Tongchai Tor Silachai - biography and best fights

Tongchai Tor Silachai: Mastering Aggressive Artistry – Biography & Best Fights

With a style characterized by relentless pressure and aggression, this fighter navigated almost three decades in the ring, facing off against the best nak muay Thailand had to offer. His story unveils not just the grit and determination required to endure such a demanding career, but also highlights the artistry and strategy behind the Muay Bouk.

Name:Tongchai Tor Silachai
Birth Name:Thongchai Pakthai
Thai Name:ธงชัย ต.ศิลาชัย
Date of Birth:February 8th 1971
Place of Birth:Chakkarat, Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand
Nickname:Very Hard
Height:161 cm (5 ft 3 in)
Weight:53 kg (117 lb; 8.3 st)
Divisions:Light flyweight, Flyweight, Super Flyweight, Bantamweight
Style:Muay Bouk, Muay Thai
Fighting out of:Nakhon Ratchasima
Years active:1981–2011

Tongchai Tor Silachai was born in 1972 in the city of Jakaraj in Nakhon Ratchassima. He was the seventh child among a family of eight children, two of whom were also Muay Thai fighters named Prasethosakdi Tor Silachai and Kasemnoi Tor Silachai.

Tongchai Tor Silachai aspired to be a fighter like his two brothers, and began training at the Tor Silachai Camp at age 10. The Tor Silachai Camp was owned by Lieutenant Colonel Weera Thao Nao, a former Lumpinee champion in the 1970s, and was located approximately 12km outside Korat City in a village named Pru Yai.

In 1987, at age 15, Tongchai made his first appearance in Lumpinee Stadium at 100 lbs, defeating Noenthong in a points victory.

Tongchai Tor Silachai muay thai fighter
A young Tongchai Tor Silachai

Tongchai’s Lumpinee Run

In 1990, with Songchai as his promoter, Tongchai went on a remarkable run of wins against top class opponents. His wins against fighters such as Meethanoi Maliwan, Chandet Sor Prantalay, Chainoi Sitchunthong and Takrawlek Dejrath propelled him to a title challenge against the technician Nungubon Sitlerchai. The Thai media had given Nungubon the nickname “Tuan Pae” which roughly translates to “The Limp” as he was born with his left leg noticeably longer than his right. Despite this, he was a hugely talented fighter who had already beaten Tongchai in January, and had gone on to defeat Kompayak Singmanee to win the 105 lbs Lumpinee title two months later.

In August of that year, amidst the electrifying atmosphere of Lumpinee Stadium, Tongchai and Nungubon crossed paths. Their meeting marked a pivotal moment as Tongchai took the win, clinching the 105 lbs Lumpinee belt from Nungubon in a decisive win.

Tongchai Tor Silachai - Lumpinee Champion
Tongchai Tor Silachai – Lumpinee Champion

In the momentum of his success, Tongchai secured five consecutive wins in the second half of 1990, culminating in a total of 18 fights with 15 wins throughout the year.

Tongchai kicked off 1991 with a strong start, beating the youthful “Vampire Knee” Lamnammoon Sor Sumalee, who was aged just 17 at the time. However, Tongchai faced significant challenges in overcoming Toto Por Pongsawang, enduring two defeats on points during the first half of the year. Toto had previously knocked out two notoriously tough fighters in Pongsiri “Rambo” Por Ruamrudee and Pairojnoi “Bloody Steel” Sor Siamchai during the late eighties, earning him the nickname “Chom pha tihan” or “Lord of Miracle.”

Despite this, Tongchai later beat Kompayak Singmanee and Pairojnoi Sor Siamchai to book himself a Lumpinee title fight against Morakot Sor Tammarangsi in July, winning the decision and becoming the new 108 lbs Lumpinee champion.

Tongchai Tor Silachai lands a body kick against Chainoi Muangsurin | 1991 - Lumpinee Stadium
Tongchai Tor Silachai lands a body kick against Chainoi Muangsurin | 1991 – Lumpinee Stadium

Although Tongchai avenged his previous losses to Toto in his very next match, the latter half of 1991 was disappointing, as he lost decisions to Pompetch Kiatchatpayak, Chainoi Muangsurin, Tukkatatong Por Pongsawang and “Roi Et’s Bull” Samuangnoi Lukjaophomahesak AKA Samson Issan.

Thongchai Tor Silachai (blue) vs Toto Por Pongsawang (red) | 1991 – Lumpinee Stadium (points victory)

Over the course of 1992 and the beginning of 1993, Tongchai defeated top fighters like Rattanachai Wor Wolapon and Nongnarong Luksamrong on his way to a 112 lbs Lumpinee title fight against Wangthong Por Pisitchet, which he lost by decision.

