Petchrungruang 30 Years Ago

Petchrungruang is the second oldest gym in Pattaya, behind Sityodtong Gym. Its founder, Khun Bamrung, came from a farming family and loved Muay Thai, he’d always wanted to be a fighter but his parents forbid it. Often after his work in the evenings he’d just fight with his friends, untrained, just because they loved it. So when he started his own family, it was important to him that his children learn Muay Thai, and from his passion for the Art of 8 Limbs, Petchrungruang Gym was born.

The gym itself began just on the grounds of the farm that the family lived and worked on. Between pineapple trees, in the fields, on the dirt floor, and between the chores necessary for running a farm and the kids going to school. It was a lot of work. In 1986 the foundation for the first ring was poured, and that cemented the official birth date of the gym.

Kru Nu standing on the line where the first cement was poured

The date of the gym’s official foundation, at Kru Nu’s feet in the photo above, year 2529 (1986)


As one of only two gyms in Pattaya that had space for training, many of the famous fighters to come out of Pattaya grew up together and trained together at Petchrungruang. Thappaya, who now owns and runs Sor. Klinmee Gym and his brother Yokthai, who became a western boxing champion and now teaches in Japan, as well as Thailand’s first MMA World Champion Rambaa, and many others who are now local gym owners or promoters.

Petchrungruang also accepted western students very early in its history. One of those very first students, French fighter Frederic Sean (who Kru Nu calls “Chon”), sent these wonderful photos from Petchrungruang 30 years ago. You can see the undeveloped areas of the farm in the background, so different from what this area of Pattaya – and the gym – look like now. Kru Nu walked through the gym to show where each of these photos was and posed in those spots to show the contrast. These are Frederic’s photos and the photos of Kru Nu from now:

Kru Nu in the original ring, which officially established the gym in 1986 (now 2018)

Probably 2 years into the gym, the boy on the left is Yokthai Klinmee, who became famous under the Sit. Or gym name. Kru Nu says they used to have to roll up the canvas of the ring after training, to protect it from the elements as there was no roof over the ring at that time.


The street out front of the gym now has this wall, separating off a warehouse for boat repairs. Back in the 80s it was an open field.

Kru Nu (about 14 years old) and his sister Tuk, in the same spot in front of the gym. Kru Nu was responsible for moving a whole herd of ox like this one every morning and night, before training and before school, then again after school and before training.


Kru Nu standing where one of the early bags was hung; he pointed to the holes in the beam above his head to show where the bolts were. This area now has single-room apartments around the sides of the gym.

Without the apartments, you can see the pen where the ox are kept in the background. Khun Bamrung, Kru Nu’s father and the founder of the gym, and on the bag is a very young Sitthichok. He was later sold to the esteemed Sor. Ploenjit gym in Bangkok and is now a  prominent promoter at Max Muay Thai Stadium in Pattaya.


Petchrungruang has a long history, more than 30 years, and features some of the biggest names to come out of Pattaya. Yet it remains a humble, traditional style gym. The livestock and fruit trees are gone as the farm faded and the gym grew, but the “way of life” of farming and the way of life of Muay Thai are similar in ethic. And in those ways, the gym has not changed much.

Special thanks to Frederic for sending these photos.

A Short Interview of Kru Nu in Muay Siam

A reporter interviewed Kru Nu at Lumpinee this past December 29th, 2017, at Angie Petchrungruang’s fight, where she KO’d her opponent in round 5. Angie has gained a name for herself as the first Trans fighter inside the Lumpinee Stadium ring, and the reporter was interested to know Kru Nu’s thoughts on “kathoey” fighters. Kru Nu’s answer, in short, is that Muay Thai is for anybody and everybody, regardless of age or gender, if they have the will to learn and train hard.

Here is a translation of the interview, as it was printed in Muay Siam on January 3, 2018:

Muay Thai belongs to and can be matched with any house, any city, belongs to Thai people of any age who have the will to learn – any person, any gender and any age are able to learn with Khun Anurak Rungruang, 44 years old at Petchrungruang Gym in Banglamung, Chonburi. He took over the gym from his father and has maintained it as an authentic Muay Thai gym.

Khun Anurak explains that the Petchrungruang gym has improved and expanded over the last 30 years, from it’s origin as a family gym started by his father (Khun Bamrung) and with only 3 fighters, 2 boys and 1 girl – siblings in the family. The gym was so small that, even though he thought kicking pads and bags was more fun, he often had to learn the art of Muay Thai more indirectly, without any equipment.

