Editorials

Ranking the Top 10 Asian Boxers of All Time

2. Sohla Saenghom
(Khaosai Galaxy)

Sura Saenkham aka Khaosai Galaxy

Years Active: 1980-1991

Professional record: 47-1, 41 KOs

Titles: WBA Super Flyweight champion 1984-1991

Born as Sohla Saenghom, he took the name Khaosai which came from a nightclub owned by his boxing manager. He was nicknamed the “Thai Tyson” because his fierce, explosive power reminded fans of a miniature version of Mike Tyson.

The Thai Tyson relied on toughness and his fearsome punching power to earn victories when he first began his boxing career. Galaxy was excellent at closing the distance on his opponent and firing his left hand–arguably the hardest single punch in the history of the lower weight classes and responsible for all his knockout wins.

Khaosai began to develop into a more refined boxer as he gained more experience, learning to throw deadly combinations to set-up his powerful left to the head and midsection of his opponents. He was thickly muscled and unbelievably strong. He used his strength to out-muscle opponents while using his surprisingly fleet feet to cut-off their movements.

Galaxy won all of his first six fights, quickly earning him a shot at the Thailand bantamweight title on July 29, 1981 against Sakda Saksuree.

He lost by decision. It was to be the only fight he would ever lose in the ring.

Khaosai rebounded to win his next three fights and claimed the Thai bantamweight title in 1982. After winning 15 consecutive fights by knockout, he became the No. 1 mandatory challenger to super flyweight WBA world champion, Jiro Watanabe’s title by the summer of 1984.

The WBA stripped Watanabe for failing to defend his title against Galaxy. The vacant championship pitted Khaosai against undefeated Eusebio Espinal on November 21, 1984. Galaxy knocked out Espinal in the sixth round to begin the longest title reign in bantamweight history.

Khaosai defended his WBA title 19 times over the next seven years, winning 16 of his title fights by knockout.

Galaxy defeated unbeaten and future WBA bantamweight titleholder Israel Contreras in Curacao. It was the only time he fought outside of Asia. He had two title fights in Japan, one in Korea and one in Indonesia. All of his other fights were in Thailand, where he often fought for purses in excess of $100,000 in front of massive crowds.

Moreover, few top American and European fighters in the lower weight divisions were willing to challenge Galaxy, which made him a virtual unknown in the West.

Galaxy fought for the last time on December 21, 1991 in Bangkok, scoring a 12-round decision over Armando Castro. He retired with an impressive record of 49 wins (including 43 wins in a row) against only one defeat and 41 of those wins by knockout.

Arguably the top super flyweight of all time, Galaxy holds noteworthy wins over Rafael Orono, Israel Contreras and Ellyas Pical. Voted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in June 1999, the Ring Magazine voted him the 19th biggest puncher of all-time, and the 43rd best fighter of modern time by in 2002.

Some boxing writers and historians will point out that Galaxy never fought Gilberto Roman, the long-time WBC bantamweight champion whose own lengthy title reign largely coincided with Khaosai’s.

He also only had four fights with other prior, current or future titlists in his career and seven of his title defenses came against fighters with less than 15 fights of experience and it was already noted that Galaxy fought just one time outside of Asia.

Most fans, however, recognize Galaxy as Thailand’s greatest boxer ever and widely considered one of the greatest, most dominant champions in boxing history.

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