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Get to know Series Episode 7: Lerdsila Chumpairtour

Muay Thai fighter Lerdsila Chumpairtour Interview cover image

One of the most internationally recognized Muay Thai stars of our era, Lerdsila Chumpairtour has dedicated over three decades of his life to the sport. Known as “The Eel on a Skateboard” for his highly evasive fighting style and unorthodox attacking ability, he’s a three-time Rajadamnern Stadium champion across three different weight classes, with countless title defenses.

After dominating in Thailand, he broke onto the international scene, securing an additional five world titles. His playful yet strategic in-ring demeanor mirrors his vibrant personality. Electrifying to say the least, Bangtao is honored to have him as part of our teaching staff.

It would be assumed that Lerdsila’s path to greatness was a conscious choice. However, the path of Thailand’s Muay Thai elite is a laborious one with no guarantees. You can say that about anything in life, but very few jobs require one to put their body on the line day in and day out. When the moment to work finally arrives after weeks, if not months, of sacrifice, you must put it all on the line in front of thousands, while fervent gamblers take their shot at beating the odds.

A young Lerdsila at the start of his journey to becoming a World Champion Muay Thai Fighter
A young Lerdsila at the start of his journey to becoming a World Champion Muay Thai Fighter

To some, it might come as no surprise that Lerdsila never wanted to be a fighter. But with a lengthy resume like his, others may be very shocked to hear this. The truth is that as a young boy Lerdsila had his heart set on being a teacher.

Lerdsila credits Ajarn Boonlerd, his second Muay Thai instructor, for laying his foundation for greatness and teaching him his famous lean-back defense. Lerdsila fondly refers to him as ‘Dad’ and explains that it was Ajarn Boonlerd who planted the seed for Lerdsila to become a teacher.

“Ajarn Boonlerd was a teacher at the local school, so I wanted to be a teacher just like him.”

However, fate had other plans for Lerdsila.

His childhood in Isaan was marked by poverty, with his family living a hand-to-mouth existence. Days would pass without spending any money as they would rely on foraging for food and the rice they farmed. As can be expected, he was very small in stature and got bullied for it. That’s when his dad got an idea.

“My dad started teaching me Muay Thai because he didn’t want me to get bullied anymore. He only had one fight; he won and never fought again.”

After a while, Lerdsila’s dad felt it was time to put his training to the test. His mom did not agree as she didn’t want her son getting hurt, but in the end, Lerdsila booked himself a fight.

“My first fight was against my friend. He was one of the people bullying me at school. So my dad had me fight him. He had 10 fights and I had none, but I won by KO.”

He was paid 100 baht for his efforts. As he recalls, “Back then, that was so much money. You could do a lot with it. I spent 10 baht on a toy at the temple fair and saved the rest.”

Lerdsila in the newspaper after winning a Muay Thai belt on the local circuit
Lerdsila in the newspaper after winning a Muay Thai belt on the local circuit

Lerdsila had a few fights with his dad before he was sent to train at Ajarn Boonlerd’s gym. It was a modest village-run gym with only a few fighters. But it was a massive upgrade from the one-on-one training he was receiving from his dad and was only a few kilometers from home. Ajarn Boonlerd’s teachings had a profound effect on Lerdsila. He taught him movement, footwork, how to be evasive – but most of all, he taught him about life.

“He taught me to be humble.”

Lerdsila stayed with him for over 100 fights, but with talent like his, it soon became apparent that he had outgrown the village gym. He was then sent to the well-established Chumpairtour Gym in the neighboring province of Khon Kaen. He won the highly prestigious Isaan title three times before he was scouted by Jocky Gym in Bangkok. Back then, Chumpairtour Gym, together with Kaennorsing, were part of a network of gyms that would scout fighters for Jocky Gym. Somrak Kamsing and Saenchai Sor. Kingstar were both scouted via this same network. So, at just 15 years old, Lerdsila left Isaan on a one-way ticket to Bangkok.

“It was only then that I realized this was what I was going to do with my life. There were role models there who showed me what was possible. By that time, I had made a name for myself. I was a rising star and hadn’t lost a fight in ages. I was making a lot of money for myself and my family; that’s when I knew I could make a living fighting.”

It’s crazy to think that at just 15 years old, Lerdsila was working full-time and had already established a successful career for himself. However, fighting at the highest level of the sport was also very taxing on him. At Lumpini and Rajadamnern Stadium alone, he fought (and made weight) a total of 280 times.

Lerdsila as a teenager already had hundreds of Muay Thai fights under his belt
Lerdsila as a teenager already had hundreds of Muay Thai fights under his belt

Fighting isn’t seasonal like other sports; you must compete all year long. The more successful you are, the more you fight – that’s how it goes in Thailand. He missed home, and he missed his parents.

“I thought about quitting a lot; I was exhausted. But I figured working was more exhausting and I had a talent. I didn’t want it to go to waste.”

His motivation to succeed was deeply rooted in the love he had for his mom and dad. Even to this day, Lerdsila lights up when he talks about them.

“I had to persevere. I am an only child in a poor family. There was a lot of pressure on me,

I had to do it. I was the only one there to take care of my parents. I care a lot about my parents.”

His unwillingness to retreat came from something deeper than fame and fortune and his reason was simple: to provide for his family. From once foraging for food, Lerdsila’s parents now live a comfortable life thanks to their only son and the sacrifices he made.

Muay Thai legend Lerdsila with some other legends of the sport
Muay Thai phenom Lerdsila surrounded by more legends. What a line-up!

“I bought land for my parents, built them a house, even got them a few vehicles. They have everything now. I’m really proud of that. Everything I did for them all came from Muay Thai.”

With Muay Thai’s global rise in popularity and the advent of platforms like YouTube and social media where fight fans share videos, Lerdsila’s career extended far beyond Thailand. He’s traveled the world (a few times), fighting and teaching. Now, at 42 years old, he has found a new home at Bangtao.

“They’ve got a really good team here. I love it here. I have a lot of freedom here, and they treat me great. I feel good here.”

Lerdsila holding pads for UFC GOAT GSP during a training seminar at Bangtao Muay Thai & MMA
Lerdsila holding pads for UFC GOAT GSP during a training seminar at Bangtao Muay Thai & MMA

Staying humble, a lesson instilled in him during his early years in the village, has guided Lerdsila through numerous world titles. Despite his personal achievements, he is still amazed by the rise and expansion of Muay Thai. From training in the dirt with his dad to becoming part of the dynamic team at Bangtao, Lerdsila always meets others with a smile.

“What they are doing at Bangtao with Muay Thai is incredible, it makes me really happy to see. I’m proud to be here.”

Lerdsila is available for private Muay Thai sessions at Bangtao Muay Thai & MMA. Book Now and train with the legend himself; please email to check availability and for bookings.