“I started training Muay Thai at 8 years old, then at 10 years old had my first fight at the Beer Bar in Pattaya. I won by knock out and was paid 70 Baht, which was a lot of money to a kid! At that time I used the fight name Witsanuchai Sit Arjan Lom. After that I started fighting regularly, sometimes win, sometimes lose and got the opportunity to fight in Bangkok for the famed promoter Onesongchai. I fought for him for 7 years, until the age of 21 years old. I competed in a prestigious tournament but lost in the final to Ratonchai Wor Worapon, who took the title.”

Khun Anurak says he fought until the age of 22 years old but then stopped for 3 years and when he came back for a few fights he just wasn’t fit for it (he had a knee injury, which required surgery). At that point he took over the gym from his father and became the manager and head instructor to mostly local kids and then international fighters began to join. The local kids train for free but international customers pay dues because they have a proportionately bigger income. Now the gym has more than 10 fighters who enter the rings of Bangkok.

Khun Anurak is sure to talk to all of the kids who train at his gym, so they understand more fully when learning Muay Thai. He also talks with the parents of his students, because as much as he can teach them and keep them fit in the gym, at the end of the day after training they go home with Mom and Dad and it’s up to them to help take care of the kids’ health for training – eat well, sleep well. For his contracted fighters, he doesn’t take any part of their fight purses unless they reach 10,000 Baht, at which point the gym takes 10% to cover the costs of travel expenses, equipment for fighting, etc. (Author’s note: this is very unique to Petchrungruang. Almost every gym takes 50%, regardless of the size of the purse. It’s so common, in fact, that the contracts that go through the official offices in each province and in Bangkok have 50% printed in the “blank” contracts.) He explains that he takes only this small percentage because his family isn’t struggling; he trains fighters because he enjoys it.

“Anyone working any job gets tired, but I’m only tired when my fighters lose or don’t fight well. If a nakmuay isn’t training, I won’t give him a fight. But if they train hard I will give them the opportunity to fight. I never punish my nakmuay if they aren’t training, but I always talk with them; using reason is always better.”

As for Angie, the Trans fighter who has gained a name for being the first to fight at Lumpinee Stadium, Khun Anurak says when he met her 2 years ago she just came to the gym to work out. She didn’t have any notion of fighting. But when he saw that she was serious and getting stronger and better, he asked if she wanted to fight. She accepted and had her first fight in Pattaya, against a female opponent. She also fought against men and after 10 fights she started getting bigger opportunities and the media took note. Khun Anurak guarantees that Angie is, in fact, a “real” Trans fighter – she has breasts and in her heart she is a woman, he says.

“My gym is open to everybody, man or woman or kathoey (Trans). Anybody who wants to learn Muay Thai, if they are sincere, that is enough.”

As for the fighters of whom Khun Anurak is proud, PTT Petchrungruang, Jatukam Petchrungruang (now Dawanchai P.K. Saenchaigym), Thongchai, YodPT and Alex, because they all started as young boys and have made a name for themselves and Petchrungruang in the rings of Bangkok. Every day his gym is full of students from every level, little kids just starting out train alongside Lumpinee fighters, everyone improving together. Like this, Khun Anurak maintains that Muay Thai as a martial art and way of life can continue forever.

(As a side note, but one that is lovely, while speaking with Kru Nu about this article he added that Muay Thai is a wicha – like a subject of knowledge – that stays in your body forever. When he was a baby learning Muay Thai, he didn’t like it at all, but his father made him train and learn. Now, Kru Nu thanks his father for that, for giving him this wicha that has allowed him to have this life he leads now. It is in his body forever, and he passes that on to all his students.)

Angie Fights at Thepprasit in Highlight

Our kathoey fighter Angie has been gaining attention from promoters who are interested in bringing her to their shows around Thailand. On the 28th of August (2017) Angie will be facing a larger opponent in a highlight fight at the local Thepprasit Stadium. There is a 200,000 Baht side bet on the fight, so Kru Nu has been paying close attention to Angie’s training. And she’s just getting stronger.

Angie Petchrungruang will be facing Siansu Humuaydujaruat, who has more Muay Thai experience in his background and outweighs Angie by about 12+ kg. However, Angie trains better and harder, we expect that Siansu only has a few good rounds in his gas tank. The buzz around this fight is pretty high and confidence in Angie’s prowess as a fairly new fighter is solid.