However, with another win against Pichai Wor Wolapon and Rattanachai Wor Wolapon, Tongchai earned another shot at the prize against Wangthong Por Pisitchet in October. Tongchai made no mistake this time, brutally knocking out the reigning Lumpinee champion in the third round and becoming the new 112 lbs champion.

Tongchai Tor Silachai (blue) vs Wangthong Por Pisitchet (pink) | October 2nd, 1993 – Lumpinee Stadium (KO win R3)

Tongchai ended the year with another win over Wangthong just three weeks later, and a successful defence of his title against Rittidet Sor Ploenchit in November.

Tongchai faced challenging times in 1994 and 1995. Although he successfully defended his 112 lbs Lumpinee title by defeating Netnarin Fairtex by KO in the fourth round, he lost decisions to Nungubon Sitlerchai, Nongnarong Luksamrong and Meechoke Sor Ploenchit. Then, in May, he lost his Lumpinee title to Muay Femur prodigy Sittichai Petbangprung, nicknamed “Vicharnnoi 2” which referenced the second coming of the legendary fighter Vicharnnoi Pontawee.

tongchai tor silachai vs sittichai petbangprung 2
Tongchai Tor Silachai (left) vs Sittichai Petbangprung | May 23rd, 1995 – Lumpinee Stadium (points defeat)

Yet, amidst this period, there was a silver lining as Tongchai defeated Tukkatatong Por Pongsawang and Nongnarong Luksamrong towards the end of the year.

Tongchai Tor Silachai (red) vs Tukkatatong Por Pongsawang (blue) | October 17th, 1995 – Lumpinee Stadium (points victory)

Beyond the Golden Age

Tongchai began 1996 with a knockout victory over Tukkatatong, earning him a shot at the 115 lbs Lumpinee title against old adversary Nongnarong Luksamrong. Once again, Nongnarong proved to be a thorn in Tongchai’s side as he successfully defended his title.

Later that year, Tongchai met a 15-year old Saenchai. At that time, Saenchai was known as Saenchai Sor Khamsing, and had been identified as a generational talent. Competing against a seasoned Tongchai who was around 10 years his elder was a huge step up in competition for the phenom.

Saenchai’s lack of experience at this level showed, as he was knocked out cold in the third round by the right hand of Tongchai.

Tongchai Tor Silachai (red) vs Saenchai Sor Khamsing (blue) | 1996 – Lumpinee Stadium (KO win R4)

Up until the end of 1999, Tongchai defeated rivals such as Rattanachai Wor Wolapon and Saenchai Sor Khamsing. He also won the 115 lbs Lumpinee title from Teelek Por Yosanan, defeating him via KO (low kicks) in the very first round.

Tongchai Tor Silachai vs Teelek Por Yosanan | July 29, 1997 – Lumpinee Stadium (KO win via low kicks)

The year of 2001 was one of the best years of Tongchai’s career. At the age of 29, he won the World Muay Thai Council 115 lbs title from Klairung Sor Sasiprapa, the 115 lbs Rajadamnern title from Sayannoi Kiatprapat, and was awarded the 2001 Sports Writers Association of Thailand Fighter of the Year and the 2001 Sports Authority of Thailand Fighter of the Year. He ended the year with 10 victories from 12 fights.

Tongchai Tor Silachai vs Sayannoi Kiatprapat | 2001 – Nakhon Ratchasima (points victory – 115 lbs Rajadamnern & WMC title defence)

Remarkably, from 2002 to 2009, Tongchai continued to fight top tier competition, winning the 11th Mitsubishi Triton Tournament against Rittijak Kaewsamrit in 2007, collecting one million baht and a 4×4 pickup truck.

Tongchai Tor Silachai vs Rittijak Kaewsamrit | 2007 – Rajadamnern Stadium – Mitsubishi Triton Tournament Final (points victory)

At some point, the candle had to burn out, and it did so towards the end of 2008 with four straight defeats at Rajadamnern and Lumpinee. However, even at this stage of Tongchai’s career, all of these defeats were against top tier competition – Pakorn P.K.Saenchaimuaythaigym, Kangwanlek Petchyindee, Luknimit Singklongsi and Kaimukkao Por Thairongruangkamai.

Tongchai Tor Silachai Legacy

Tongchai “The Crowd’s Favourite”, remains one of the toughest, most enduring combat sports athletes of all time.

Throughout a fighting career that stretched nearly three decades, Tongchai’s longevity in Muay Thai stands as one of the most remarkable feats in the sport’s history.

Saenchai has since said that his first fight with Tongchai was the toughest of his career. He acknowledged that he became overconfident against Tongchai, and that the knockout taught him a valuable lesson in Muay Thai. It was Saenchai’s first and only knockout defeat.

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