Teaching from experience
Head Trainer – Kru Nu
Kru Nu began training in Muay Thai at the age of 10 and was a top Lumpinee fighter at 49 kg and 52 kg, signed to the lauded Onesongchai promotion. His fight name was Witsanuchai Petchrungruang, meaning “Vishnu’s Victory”. Originally a technical, Femur style fighter, Witsanuchai was tasked by his promoter to adjust his style for more exciting performances in the ring, so he became a more forward-fighting knee fighter. He had some very memorable wins in tournaments and for Lumpinee title.
After retiring in his 20’s due to a knee injury, Kru Nu spent some time running a Snooker Hall out of the room that is now the weight-room of the gym. He found his true grounding in returning to Muay Thai and becoming the head trainer of the Petchrungruang Gym, the kai muay founded by his father and in which Kru Nu and his brother grew up as fighters. He has over 30 years experience in that gym and is a gifted, diligent and kind teacher.
Kru Nu 2016
Witsanuchai Petchrungruang on the cover of Muay TV after winning by round 1 KO at Lumpinee (Kru Den as cornerman in the background)
Witsanuchai (blue trunks) at about age 19, fighting Pichai Wor. Wolapon at Rajadamnern Stadium
Muaythai newspaper clipping, profiling Witsanuchai Petchrungruang
Kru Den was an accomplished fighter in his youth, having fought in Bangkok at Lumpinee a number of times before retiring into his current role as the owner of a large bar down on the pier at the end of Beach Road, just outside of Walking Street. Running this bar right on the waterfront made Kru Den familiar with Kru Nu’s uncles, who ran a ferry between the piers at Beach Road and the Koh Larn island off the coast of Pattaya. On weekends Kru Nu and his brother, Pi Nok, would help their uncles on the boat and that’s when Kru Den caught a glimpse of the young nakmuay. He invited Pi Nu to come fight at his bar, where there is a ring set up in the middle of everything. Back then, lots of fighters would show up and stand shoulder-to-shoulder, hoping to be matched for a fight. There were no weigh ins, just the eyeball method, which years of practice doing this has made Kru Den an absolute master of gauging fighters just at a first glance.
Once Pi Nu had fought at the bar, earning 70 Baht because he was so young (the normal fighter’s purse was 100 Baht, which Pi Nu worked his way up to), Kru Den took a liking to him and immediately saw his potential. So Kru Den would come by the gym and help train Pi Nu for his growing fight career, as well as cornering for him at big fights at Lumpinee. Kru Den is what’s known as muay gao, meaning “old muay,” or a trainer whose credentials are through the experience of having lived the life of a fighter; many great trainers come from this type of experience. Kru Den is now more than 60 years old and still comes every afternoon to Petchrungruang gym to help train the young fighters, just because he loves it. He and his former student, Kru Nu – now the head trainer of the gym he grew up in – work together to make the fighters relentless. And Kru Den has a very cheeky sense of humor, which keeps the gym laughing, even when the rounds are very hard.
Filippo first came to Petchrungruang for training in 2001. He liked the gym so much that he returned in 2003 in order to stay for 6 months and become a fighter for the gym. He ended up remaining a fighter of Petchrungruang until 2010, with Kru Nu as his trainer, coach and manager. During this time Filippo won many fights, including 3 professional belts: 2 WKN titles and 1 WMPF title.
In 2010 Filippo retired from his fighting career and became a trainer/manager at Petchrungruang. Filippo manages and works with various top fighters outside of the Petchrungruang Gym as well. He is recognized by many visitors to the gym for his boxing padwork and strategic fight advice.