Intro by Nopstar
I had the pleasure of meeting Neungsiam about 6 years ago shortly before he immigrated to the States. I credit him for boosting and reinvigorating my passion for MuayThai. I’m quite sure that if I hadn’t met him, I probably wouldn’t have started MMT. As you’ll read in the interview he’s the real deal, a former Lumpini and 8 Man Title holder, it doesn’t get much more legit that that.
He’s my former trainer and a good friend. He’s currently the core of the Fight and Fitness MuayThai program. (If you’re looking to get some quality private training…drop by). For those of you who’ve met him, you’ll agree that he’s one of the most fun loving, piss taking characters you’ll ever meet.
He fights tomorrow at the MuayThai in America show, if any of you have the good fortune of meeting him, buy him a beer and tell the Thai Bruce Lee, I said Whaddup! Get out there and show him some love!
Chok Dee Mart!
Interview with Neungsiam Samphusri
Lucas: Where were you born?
Neungsiam: My hometown was Hua Hin, in the south, three hours south of Bangkok. My family lives there. It is a beach town.
Lucas: What does your family do there?
Neungsiam: My brother has a car rental business. My parents take care of my niece.
Lucas: When were you born?
Neungsiam: May 12th 1975
Lucas: When did you start fighting?
Neungsiam: When I was ten years old.
Lucas: How did you start fighting?
Mark Mian of AlterCenter & Neungsiam
Neungsiam: When I was young I went with my dad every sunday to watch muay thai. My dad loved watching muay thai. I saw it thought it would be fun and so I wanted to try.
Lucas: What happened with your first fight?
Neungsiam: I won my first fight. My mom she didn’t like it, she didn’t want me to fight.
Lucas: How much did you get for your first fight?
Neungsiam: I think 50 baht, it was a long time ago. One baht was a lot! A small bowl of pad thai was one baht, a big bowl two. (Laughs)
Lucas: When did you go to fairtex?
Neungsiam: I went to school for 6 years in total and then went to fairtex. I was 12 years old.
Lucas: How long were you at fairtex?
Neungsiam: I stayed at fairtex til I was 16 or 17 years old.
Lucas: What was your record?
Neungsiam: I can’t remember, I fought over 150 times.
Lucas: When was your last fight here in the states?
Neungsiam: It was three years ago in Fresno.
Lucas: What have you been doing to get ready for this fight?
Neungsiam & Bunkerd Faphimai
Neungsiam: I run 6 days a week. I kick pads every day. I box spar monday, wednesday, friday, and kick spar every day. On tuesday, thursday, saturday I train with Mark for an hour of strength training.
Lucas: Is fighting here in the states similar to fighting in Thailand?
Neungsiam: Fighting here and fighting in Thailand is different. Fighting here you have to think about judges first, and entertaining people. In Thailand you have to feel and look comfortable. Here everything is so tight.
Lucas: You’ve won a belt at Lumpinee, what weight class was that at?
Neungsiam: I fought at 112 lbs.
Lucas: How big were your purses fighting at Lumpinee?
Neungsiam: When I started to fight it was 3,000 baht. If you won your next fight you’d get 3,500 or 4,000. Every time you won you’d get more and more. If you lost your pay would be dropped. You’d drop from 3,000 baht to 2,500. I made 10,000 baht towards the top. Its about $300.
Lucas: What did you do with your winnings?
Neungsiam: I have a pineapple farm at home so I sent money there. Every day growing up I would eat pineapples. Walking back from school when I was hungry I would eat pineapples, or mangoes. Now I hate pineapples!
Lucas: What do you like about living in the United States?
Neungsiam: I think here in America, a lot of people want to know you but people lie to you. People aren’t sincere.
Lucas: What do you miss about Thailand?
Neungsiam: Oh everything!
Lucas: What’s the difference between Thai and American fighters?
Neungsiam: In Thailand I don’t have to think so much, its easy. Here its not so easy. A lot of people say fighting farang is easy but its not. Before I used to think like that too. Farang only have punches is what I thought but farang are strong. In Thailand I never would kick people’s elbows but here I always kick peoples elbows for some reason. If you fight a thai after five rounds you might kick their elbows a couple times here every round, every time.
