Krongsak Lek grew up training in Muay Thai Boxing in his father’s gym in Thailand. He was scouted by the age of 14 and has since had an extremely successful career in the sport, which has taken him all over the world. He has now settled on the Coffs Coast, after meeting his partner and starting a family in Sydney, and has started training students here in the art of Muay Thai.
Hi Krongsak. Tell us how you came to be on the Coffs Coast.
I moved from Thailand to Sydney in 2000, where I met my partner in 2005. In 2009, after our son Jack was born, we decided to move back to Thailand to raise him where he would be closer to my family. In 2013 we moved back to Australia and set up home on the Coffs Coast.
Muay Thai Boxing has been a huge part of your life; when did the journey begin?
I began training in my father’s gym at the age of eight, before and after school. This was considered fairly normal for young boys in Thailand, training twice a day, six days a week. And it was, I suppose, considered a young boy’s “rite of passage” to manhood. At the age of nearly 14 I was invited to participate in a “four states of Thailand” fight at Lumpinee Stadium in Bangkok. I entered in the 43 kg division, where I had to fight a total of four bouts before being crowned champion for that weight category.
This result opened many doors, and I was scouted by a trainer from Koh Samui. Shortly after this I left home and moved to Koh Samui to pursue a fight career under this trainer. Every three weeks there was an expectation to fight up in Bangkok at Lumpinee Stadium. I would train in a gym in Bangkok for a week before preparing for these fights.
How long were you fighting competitively?
I fought competitively from the age of 14 through to the age of 30. In this time I toggled between fighting in Koh Samui and Bangkok,
taking out various titles.
My prominent moments of my fight career started around the age of 24 where I was fighting at 64 kg, which I considered to be my preferred “fight weight”.
Where are some of the destinations Muay Thai has taken you, and what place stands out the most?
I have fought in Japan, England, France, Holland, Rome, Greece, Sweden, Russia, Denmark, Belgium, United States, Australia, Hong Kong and Germany.
What place stands out the most – Holland and France come to mind, as they were the toughest of all my opponents.
What do you think makes a World Champion?
Dedication to train hard, never give up, never stop believing in yourself. Remaining calm, composed and focused always.
What have been some of the biggest challenges of being a competitive fighter?
Fighting up a weight division to get opponents. Jumping from 64 kg to
75 kg weight division can be extremely difficult, as your everyday training regime entails an enormous amount of cardio that will naturally strip weight and at the same time as trying to gain weight. Very hard work to achieve.
Can you tell us about some stand out moments from your career?
On the 20th October 1996 (aged 24), I was successful in taking out the title of Super Lightweight Champion of the World in Muay Thai Boxing. This fight was staged in Paris – France. Over the next eighteen months I defended this title seven times, each time at Lumpinee
Stadium – Bangkok.
Now that you’re not competing and you are here on the Coffs Coast training, how has it been sharing your knowledge and training others?
I enjoy sharing my knowledge with students who come to me and express an interest in learning the art of Muay Thai Boxing, which has been passed down and practiced for some 2,000 years. Teaching young people the importance of keeping their head up, staying healthy, disciplined and focused is very rewarding.
Do you mostly train people wanting to become competitive fighters, or people just wanting to learn Muay Thai for fun and fitness?
A combination of both. Currently I have a few male and female students preparing for upcoming fights in Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Sydney.
Generally most people of varying ages come along to learn an art of self defence, whilst increasing their fitness and confidence.
What advice would you give anyone wanting to try Muay Thai or another form of martial art?
Martial Arts is an individual sport designed to develop the mind and body over time through regular training. It promotes discipline and respect. It is to be practiced in a formal class environment and not in the school playground or in the street.