Angie will continue to train hard while also working full time, she owns and operates a small beverage shop on Thepprasit Soi 12. Kru Nu is amping up the intensity in her training in these last couple weeks, before tapering her off just before the fight. Regardless of outcome, we all know Angie will put out a great fight


Petchrungruang and our fighters are proudly sponsored by Royal Thai Residence on Thepprasit Soi 7

3 Fighters in Saraburi June 9th – Angie’s First Televised Fight

On June 9th Kru Nu will drive a group of fighters up to Saraburi for a card, a portion of which will be televised. Mahaheng (Team), Geng Gat, and Angie are all fighting and Angie’s fight will be broadcast on Channel 24.

This is a big step for Angie, our kathoey (“ladyboy”) fighter who has been training for only a little under 2 years. She’s had difficulty finding opponents to face, since the Muay Thai Authorities want her to fight with men but she’s still a beginner and an adult, so the men she’s facing are far more experienced and often quite strong. They don’t take it easy on her. But Angie has a solid record and has beat some good opposition in a string of wins, so we all feel very confident in her upcoming match this Friday.

Mahaheng is the most experienced of the 3 fighters and will be the final fight of the card. He’s a solid fighter and is sure to give his opponent a hard time in the clinch.

Geng Gat is the most recently signed fighter to Petchrungruang Gym. He has a couple fights at Lumpinee and is still gaining experience, but with a winning record against good competition.


Petchrungruang fighters are sponsored by Royal Thai Residence.


Petchrungruang Cleans Up at the Pattaya Marathon

Team Petchrungruang


This past weekend, on May 27th, some of our fighters took the morning off from their regular run and participated in the Pattaya Marathon instead. It’s pretty much the same distance as our Silverlake runs (9K) with most of the boys entering the 10K portion of the run. Honestly, it’s a chance for the fighters to do something fun as a group and usually walk away with trophies and medals because they finish faster than most of the “amateur” runners, given that as fighters they run everyday.

Kru Nu is incredibly proud of his son, Bank, who finished 8th place overall out of around 2,500 participants. That means he placed in the adult categories as well, despite only being 16 (for a few more months). But the Petchrungruang Team had 3 finishers in the top 20, which is very impressive: Bank at Overall (8), Pi Nok (Kru Nu’s older brother) at Overall (11), and Sun at Overall (17).

Starting Line

Pi Nok






Seven Fighters Tonight in Ang-Thong

This afternoon (25 March, 2017) a caravan of vans, trucks and cars will be departing from the gym to drive about 3 hours up to Ang-Thong. Petchrungruang has seven (7!) fighters on the card and, in true Thai style, we’re bringing an entourage of family, teammates, and gymmates to help in the corner and cheer.

In each of the photos below one fighter is missing. First, Team wasn’t pictured because he wasn’t added onto the card until the next day (short notice, but we’re always training so we’re always ready); then in the second photo YodPT was absent. So, put the photos together and you’ve got the whole group.

From left: Podee, Gaengat, Alex, Thongchai (Bank), YodPT (Dti), Angie, and Kru Den (missing is Manahaeng)

From left: Thongchai (Bank), Gaengat, Alex, Podee (front), Manahaeng (Team), and Angie (missing is YodPT)

Petchrungruang Fighters at Lumpinee – September 2016


From left: Gai Chon, Geng Gat, Ngatao, Thongchai, Alex, and Mod Ek


This weekend on September 16th, four of our fighters from Petchrungruang Gym will be fighting at Lumpinee Stadium in Bangkok. Fighting at Lumpinee is a big deal for young fighters, it’s where they gain exposure and experience on the bigger stages. At Petchrungruang, we specialize in raising young boys to be Lumpinee, Rajadamnern and Omnoi fighters.

Thongchai (Bank) is the most experienced at the National Stadium out of these 4 boys. He’s had a number of fights at Lumpinee already and as he’s grown in size and reputation his challenges have increased as well. Thongchai had been training for a fight at Omnoi, on TV, but his opponent failed to make weight and the fight was cancelled. So he rolled that last fight training into getting ready for this one a couple weeks later and we’re excited he gets to climb into the ring this time. He’s in good shape and ready to go. Thongchai is the third generation of the Petchrungruang family of fighters; his father Kru Nu is our head trainer and gym manager and his grandfather Khun Bamrung founded the gym in 1986. His name means “victory flag.”