Lucas: When did you retire from fighting in Thailand?
Neungsiam: My last fight at lumpinee was five years ago. Then I fought at the fairtex stadium in Pattaya after that.
Lucas: When was your 8 man mitsubshi tournament?
Neungsiam: I won the lumpinee belt then two years later I fought in the tournament. The tournament was 5 fights total over 5 months.
Lucas: Have you ever fought more than once in a month?
Neungsiam: I fought twice in one night in the country.
Lucas: What do you like about training?
Neungsiam: When you train and someone holds pads well its really fun. A lot of people don’t know how to hold pads well. It feels really uncomfortable. I train with Bunkerd, and its really good.
Lucas: What do you like about training other people?
Neungsiam: A lot of people don’t listen. You have to listen to me. A lot of fighters think that they’re super stars.
Lucas: What do you feel are your strengths as a fighter?
Neungsiam: In Thailand people were afraid of my punches and kicks. Here I try to use my elbows.
Lucas: Who is your favorite fighter?
Neungsiam: Karuhat. He’s from the south. Its perfect muay thai. It looks amazing.
Thai Bruce Lee
Lucas: What do you like fighting?
Neungsiam: I like it as a sport. In Thailand when you hit someone and they fall down you don’t kick them when they fall down. They get up and then you fight again. Its really sporting, its fair. Muay Thai looks really clean. I like the techniques. Its not angry looking.
Lucas: How did you learn english?
Neungsiam: I went to school and learned english in thailand. I knew how to say “yes” that’s it. Now I go to school every day.
Lucas: Your english is much better than pi’coke! How can you be a successful fighter?
Neungsiam: In Thailand, you have to know the promoters. Its who you know. If I’m a promoter and you’re from my gym then you’ll fight for the title. Sometimes I don’t know why people are champions.
Lucas: You fought Saenchai sor Kingstar correct?
Neungsiam: Yeah I fought him for the title at Lumpinee. I lost. It was at 115lbs. It was very close. The score was even. In the last round I missed a kick once and lost. He’s southpaw and I right kicked him. My leg ended up in the ropes and he kicked my back so he won! I’ve fought Attachai. Tongchai as well.
Lucas: Have you fought someone in particular a lot?
Neungsiam: I fought Neungpichit four times. I lost three times (laughs). When I fought him I thought he was easy. The first three rounds he didn’t punch or kick. It was like kicking a ball, it seemed so easy. In the fourth round he’d go crazy! Punch and kick a lot! In the fourth round every time. I won once because I knocked him out.
Lucas: What was your most memorable fight?
Neugsiam: When I fought for the title at Lumpinee against Sittichai.
Lucas: Have you ever been knocked out before?
Neungsiam. I have a funny story. I was fighting at Rajadamern against a tall guy. The first round I punched him and he elbowed me. I got cut. I thought oh shit. I didn’t want to fight. I got cut in the first round I didn’t want to fight anymore. The doctor checked my cut. I was hoping the doctor would stop the fight. The doctor said okay. I was like oh shit! We had to fight. Fuck! My opponent he kicked me in the neck and I fell down. The referee started to count and I didn’t get up. I didn’t want to fight. The stretchers came over and they kept trying to look at my eyes. I was fine but I had a hard time not laughing as they were looking at my eyes.
More about Matt Lucas
Born to a working class family in rural New York I grew up working like a dog and drinking Natural light in the woods. After a brief stint attempting to escape the poverty of employment via university I gave up on escaping the grind and moved to sunny California where the burritos are as generous as the weather. I work in the service industry slinging booze and food.
I got into Muay Thai as a recreational activity. I saw an interclub fight and decided to try it out, everyone has to test their mettle somehow. A few fights and a year later I was in Thailand training, and fighting. I haven’t quit stepping into the ring since. I currently live in East Oakland and balance my time blocking punches with my head with attempting to prevent brain deterioration through writing, studying Thai; language, culture and history, and going to wild dance parties with my friends.