City officials, led by Mr. Jirawat Pramani, Permanent Secretary of the Municipality and Siraphan Kamolpramote, President of the Hua Hin Sports Development Association have taken part in the annual ceremony to commemorate Pone Kingpetch, at the park named in his honour and the location of his statue.
Pone Kingpetch or Mana Seedokbuab, nicknamed “Klae”, was a native of Hua Hin, born on February 12, 1935. He had trained as a young child at a small boxing camp in Hua Hin. After being recognised as a gifted boxer, went to Bangkok to improve his skills and gain experience. He was able to win the Thai flyweight championship and beat a Filipino boxer in a flyweight championship of the Far East Boxing Association.
He went on to become Thailand’s first boxer to win a world title belt on April 16th 1960 when he defeated Argentinian legend Pascual Perez at Lumpini Stadium in Bangkok in front of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Her Majesty Queen Sirikit.
He later lost the title to Fighting Harada of Japan on October 10th, 1962. Pone Kingpetch regained the world championship after defeating Harada on January 12th, 1963 before losing it to Hiroyuki Ebihara. He won the title for the last time when he defeated Ebihara on January 23rd, 1964 and retired in 1966 after losing the flyweight championship to Salvatore Burruni.
The Sports Reporters Association of Thailand determined that on 16th April each year is the “The Best Athlete Day” to give out awards to Thai athletes who make significant contributions to sport in Thailand.
Although the annual ceremony was delayed this year due to coronavirus concerns, Pone Kingpetch is always remembered as one of the best boxers Thailand has ever produced. He died in 1982 at the age of 47, but his memory has not been forgotten.
Local people still place garlands of flowers at the statue which is located on Thanon Damnoern Kasem, the road that leads from Hua Hin train station to the beach. Heading from the train station, the statue is on the right-hand side opposite the fire station.