Friday, March 24, 2023  |



Wisaksil Wangek: ‘It’s not just my title, it belongs to all the people in Thailand’

Photo / @HBOBoxing

When Wisaksil Wangek (A.K.A. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai) stepped into the ring at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, to face Roman Gonzalez in their rematch on September 9, he had a mission statement: Erase all doubt.

Six months earlier, Wangek had handed the then-RING Magazine No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter his first defeat by controversial majority decision. The victory transformed the Thai power-puncher into a national hero, but many critics felt he was undeserving.

So, in the rematch, Wangek wasn’t content to just knock on the door, he damn near kicked it in and announced himself to the world by knocking out the Nicaraguan legend in four brutal rounds.

Wangek (44-4-1, 40 knockouts) had toiled in anonymity for many years and worked very hard to make sure the second time was conclusive.

“I am very proud of myself and very thankful to everyone who was involved in this whole process,” Wangek told through his promoter Thainchai Pisitwuttinan.

“Since I started preparing for the second fight, I have been putting 100 percent in all the training. I had been looking to make it definitive. I wasn’t thinking of knocking ‘Chocolatito’ out with the right hook. It is something I have been training (for) and preparing in the gym. Everything just played out and it happened to land nicely.”

Life has been chaotic since Wangek, who is rated No. 2 by THE RING at 115 pounds, arrived back in Thailand.

“My life has changed,” he said. “I have been giving Interviews, meeting people non-stop. Lots of people in Thailand know me now. I am very grateful for that. I have been officially appointed as a police officer and I’m very proud of that.

“The first responsibility I had from my commander is to keep the WBC world title as long as possible and train hard for the next fight. That is my responsibility as a police officer as of now.”

Wangek stuns the boxing world with Gonzalez knockout. Photo by Tom Hogan

After the first Gonzalez win, Wangek had an audience with the Prime Minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha, and following the rematch, he visited with him again.

However, this time the two-time world titleholder was in for a surprise.

“I got punched by the Prime Minister,” laughed Wangek. “He was messing around. My head went back (laughs). I didn’t see it coming. Next time I have to be really careful.”

He also managed to have a good conversation with his beloved country’s head of state.

“The Prime Minister watched the fight and followed all the news,” Wangek said. “He knows all about my life: the name of my girlfriend and the plan for the wedding. The Prime Minister is following me very closely.

“He also told me to keep the title as long as possible. He said, ‘It’s not just my title, it belongs to the whole country, for all the people in Thailand’.”

Pisitwuttinan of Nakornloung Promotion is extremely pleased with not only how Wangek has advanced his career but also the upward trajectory his life has taken after such an ignominious beginning.

“I’m super proud and that’s what I work in boxing for,” said the young promoter. “That’s my motivation. My family have been in boxing for more than 30 years and that’s what we want to see. We want to give opportunities to people.

“What I found out after is that it’s not only him. We’re not only changing one life. After the first fight, I realized it’s for the whole country. His story inspired thousands, hopefully millions, of people in Thailand to fight for their life. Inspire the kids to work hard and have hope there will be a better future. That’s very meaningful and that’s the main motivation me and my family have.”

It is hoped Wangek could inspire youngsters to take up the sport and help create something of a boxing boom in Thailand.

The working plan appears to be for a second “Superfly” show in February.

“I think we are proceeding very well,” said Pisitwuttinan. “I am very optimistic on the ‘Superfly 2’ event. There are some details that I think Tom (Loeffler, K2 Promotions managing director) and Peter (Nelson, the Executive Vice President of HBO Sports) has to work out and I think they’re doing very well.”

Although Wangek is allowed to make a voluntary defense, it appears that the heavy-handed Thai will next face mandatory challenger Juan Francisco Estrada.

“I think that’s most likely, yes, but it’s not 100 percent,” stated Pisitwuttinan. “We hope HBO and K2 can keep this going. Personally, I think this is the perfect way to promote boxing, especially in the smaller weight classes where people are not used to paying so much attention. With the success of ‘Superfly’, keep on doing (parts) 2, 3 and 4, however long it is.”


Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright


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