This article originally appeared on Evolve-Vacation.
Ask any Muay Thai fanatic and they’ll tell you that Muay Thai World Champion Petchboonchu FA Group is the best clincher in the sport. His prowess in the clinch has helped him rise to the pinnacle of Muay Thai, making him the most decorated Muay Thai World Champion in history. He is a Lumpinee Muay Thai World Champion, Rajadamnern Muay Thai World Champion, WBC Muay Thai World Champion, and a Thailand Champion.
Of all of the dangerous weapons available to Muay Thai fighters, the clinch is one of the most powerful as it can enable a fighter to take control of and dominate a fight. Thus, strong clinch fighters often have a bigger advantage over others. Petchboonchu FA Group is proof of this. With multiple wins over Muay Thai legends such as Saenchai PKSaenchaimuaythaigym, Singdam Kiatmoo9, Orono Wor Petchpun, Sagetdao Petpayathai, and many more, he has more than enough titles and wins to lay claim to this fact.
Today, Evolve Vacation reveals how Petchboonchu FA Group became the best clincher in history:
Because he trained with the best
The FA Group camp in Thailand that Petchboonchu hails from has become known for its ability to produce top clinchers. It focuses more on clinching than most camps in Thailand, and it takes priority over pad and bag work. In fact, it has produced another superstar, Yothin FA Group, who was previously on a 13-fight winning streak.
Because clinch training is the focus at FA Group, trainers dedicate up to one hour of each training session to just training the clinch, which is considerably more than most camps in Thailand.
Because of his belief in strength and conditioning
The amount of strength and endurance needed to be proficient in the clinch exceeds that of any other technique. According to Petchboonchu, the clinch was something that he worked on ever since he was a child. “I started training the clinch when I was still training with my uncle. He would make us kick banana trees to strengthen our legs, and we’d have to run for miles and miles until we couldn’t run anymore.” From this, Petchboonchu began to understand the importance of strength and conditioning, a belief that he strongly follows to this day.
Multiple-time Muay Thai World Champion Sagetdao Petpayathai is a witness to Petchboonchu’s incredible stamina and strength. “I’ve fought Petchboonchu 7 times, won 3 times and lost 4 times. In all of our fights, Petchboonchu’s intensity and stamina stayed high the entire time. Getting out of his clinch is hard work. The only way to do it is to avoid getting into the clinch, which I was able to do by using the cross-face defense, rotating out and kicking him.”
Because he focused on learning as many aspects of the clinch from as many people as he could, even from his opponents
Petchboonchu became a master of the clinch because he understood how it worked. He learned all the different aspects of the clinch from different trainers, including 2015 Trainer of the Year awardee Kru Diesel of FA Group. He would also study his fights and see how he could best use the clinch against certain opponents.
One of these opponents was Saenchai. The first time they met in the ring, it was difficult for Petchboonchu to get Saenchai into the clinch and grab him. As soon as Petchboonchu would attempt to pull Saenchai, Saenchai would parry his hands away and block the clinch. In their following fights, Petchboonchu realized that he had the size and strength advantage over Saenchai, so he took advantage of this. He also figured that it was easier to just knee Saenchai from the outside, which made it easier for him to eventually get Saenchai in the clinch.
Because he worked on developing his strength in the clinch
Strength is an important aspect of the clinch. The stronger you are, the easier it will be for you to control your opponent in the clinch, hold him down and land powerful knees or elbows to finish the fight. To develop his strength in the clinch, Petchboonchu would train the clinch with training partners who were much bigger than he was. Sometimes, he would also practice clinching against two or three training partners at a time.
There’s no doubt that Petchboonchu’s mastery of the clinch is unparalleled. By learning from his advice and using it in our own training, perhaps we could take our clinch game to the next level.