Alex just turned 15 and has been with us at the gym for a few years now. He’s grown into his own recently and this fight at Lumpinee has a bit of spotlight on it as Alex is coming off of a big win at MAX Muay Thai Stadium here in Pattaya, on the televised Sunday show. It was Alex’s first televised fight and he did wonderfully, so the buzz around him at the moment is high.

Geng Gat is the newest addition to Petchrungruang Gym as a contracted fighter. His paperwork went through in Chonburi just a week before this fight and this will be his debut at Lumpinee. He’s still too small in weight to be on the main card (there is a 100 lbs minimum) but he’ll be fighting on the pre-show before the main program starts. It’s a great way for young fighters to gain experience in the big stadium before stepping into the main cards. Geng Gat’s fight name means “brave” and it suits him. He’s had a few fights since coming to the gym at the local Thepprasit Stadium and he is a fearless and menacing fighter in those ropes.

Ngatao’s name means “gray ivory,” and he is managed and signed to the Bor. Woralak Gym, which is technically separate from Petchrungruang but they do not have a gym and they train with us, in the same ropes and under the same roof with the Petchrungruang boys. We also corner for one another and cheer one another on, so we all grow together as a team despite the difference in name. Ngatao has been growing steadily in his reputation and skill (and size) as a fighter and he’s coming off some solid wins at more prestigious cards, including the televised Muay Dee Witee Thai show.

Wishing the best of luck for all these fighters!


Update: Geng Gat, Alex and Thongchai all won their fights decisively. This is Alex’s 6th victory in a row and he’ll be preparing to fight on the televised MAX show again mid-October. Thongchai took a dominant victory over his much-taller opponent and looked very strong. Ngatao fought strong and hard against a tricky, more experienced opponent and he won each round until his opponent narrowly stole the fight midway through the 5th round. It was a disappointing loss but we’re proud of how Ngatao fought. With experience comes knowledge for the next time. Congratulations to all four fighters!


Geng Gat wins his debut fight at Lumpinee


Kru Den, Alex, Alex’s father Mirko, and Kru Nu

thongchai-petchrungruang-lumpinee ngatao-bor-lumpinee

Thongchai with his opponent at weigh in        Ngatao with his opponent at weigh in

alex-petchrungruang-weigh-in thongchai-petchrungruang-lumpinee-win

Alex with his opponent at weigh in            Thongchai and the team after winning


Interview with Young Petchrungruang Fighter – Team Petchrungruang

team teep
Team “Mahahaeng Petchrungruang” teeping his opponent at Thepprasit Stadium in Pattaya


Team is one of Petchrungruang’s fighters. He’s been training with us for 5 years (his fight name is “Mahahaeng”, which means “great fortune”) and lives in one of the apartment rooms that encircle the gym itself. Team’s older sister and her two kids (one girl, one boy) live in that apartment, along with Team’s mother, who runs a small restaurant stall at the front of the gym. She offers a wide seleciton of stir-fried, single-dish meals and it’s a social place for gym members to gather for a bite after training in the evenings. During training in the ring we can often smell the delicious aromas of her cooking as it wafts through the gym.

This September Team will be making his debut at Omnoi Stadium in Bangkok. He has fought once before at Lumpinee, but his weight is still too low for him to be a regular stadium fighter. He fights at 40 kg (88 lbs) and the Bangkok stadiums have a 100 lbs minimum for the main shows. Still, it’s a good challenge for Team, who has cut his teeth fighting at the local stadiums in Pattaya and at festival shows around the Chonburi area. He’s a tough fighter, very quick and keen to throw kicks and heavy punches before locking his opponents in a low clinch and often taking them down. At 15 years old and walking around at about 43 kg, Team is in an interesting position at the gym: he’s older than most of the boys his size and significantly smaller than most of the boys his age/level. Team has already fought about 60 times. So matching him up in training for sparring or clinch is an exercise in Team’s skill raising the level of the younger boys or his own size being a significant challenge in raising his own skills against the bigger boys at his age range. In either case, Team always rises to the challenge.


Team Petchrungruang pads



The fighters at Petchrungruang are proudly sponsored by Royal Thai Residence. Please check out their site for accommodation and training packages.