Sutjai Supalek’s been around boxing all his life. Seventy-five years young, he’s still doing what he loves most, training fighters. Most of Thailand’s great boxers have been trained by Supalek at one point or another and the list is as impressive as it is long. Sot Chitlada, Samart Payakarun, Muangchai Kittikasem, Chartchai Chionoi, Pichit Sitbangprachan, Netrnoi Sor Vorasingh, Chatchai Sasakul, Daorung Chutvatana and Wandee Singwancha are just a few of the many fighters Supalek has guided to titles. He is the “Angelo Dundee of Thailand” – no-nonsense, no frills, direct and to the point and his results speak for themselves. He is a proud and quiet man who rarely speaks unless you’re talking boxing.
TSS: You’ve been training fighters for over fifty years, did you fight before you became a trainer?
Supalek: No, I’ve always had a passion for sports which is how I got involved in boxing. Football, running, swimming, boxing, Muay Thai, it doesn’t matter. I just love sports! Boxing was the most fun for me though which is why I stuck with it. To me, the technical side of boxing is pure and I like that.
TSS: Muay Thai is the national sport of Thailand. Did you ever train any Muay Thai fighters or did you only train boxers?
Supalek: At one time I had three champions in Muay Thai but I prefer boxing.
TSS: You’ve been involved with quite a few champions and in quite a few championship fights. What one fight stands out in your mind?
Supalek: Oh, there are many. Chartchai Chionoi had quite a few great fights. Netrnoi Sor Vorasingh and Montsayarm Haw Mahachai was a great fight also.
TSS: Out of all the champions you’ve trained, which one did you have the most fun training?
Supalek: Samart Payakarun – he was always laughing and joking around. Training was light-hearted, not so serious we could not have fun.
TSS: Is there any one fighter who had very little natural skill but still was able to make it in the sport?
Supalek: Pichit Sitbangprachan
TSS: You’re currently training a group of prisoners in the Women’s Correctional Institution for Drug Offenders. Are you training anyone else?
Supalek: No, right now all my attention is on training the women. The last male fighter I trained was Wandee Singwancha.
(Wandee Singwancha is currently the number two, WBC light flyweight in the world. He’s supposed to fight the winner of the May 6, Brian Villoria-Juanito Rubillar fight.)
TSS: What do you hope to accomplish with the women fighters you’re training?
Supalek: I want to make history for Thailand and have the first women’s champion.
TSS: How do you want to be remembered in the sport of boxing?
Supalek: As a good trainer and a person who never mistreated his fighters. I’d like to be remembered as a person with ethics. I never put my fighter in with someone I didn’t feel he could beat and I never gave in to the crooked side of boxing.
Upcoming Fights in Asia
May 1, 2006 – 11th Inf Reg, Bangkok, Thailand
Pongsaklek Wonjongkam vs. Daigo Nakahiro
WBC Flyweight title
May 6, 2006 – Jakarta, Indonesia (Tentative)
Muhammad Rachman vs. Omar Soto
IBF Minimumweight title
May 6, 2006 – Tokyo Japan
Rodel Mayol vs. Eagle Kyowa
WBC Minimumweight title
May 10, 2006 – Bangkok, Thailand
Siriporn Sor Siriporn vs. Nanako Kikuchi
WBC Women’s Light Flyweight championship
Nongmai Sor Siriporn vs. TBA
May 13, 2006 – Waterfront Hotel, Lahug, Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines
Randy Suico vs. Kongtoranee Por Surasak
Vacant OPBF Lightweight title
May 20, 2006 – Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Jimrex Jaca vs. Nobuhito Honmo
Malcolm Tuñacao vs. Yasuo Kijima
OPBF Bantamweight title
May 20, 2006 – Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Rey ‘Boom Boom’ Bautista vs. TBA
Z Gorres vs. TBA
July 2, 2006 – Araneta Coliseum, Manila, Philippines
Manny Pacquiao vs. Oscar Larios