By Robert Coster
Former two-time WBC light-welterweight( 1975-78) champion Saensak Muangsurin has passed away in Thailand at the age of 58. WBC President Jose Sulaiman has declared the organization in mourning in honor of the a boxer who was a national hero in his native land. Muangsurin was certainly one of the most unsual of champions, winning the WBC title (on July 15, 1975) in only his third pro fight- a record- with an eighth round kayo of Spaniard Perico Fernandez, only 6 months after turning pro. He then lost his title by DQ to Miguel Velasquez of Spain but regained it in a rematch with Velasquez by kayo in 2 rounds. Saensak then defended his title 7 times before a surprising loss to Sang Huyn Kim of Korea. In all, Muangsurin only had 20 fights in his career, losing 5 of his last 6 bouts for a total record of 14-6 (11 KOs), probably one of the strangest of records for a two-time world champion.
Muangsurin fought 4 American boxers, having succesful title defenses against Monroe Brooks, Mike Everett, Saul Mamby and was kayoed in the welterweight class by Thomas Hearns in 3 rounds (Oct. 18 ,1979) in Detroit-his only appearance in the United States. Muangsurin’s battle with Monroe Brooks (TKO 15) was a classic with the champion going once to the canvas and Brooks twice.
In his glory days, Saensak was a darling of the Thai press and public, married a famous Thai movie star and lived in grand style. Sadly, Muangsurin’s ride at the top was short-lived. He lost his ring earnings, was abandonned by his wife and confronted depression and health problems, a tragic fate all too common to boxing champions. But the memories Muangsurin has left as a brave warrior and champion in his short-but-full career will not be forgotten. Rest in Peace, Champ.