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Thanit Watthanaya, or Boom comes from a humble beginning. Born into a family of rice famers in Thailand’s northeast region, he was taught not to dream but to survive. But Boom chose to dream big. There were little to no opportunities for him in his village, so at the age of 19 he moved to Bangkok where he got a job installing windows. His boss Gai was also the owner of Bor. Breechaa Muay Thai gym which saw it’s roots in the famous Sor. Thanikul gym. Gai saw the potential in Boom and encouraged him to start fighting. Boom had always wanted to be a fighter, but lack of opportunity in his village held him back. From the first day Boom started training, he became a role model for the kids; it was also here that Boom met is future wife, a Canadian— Frances.
Boom and I met nearly 10 years ago at Bor. Breechaa Gym. He invited me to go visit his village and I was really surprised at how underdeveloped it was compared to the rest of Thailand. There is nothing much to do there; our time was spent farming rice, fishing, and the just sitting around relaxing. Alcoholism is a really big problem here, and is most likely to do the lack of meaningful employment. This was a time before smartphones became main stream and there was no internet out there; something most people could not live without nowadays.
Boom’s village has not changed much over the last 10 years. Still lacking paved roads, villagers burn their garbage and drink rain water; the only development has been a football and takraw pitch.
In 2008 Boom moved to Canada with Frances as she wanted to start her degree. When Boom first moved to Canada he couldn’t speak any English, nor had he ever left Thailand. It was a big adjustment for him, but he did really well and gained a lot of skills through various jobs he held. He was also able to continue training and fighting, and started to coach Muay Thai as well. He fought in Canada and the USA against some big names like Rami Ibrahim, Andy Howson, Romie Adanza.
In 2014 after Frances graduated from university, Boom and his family decided to move back to Thailand to take care of his dad. Since coming back, Boom has taught in Malaysia, built a Muay Thai Gym, developed fighters, and cornered fighters throughout Thailand and abroad. While he was teaching in Malaysia he starred in a Red Bull commercial, check it out below:
His main focus now is to both develop fighters and give back to the local community. Unlike most gyms in Thailand, Wor. Watthana doesn’t cater to just fighters, instead it encourages locals to come and exercise and hang out. It’s safe space, and one of the only drug and alcohol free zones in the village other than the temple. What is more, is it gives the locals something they can be proud of.
Wor. Watthana was founded in late 2014, you can read more about it here in Wor. Watthana Muay Thai Gym: Changing things in Isaan. Since the gyms foundation, Boom has had to work in Malaysia to support his family with a monthly trip home to see his family and the gyms progress. This was a hard task but had to be done as there was no other way to support his family and the gym.
In 2015 Frances and Boom were offered a unique job with Booster Fight Gear which allowed them to earn enough to have Boom come back full time. This was Boom’s purpose, to not only be the head trainer at the gym, but to be the role model these kids so desperately need.
Boom is in his element working as a trainer, especially now he is working at his own gym.
As a trainer Boom has a unique style, he flows with you as a fighter but picks up on the things you need to improve on. He’ll work it into the pad session, sometimes he really focusing on that one thing, and other times just putting that little bit of advice in now and again while letting you do your own thing.
I enjoy doing pads with Boom as it doesn’t take long to get comfortable with him. Sometimes with other trainers it can take a few sessions to get that flow, with Boom it’s almost instant. When I was fighting I was lucky to have Boom corner some of my fights; he knew exactly what to say specific to my style. He never makes his fighters change, but instead brings out the best in them.
I still can’t believe what Boom and Frances achieved in such a short period of time! It’s really inspiring, but at the same time, I don’t think I could overcome the same obstacles that they have had to, to do this.
Wor. Watthana gym is 100% donor funded. It’s really amazing to see so many people from around the world reach out and help. What they rely on most is their monthly donors, if you are interested in becoming a monthly donor please follow this link. I can say from personal experience that this gym is really making a difference in the lives of these kids. They are so excited to be at the gym, and have a genuine connection with both Boom and Frances who are there for the kids 7 days a week. Donations go towards doctors visits, school supplies, and making sure the kids get proper nutritions. Bpaet is one of the gyms top prospects. This kid had absolutely nothing, and the gym has dramatically changed his life for the better. Prior to Muay Thai, Bpaet was destined for a life of factory work, now he can work abroad as a Muay Thai trainer. The gym keeps him focused, and gives him something to dream about.
This is a short snippet of Bpaet but will give you a better understanding of the life of one of these kids – Against The Odds: Bpaet Becomes A Muay Thai Fighter
I hope you enjoyed this post and if you would like to donate to the gym please visit their website, becoming a monthly donor for as little as a $5/month it’s much to us, but will make a whole world of difference to these kids.
Website – WorWatthana.com
Facebook – Facebook.com/WorWatthana
Instagram – Instagram.com/Watthanaya
Donate To The Gym – WorWatthana.com/Donors
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