Connect with us

Thai Life

Phuket Life: Given the chance of his young life

Legacy Phuket Gazette



Phuket Life: Given the chance of his young life | The Thaiger
  • follow us in feedly

PHUKET: Imagine that you are thirteen years old and school just isn’t your thing. Your mother lives with her new boyfriend in another province and you’ve been in trouble quite a bit lately – understandably so.

Now imagine that amidst this unstable period of your early life, someone offers you the chance that many poor Thai boys dream of – to train professionally in Muay Thai.

You won’t have to pay for the training, you’ll even earn money (some of which you’re expected to give to your mother) and your boarding will be paid for by the gym. Best of all, it’s in Phuket.

This was the offer made to Witsanu “Nong Arm” Mamohchoke, now 14 years old, and the latest addition to Phuket Top Team (PTT) Gym in Chalong. Called “Yoduman” by his trainers, Nong Arm is from a province in Isaan near the Laos border. He has been training professionally at Phuket Top Team for 3-4 months.

It’s important to give some background. Phuket Top Team does not force Yoduman to fight nor is he the youngest professional fighter in Thailand today.

In traditional Thai gyms, it is sometimes customary for training camps to take on poor children who’ve chosen to pursue Muay Thai as a career, instead of the schooling they often cannot afford.

To this end, gyms may act as what we would think of in the West as a boarding school. The gym assumes all responsibility for taking care of the fighter and pays for his housing, meals, medical bills and training

What is interesting about the situation between Yoduman and Phuket Top Team, is that this kind of arrangement is being conducted between a foreign-owned gym and a young Thai fighter – certainly not the norm.

“He’s basically living like an adult now in his own bamboo apartment [on site] with another kid who’s 16 years old. He’s fighting regularly – it’s a full-time job,” says Phuket Top Team owner Boyd Clarke. “We’ve had four different kids come through and out of all of them he’s been here the longest and seems the most passionate about it.”

Yoduman says he enjoys his time at Phuket Top Team, although it is sometimes difficult. He trains six days per week, running early in the mornings and resting only on Sundays. To date, Yoduman has had four fights, with a record of three wins and one loss.

“He wants to be a champion and has told the other trainers that he’d like to fight outside of Phuket. As a young kid, I guess he doesn’t know exactly what he wants but one thing that he does know is that he’s getting paid,” said Mr Clarke.

— Chris Hudon

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Things that have changed in Thailand in the Covid Era | Top 10 | VIDEO

The Thaiger



Things that have changed in Thailand in the Covid Era | Top 10 | VIDEO | The Thaiger

Top 10 things that have changed in Thailand during the Covid-era Things have changed. In some cases they’ve changed a lot and may never be the same again. Many people are suffering as a result of the impacts of lockdowns and the border closures. Some people are being forced to re-invent their lives as a result. Here are some of the main things we believe have changed since January this year. Face Masks The now every-present face mask is now with us for a long time. In Asia, it was never uncommon to see people wearing face masks, for traffic, […]

Continue Reading


Riding and renting a motorbike in Thailand | Top 10 tips | VIDEO

The Thaiger



Riding and renting a motorbike in Thailand | Top 10 tips | VIDEO | The Thaiger

Motorbikes and scooters are the most popular mode of transport in Thailand, and most of south east Asia. In many cases, they’re the ‘engine’ for the local economies. Most of them just go and go and go, they’re astonishingly reliable. Getting around on a motorbike is easy enough and will get you to your destination faster, whilst the cars and trucks are plodding along in the traffic. But riding a motorbike in Thailand can also be very dangerous. If you stick to the common sense basics – ride within the speed limits, wear a bike helmet, obey the traffic rules […]

Continue Reading


Khao San Road to reopen for Halloween

Caitlin Ashworth



Khao San Road to reopen for Halloween | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook: The Club Khaosan

The party is coming back to Khao San Road this Halloween. The once booming backpacker district went through a renovation during the lockdown period and now the Bangkok governor says they’re ready to reopen the street. Khao San Road has long been a district frequented by foreign backpackers. It’s known for it’s grungy and lively bar scene as well as its eccentric mix of street food, like scorpion on a stick. During the lockdown, 48.4 million baht was put into the streets for major renovations like leveling out the road and footpaths, adding some gutters and designating space for emergency […]

Continue Reading
Follow The Thaiger by email: