YOUR Interview with Coban

This was your interview with Coban, these questions were emailed in by the readers of Muaythai Online.

Thanks to all of you that sent in your questions. Our next "your chance to interview" interview will be coming very soon.

After a sensational career spanning 23 years and over 270 professional fights, Muay Thai kickboxing superstar Coban Lookchaomaesaitong of Thailand has officially retired and successfully made the transition from fighter to trainer in Manhattan, New York.

"I am happy training my students. I love them very much," says Coban who holds his Muay Thai camp at Chau's Martial Arts Center in midtown Manhattan. A seven time world champion, Coban states that his primary goals are to teach authentic Muay Thai techniques and have a positive impact on the personal lives on his students. Students begin each training session by jumping rope. Push-ups, sit-ups, leg raises, back extensions, stretching, and exercises involving running and plyometrics follow. The transition is then made into shadowboxing, pad work, and sparring.

After beginning his training at the young age of 11, Coban soared through the professional fighter rankings. He won his first world title at the age of 19 in 1985 at Lumpinee Stadium. In 1991, the Thai fighter captured three world titles at the age of 24; his second at Lumpinee Stadium; his third in The Netherlands; and is fourth in France. After moving to California in 1994, he attained three more world titles.

Coban's final bout came recently in September 2000. After taking a three year layoff from competition, Coban headlined the inaugural Warriors Cup of America card at the UCI Bren Events Center in Irvine, California where he faced former student and reigning I.S.K.A. World Super Lightweight and I.K.F. World Junior Welterweight Muay Thai champion Danny Steele of Los Angeles, California. Landing multiple punch combinations and bone crushing shin kicks to the body of his opponent, the veteran Thai warrior defeated Steele by split decision and became the Warriors Cup champion.

Recently, Coban hosted his first intraschool tournament at Chau's. After an exhibition match in which Coban faced fellow retired fighter Edge Brown, students squared off against one another in the school's ring for three, three-minute rounds while their trainer served as referee for each bout. The tournament allowed for students to gain experience in the competitive ring while it also served as positive exposure for the sport as many members of the audience took in Muay Thai kickboxing competition for the first time. Coban plans to host similar tournaments in the future, with the next one scheduled for May 26th.

For more information about Coban's Muay Thai camp, call Chau's Martial Arts Center at (212) 633-8865 or visit their web site at www.chausmartialarts.com.

Coban, You are a legend and a hero of mine. Who in your opinion was the best European that you fought, and who is the best fighter pound for pound in Muay Thai,that you have ever seen outside of Thailand?
Regards Sean Toomey ( Lumpini Thai )

Coban:'Thank you. The best Europeans I have fought are Ramon Dekker from Holland and Danny Bille from France, Pound for pound I would say Danny Bille.

Mr. Coban do you speak Lao or Thai more?
Where are you from in Thailand?

From Lamiyah3@aol.com

Coban: I speak Lao more. I am from Buriram, in northeastern Thailand close to Laos."

Do you like America?
From Lamiyah3@aol.com

Coban: Life in America was very difficult at first. America is very different to Thailand. I was a fighter all my life. So living in America by myself was hard. But I had many great friends, who were like brothers, who helped me: Kru Sirapuk, Pongsan, Ant, Bunkerd and many others. Now, life is good. America has many opportunities and many good people too. I am so very lucky (smiling).

I have seen you fight many times on video especially the classic encounters against Ramon Dekker is he your hardest opponent?
Kieran Keddle, London

Coban: No. Tantawan was my hardest opponent. He is so tall and he is my friend so he knew my strategies! (Laugh) We fought four times, and I never beat him! (Laugh)

My name is Cody Gayne , where i live i cannot train in muay thai. But I am going to start training at San Francisco at Fairtex muay thai gym . I have always wanted to train in muay thai though It is like the best to me. One of my questions is how long have you trained in muay thai and how good has it been for you?
Cody Gayne, San Francisco, USA

Coban: Fairtex is a great camp. They have many great trainers and champions. I trained since a young boy with my father. Officially, i started training at 11 years old. Muay thai gave me work, food, housing and some money for my family. I was lucky to fight at Lumpinee and Rajadamnern and all over the world. It gave me opportunity to fight great fighters. Now i can pass muay thai to my students. But life of a fighter is hard, not easy at all.

Another is When did you start training? What were you thinking when you became muay thai champ?
Cody Gayne, San Francisco, USA

Coban: Since 11 years old. I was happy because I could send money to my family. But I was sad too because at that time my grandfather passed away.

Mr.Coban: in one of your fights with Ramon, you got KOd. A friend of mine told me that was fake -- is it true ?
With wishes for good luck in your trainer's carrier and success and harmony in your personal life.

Sincerely George Prevalsky (I run a boxing and muay thai club in Dallas, Texas, and have trained with many trainers including Mr. Janjira) !" boxing_muaythai@hotmail.com

Coban: Thank you.No. He really did KO me. He landed good combinations. I couldn't get my balance so the referee stopped the fight. It's hot in Texas and many cowboys! Coban means cowboy! (Smile).

Hello mister Coban,

I'm a great muay thai fan, I'm following the sport in Thailand also. I saw your fight against Ramon Dekker, how many times did you fight him? And who was the winner?
I admire your style, it's hard and efficient.
Greetings from Athai

I fought him three times. The first one I knocked him out. The second, he knocked me out. The third, I knocked him out. There was a fourth fight, but that was not a real fight for me because the promoters set me up. I wasn't supposed to fight Ramon Dekker, I was supposed to fight someone else. When i got to the ring, I saw Ramon Dekker. I was mad, so I didn't care about the fight, I "gave" him the fight.

I am due to be in Thailand at the end of May, and I would like to know where I would need to go to train with you. "

I am in New York now at 159 w 25th street. I'm sorry i cannot meet you in Thailand. I plan to go there next year. Have fun in Thailand!

My name is Rob Youl I have been teaching Muay Thai in Tasmania, Australia for the past ten years after training in England and Thailand. Just a question to you Coban What do you think were your most effective techniques that enabled you too win most of your fights. ie .timing, southpaw stance, counterfighting etc?

Hello, rob, sawadee khup! Don't know...I think it's be relaxed and not to worry about anything. For example, when I fight outside Thailand, I never cared about trouble with different food, time or being tired. I never care-I just fight. Techniques? I don't know, I just use everything, but I never liked clinching because i get tired. But many people think I have good punches.

Dear Coban,
I'm just e-mailing a question to help me progress in thai boxing. About 2 weeks ago I was supposed to be having my first fight in Chester. When I arrived and found out who my opponent was i started to get more nervous than I've ever been. I am 15 years old and about 64kg, my opponent was nearly 17 and 71kg, also he was built better than me. I was backing out at first and I don't now whether Neil Woods (my trainer) was to happy either, anyway he still wanted me to fight but I wasn't up to it. My question is how do you over come the extreme nervousness? I know it is natural to be nervous but is there anything you can do to help the feeling?
From Michael Carr, Chester, England

I see this with my students too. I always tell them, "don't worry, relax and just fight." Take this fighting spirit into your real life too so when you are in the ring, it's nothing special, no big deal. And the more you fight, the better and less scared you get. Don't worry. When you are in the ring, you're all by yourself. No one can help you. So, all you can do is fight. So fight! Don't back down. Like in life, no one is going to live your life. So, no one is going to fight your fight for you. Muaythai is not winning or being better than the other guy. It is learning to lose before winning and to give from your heart before receiving. In muaythai, you always win and lose. So, don't worry. (Smile)

Many thanks for the interview Dan.


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