 90s.

Samson Issan (red) vs Jomhodlek Rattanachot (blue) | September 3rd, 1993 – Lumpinee Stadium (Points Victory)
Samson Issan (red) vs Duongsompong Por Pongsawang (blue) | November 12th, 1993 – Lumpinee Stadium (Points Victory)
Samson Issan (red) vs Detduang Por Pongsawang (black) | December 10th, 1993 – Lumpinee Stadium (Points Victory)

Samson won six out of ten fights in 1993.

In January, 1994, Samson fought Saenklai Sitkru-Ott for the eleventh time, losing by decision. Their rivalry ended with five wins for Samson and six wins for Saenklai.

Samson’s last Muay Thai fight was on March 8th against Dara Aek in a brutal battle, resulting in a points loss for Samson. Later that year, Samson retired from Muay Thai to pursue a career in western Boxing under the name Samson Dutch Boy Gym.

Samson Dutch Boy Gym

Samson Dutch Boy Gym Highlights (western boxing)

Samson’s pressure style in Muay Thai translated well to international rules boxing, as he often sat in the pocket and attacked his opponent’s body with hooks and straights.

Samson won the minor WBF world super flyweight title in September 1994, successfully defending it 38 times consecutively before retiring in April 2002 with a perfect record of 43–0. Despite criticism for not competing in major organisations, negotiations with Don King and the WBC president José Sulaimán were unsuccessful, leading only to non-title fights in the United States.

samson dutch boy gym

Samson Issan Legacy

Twenty seven years after their last meeting, Samson and Veeraphol met once again at Rajadamnern Stadium for a nostalgic clash in December, 2017. Despite their age, both fighters displayed impressive skills and determination, with 46-year-old Samson winning the fight on points, delighting Muay Thai fans once again.

Somboon Pantasi samson issan

After a successful career, Samson enjoyed wealth from his many battles, investing in luxury cars and starting a grocery business in Roi Et, although the store eventually went out of business. Now, he works as a freelance taxi driver in Roi Et, and has four children with his wife. Samson’s legacy as “Roi Et’s Bull” forever remains celebrated in Thailand’s Muay Thai history, particularly in his home region of Issan.

Similar Posts