Lanna MMA Fighter of The Week Coban Lookchaomaesaitong
Banlu Anwiset was born on August 4th 1966 in Buriram, Thailand. Western fans of Muaythai dubbed him ‘The Cruncher’, but is more commonly known as ‘Coban’ to the Thais and the rest of the world. In his prime, he was a feared southpaw KO king, with devastating power, especially in his left hand. His rivalry with Ramon Dekkers (featured in a previous installation) is legendary. Coban (which means ‘Cowboy’) Lookchaomaesaitong is one of the more well known Thai fighters in Europe and North America because he fought outside of Thailand more than most Thai champions.
Coban fell in love with Muay Thai after he watched his cousin compete as an amateur during Buddhist Temple fairs. Coban created his own heavy bag and other training equipment by hand, and began training at home by determinately mimicking the moves of the fighters he enjoyed watching. His first fight was at the age of 11 for his first camp, Soh Samrung. He earned $1 for his efforts. Afterwards, he moved to Camp Lookchaomaesaitong, where he was discovered by a ringside doctor who would become his sponsor and mentor.
After roughly 7 years of training in Buriram, Coban moved to the big city of Bangkok, where he trained at Ghiet Ban Chong Camp and Muan Surin and Camp. At 19, Coban was Lumpinee Champion at 135lbs.
Coban fought during the 80’s and 90’s against both Thai champions and champions abroad. While his most formidable foe was Tantawan (Coban lost to him 4 times), Coban earned the attention of the international Muaythai and kickboxing community from his legendary rivalry with Ramon Dekkers. Coban was a big believer that in order to be world champion, you had to travel the world and prove yourself, and he did just that. Here is a list of some of the foreign champions he defeated:
Ramon Dekkers, Danny Bill, Dida Diafat, Joao Vieira, Tommy Van Der Berg, Guillaume Kerner, Hector Pena, Christian Garros, Oliver Harrison, and Danny Steele.
Labelled as a Muay Mat fighter, Coban relied on his powerful hands and kicks to end fights. His left cross, right hook, left kick combination may have been the most frightening thing for his opponents.
Here are a few of Coban’s career highlights:
1985: Lumpinee Champion, Bangkok
1990: Lumpinee Champion, Bangkok
1990: World Champion, Holland
1990: World Champion, France
1991: World Champion, Bangkok
1991: World Champion, UK
1991: World Champion, Australia
He is very outspoken about the mistreatment of fighters in Muaythai. In his career, Coban was the victim of fixed fights, being drugged by trainers, and mismatches from promoters. His fourth fight against Dekkers wasn’t planned. Coban was told that he would fight a specific opponent, then entered the ring, only to discover Ramon Dekkers standing across the ring from him. In his mind, the fourth fight against Dekkers doesn’t count for him.
Coban retired in 2000 after a decision win against former student Danny Steele as a 5x World Champion, with a professional record of 250 wins (90 KOs) and 20 losses. Now 52 years of age, Coban splits his time between Camp Lookchaomaesaitong in Buriram, and Coban’s Muay Thai Camp in NYC.
Here is a video of Coban defeating Hector Pena, a cocky opponent who mocked his Wai Kru
And here is the first fight against Ramon Dekkers where Coban knocked him out
Check out our previous Lanna MMA Fighter of The Week Burklerk Pinsinchai
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Written by Ryan McKinnon, Lanna MMA Team Member and host of The Bloody Ballet podcast, a weekly Muay Thai show that can be found at The Bloody Ballet