Lanna MMA Fighter of The Week Ramon Dekkers
By Ryan McKinnon
Affectionately nicknamed ‘The Diamond’ and ‘The Turbine From Hell’ by the people of Thailand, Ramon Dekkers is arguably the greatest foreign fighter to compete in the country where Muay Thai was born. With over 200 fights spread out over 2 decades, Dekkers finished his career with 186 wins (95 knockouts) and 35 losses, some of which were in Thailand under a scoring system that did not favour foreign fighters.
An 8-time Muay Thai World Champion. Dekkers was known to never back down from a challenge. His relentless, forward moving style earned him matchups with the very best boxers Thailand had to offer during the Golden Era of Muaythai. His 4-fight feud with Coban Lookchaomaesaitong really encapsulates the spirit of the Golden Era of Muaythai, when fighters gave their blood and sweat to bring honour to the art.
Dekkers’ heart, determination and intensity in the ring earned him the love and admiration of the Thais. When his career came to an end, Dekkers was presented with a royal award by the princess of Thailand and daughter of King Bhumibol (King Rama iX) from the Thai Royal Family for his services to the sport. He was also appointed ambassador of all foreign fighters to Thailand.
First World Title
In 1989 Dekkers won his first World Championship Title (IMTA) at 59kg (130lbs) against Mungkordum Sitchang. He beat the tough top 10 fighter on points in a very tough decision victory. After Dekkers’ win, critics in Thailand were quick to point out that he didn’t win a ‘real title’ that was recognized in Thailand. In order for Dekkers to earn the respect of fans and critics, he had to capture a title under the International Muay Thai Federation (IMTF) to establish his legitimacy.
On February 2nd, 1990, Ramon fought Nampol (Namphon) Nongkipahuut, the reigning Lumpinee Champion for the IMTF belt in Amsterdam at 64kg (141lbs). He scored two 8-counts against the champion (1 by a violent lead hook) leaving no doubt in the minds of the judges that he deserved to be crowned as the new king.
In their rematch two months later on April 20th, Dekkers would not only be fighting Nampol, he would have to battle against a new temperature, climate, and a foreign scoring system that made many fights difficult for Dekkers and other great nak muay who would come to compete on Thai soil. It was Dekkers’ first fight in Thailand, marking the beginning of an illustrious career full of fights in the Kingdom of Muaythai. Below is the link to the rematch.
On August 6th, 1991 Dekkers would rematch his famous rival, Coban Lookchaomaesaitong at Lumpinee Stadium. Up to that point, Coban had never been knocked out and definitely never lost to a foreigner. In Paris 4 months earlier, Coban starched Ramon with a left hook in the first round. This time, it was Dekkers who would get the KO, against a hero to the Thai people, in their backyard. It would catapult Dekkers into super stardom in Thailand.
It wasn’t unusual to have 10’s of millions of viewers whenever Dekkers would take on a Thai. The entire country would almost shut down to watch this small, fair-skinned, blonde-haired Dutchman go to war with the finest boxer in Thailand, during an era that was characterized by having exciting fights.
At the age of 43, Dekkers passed away suddenly in his hometown of Breda, Amsterdam on February 27 2013. He will be remembered as one of the greatest foreign fighters to compete on Thai soil, and would pave the way for many future foreign champions.
Here is a link containing a very comprehensive biography of Dekkers’ career.
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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