When Sammon Dekkers enters the ring he holds his hands high.
“First I protect myself,” Sammon said. “I protect myself and I take away their weapons. I take away their weapons and then I attack.”
He probes his opponent with his lead left and then settles in to unleash punches like a turbine from hell. Punishing the body, Sammon comes forward like a whirlwind of destruction.
The Swedish knock out phenomenon is the prodigy of Golden Era champion Sangtiennoi Sor Runroj. ‘The Deadly Kisser’ Sangtiennoi nows runs a gym in Prathum Thani, north of Bangkok where Sammon has spent nearly the past three years. During which time he has acquired a Swedish championship belt at 66kgs, the WBC International belt at 66.8kg and took home a nice $10,000 (Aus) prize after a K1 8 Man Tournament with the help of Don Millar’s Supafight gym.
SAMMON DEKKERS WITH HIS TRAINER SANGTIENGNOI AFTER HIS KO VICTORY AT RANGSIT STADIUM.
It is Sammon’s characteristic style that has had him nicknamed after the legendary Ramon Dekkers. Sangtiennoi took on the Dutch boxer three times; besting him twice and losing once. After seeing Sammon fight, Sangtiennoi named him after his old opponent; nicknames in Thailand are a big deal and only bestowed on the most deserving.
The original Dutch Dekkers made waves in the world of Muay Thai in the 1990’s taking on some of Thailand’s best Muay Thai boxers. Dekkers had an impressive run scoring a high number of knock outs but faltered when the bouts went to decision.
Known to his friends and family as Samuel Bark, the Halmstad, Sweden native has been taking on tough talent that have gone to decision. After an impressive 8 fight win streak at Max Muay Thai (4 by way of knockout) Sammon has moved on to the stadium circuit. In many ways Sammon Dekkers is following the path of his namesake with its subsequent ups and downs. This was seen in his two most recent fights. The first for the WMPF belt against Pongsiri at 66 kgs.
“I thought he was going to come bang,” Sammon said. The two had fought before on Top King Promotions in China. The 3 round bout ended in a draw. “Pongisri Por Siripong played for points. He didn’t step back but he was careful all the time.”
The bout went the distance but ended with the belt strapped around Pongsiri.
Sammon then went on to face the very experienced Sensak Tor. Silachai in the Thai’s retirement bout at Phetchbuncha Stadium in Koh Samui in early January.
“I always come to knock my opponents out,” Sammon said. “I didn’t step back. I gassed. I went too hard. After the third he kept coming forward. He was smarter. Sensak saved himself and saved his shots for the later rounds.”
It was Sensak’s ring experience that helped him gain the points decision over Sammon. Sensak turned it up in the third and fourth round. He clinched Bark and drove in high scoring knees. With well over 200 fights Sensak was playing a points game, he was playing to win, not to fight.
Despite going down as one of the greatest foreigners to fight in Thailand, Ramon Dekkers was never able to fully embrace the Thai style of fighting where scoring is often dictated by the stadium gamblers. Sammon Dekkers though still has a chance.
“I think my style is easy for experienced Thais,” Sammon said with self knowledge. “They think ‘he just has punches. I’ll just cover for the punches.’ It’s good for me that they worry about my hands as it allows me to mix it up but I have to do that. It’s good to have that edge. I need to change my style though. I can’t just punch. Now my opponents know.”
The fight game is brutal and uncompromising. It requires fighters to constantly adjust and it never gets easier. Fighters like Sammon Dekkers not only have a legacy to live up to but a history that they must surpass if they want to press forward.
At 25 years old, he still has plenty of time to learn the rules of the points game. It is not often that foreigners survive in Thailand for more than few months. The difficulties of living in a foreign country, the regiment of training, and the hardships of fighting are too difficult for most. Sammon is thriving though.
Ultimately, only time will tell if Sammon has what it takes to become a legend in the sport of Muay Thai. There is no doubt however that he will be entering the ring again and again with his hands held high as he continues the daily grind towards achieving his goals.