500 bid farewell to Muay Thai legend Yodthong Senanan


More than 500 friends, family members, students and civic leaders paid final respects to Thailand’s pre-eminent Muay Thai boxing trainer Yodthong Senanan, who died Feb. 8.

Born Aug. 28, 1937 in Ratchaburi as Erawan Siriwalak, Yodthong was grandmaster of the Sityodtong Muay Thai Camp in Pattaya and produced 57 Muay Thai champions, the most in the history the sport.  Included among those were world champions Samart Payakaroon, Kongtoranee Payakaroon, Nuengpichit Sityodtong, Detpitak Sityodtong, Chartchai Sityodtong, Yoddecha Sityodtong, and Daotong Sityodtong.

MP Poramet Ngampichet, representing Culture Minister Sonthaya Kunplome, presided over the Feb. 11 funeral rites at the boxing camp with top city and boxing industry officials attending.  A procession of mourners took turns pouring holy water for “Kru Tui” before his royal cremation Feb. 17 at Nongprue Temple.

The late Yodthong Senanan.The late Yodthong Senanan.

Samat Phayakarun of the Yodsanan K-3 Battery, said that while he knew Yodthong had been ill, his death caught him by surprise, as he’d just visited his friend and menotor the previous week.

Yodthong was the only Muay Thai instructor to ever be awarded a lifetime achievement award from the royal family and was the first to receive an honorary doctorate in Muay Thai from Chom Bung Rajabhat University.

Outside of boxing, Yodthong became well known for his generosity and philanthropy.  Although he won 56 million baht in the Thai lottery in 2005, he died in near poverty after giving away nearly all of it.