Muay Thai legend Ramon Dekkers passed away at such an early age but he left a legacy that will outlive us all…
At age 12, young Dutch boy named Ramon Dekkers began his journey through martial arts. Born September 4, 1969 in North Brabant, Dekkers actually started training in Judo at first.
Nobody knew at the time, but this wiry young boy would soon be a titan of the striking arts, specifically Muay Thai. Pairing up with Dutch kickboxing legend Cor Hemmers, Dekkers found his calling at Maeng Ho Breda Gym.
Hemmers, a man Dekkers’ mother would eventually married, was perfect for Ramon’s kickboxing career. He had also trained Rob Kaman, a Dutchman who had won multiple titles in varying weight classes as a kickboxer.
Dubbed the “Double Dutch Duo,” Dekkers and Kaman would remain friends for life. Unlike Kaman, though, Dekkers would carve his career path with a myriad of massive fights in Thailand.
Turbine From Hell
Thailand loved Ramon Dekkers, he was an icon to them. The sport of Muay Thai to the country is far different than, say, the sport of boxing to the English. There’s a deeply-rooted sense of pride for the people of Thailand in their national sport.
The moment Dekkers really became a star was with his win over reigning Lumpinee champion Nongkee Pahuyuth in 1990. Clearly a man on a mission, Dekkers was a pioneer in terms of westerners beating the best Thailand had to offer.
When Dekkers came over, specifically when he destroyed their champion Coban, Thailand fell in love with the heavy-hitting Dutch Diamond. His super-aggressive style and relentless assaults earned Dekkers the affectionate nickname ‘Turbine From Hell’ from His Thai admirers.
Dekkers was just 21 when he defeated Coban, which was a rematch of a fight that Coban had won by KO that same year, but there was much more to come.
By the mid-1990’s, Dekkers was globally recognized as the greatest westerner to ever grace the sport of Thai boxing. He had traveled to the source, defeated their greatest fighters, and won belts in six different weight classes.
Although only 10 years into his professional career, Dekkers had fought over 200 times by 1996 when he beat Hassan Kassrioui for the WKPA super welterweight title. When he eventually retired for the third time in 2006, Dekkers had amassed a record of 186 wins with 95 knockouts and 35 losses.
On the occasion of the 85th anniversary of the King of Thailand, Dekkers received a royal award from the Thai Royal Family for his services to the sport.
On February 27th, 2013, while out riding his bike, Dekkers suffered a heart attack. He was just 43 when he passed away in his native Brabant, on the same roads he used to run as a youth while training for his fights.
The Dutchman was appointed the ambassador of all foreign fighters in Thailand. His statement on this monumental occasion sums up the kind of man Dekkers was; “This is very important to me. It is the greatest recognition that I can get for what I have achieved in this sport,”
Dekkers was more than a fighter, more than a champion, he was an icon of Muay Thai’s greatest era. The country of Thailand, the world mourned Dekkers passing five years ago, but as mentioned before, his legacy transcended the sport and will outlive us all.