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Wuthidej scoops awards, but wants to rule Lumpini or Ratchadamnoen stadium : On May 18th , 2008
Wuthidej Lookphrabat is arguably the best Muay Thai fighter in any weight division.
He was named the best Muay Thai fighter of 2007 by three organisations - the Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT), Siam Sport daily and the Sport Writers Association of Thailand (SWAT).
In winning the SWAT award, the 122lb boxer beat his friend Ruengroenglek and received HRH Crown Prince's trophy last week.
"I am very happy to get the award," said the 27-year-old Saraburi native. "I dedicate this to my parents."
Wuthidej was introduced to Muay Thai when he weighed 28kg and joined the Lookphrabat camp.
His manager Pracha Wuthisophakorn said Wuthidej deserved to lift the prestigious trophy although his record last year (6-2-1) was inferior to that of Rungroenglek (8-1).
"Wuthidej faced tougher opponents and beat a lot of good fighters. He deserved the award," Pracha said.
Inspired by his boxer brother Ek Lookphrabat, Wuthidej started fighting at the age of nine with support from his family.
"My first bout was at a temple festival," he recalled. "I won and got 100 baht."
After 18 years in Muay Thai, the 122-pound boxer can't remember how many fights he has fought.
"I am not sure about the number of fights but it is certainly more than 200," he said.
Apart from Muay Thai, he also represented the Kingdom in wushu winning gold at last year's SEA Games in Nakhon Ratchasima and bronze at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha.
But he has no plans to try K-1 because he is much smaller than most opponents.
Muay Thai has made him better not only in terms of health but also finance. He has built a house, helps his family and has saved money for the future.
"I saved only about 300,000 baht in my account and the rest I gave to my parents," he said.
Regarding to his form and current salary per fight, Wuthidej is expected to more in the coming years.
"My wage per fight is now 100,000 baht and that is split 50-50 between me and the camp."
The non-smoker is praised for his diligence and healthy lifestyle.
"He could box competitively for three or four more years," said Pracha.
"He gives a good example for his followers in the camp."
Pracha now takes care of about 20 boxers said success in the sport depends as much on their character as their physical skills.
"It is important here for the boxer to be patient and sincere," he said.
"The fans can be assured with our boxers' honesty. They fight to their best and there are no fixed fights."
He believes that his boxers will vie for the award again next year and that it could be Ruengroenglek's turn.
As for Wuthidej, he has two main goals to accomplish this year - taking revenge on Detnarong Sitjaboon (the pair have beaten each other) and winning a belt from the two biggest stadiums in the country.
Despite winning belts in different weight divisions at the Siam Omnoi stadium, Wuthidej failed to be crowned at Lumpini or Ratchadamnoen stadium in two attempts. And he knows that winning the belt from either of those two venues could make him the perfect boxer in many people's eyes.
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