Youssef Boughanem, the young Belgium Muay Thai prodigy and one of the best foreigners in -70kg category.
Muay Thai Youssef Boughanem Interview, MAX Muay Thai Champion. In this interview Youssef talks about Muay Thai Boxing, training and his life in Thailand.
1/ Hello Youssef, first of all, thank you very much for this interview. How are you?
- You are welcome! I am fine, thank you.
2/ Can you in short, introduce yourself?
- My name is Youssef Boughanem, I am 25 years-old and I come from Belgium. I have been practicing Muay Thai Boxing for over 14 years. Presently I fight in Muay Thai Middleweight division, from 154lbs to 160lbs.
- My personal record is 156 fights with 128 victories – including 60 KOs – 4 draws and 24 defeats.
- I was 154lbs World Champion in 2010 in China and the Champion of the 160 lbs Max Muay Thai Tournament in 2014.
- I had a Training Muay Thai Camp in Pattaya and I joined the Venum Boxing Team end of 2014.
3/ How do you describe your Muay Thai fighting style?
- Well, I appreciate the hand-to-hand combat, when tension is at its maximum: I like when my opponent sees it is going to be harsh and he is going to suffer, spending the worst minutes of his life! (Laughing)
- I am a Muay-Kao and I enjoy Muay Pam clinches especially when the crowd shouts at each of my knee strikes.
4/ You started Boxing very young in Europe and you have chosen to go to Thailand also very young. What did motivate you at that age?
- Yes, I started Muay Thai Boxing in Europe at 12, and then I went to Thailand at 17. I chose this way because it is one the toughest way in the World: I wanted to test myself and learn what I was able to do. Again today, I am always looking to compete myself: I am a competitor and a challenge leads to another. This is how you progress and get better.
5/ Looking back, with these two (European and Thai) ways of training and fighting, how do you compare these two “Boxing Schools”?
- I will say that the mix of the two will be a kind of perfection. For me, they are the most famous schools in the world, mentally and physically, just the best in the world. I am very proud to have learned and got trained in both countries, it made me more complete.
6/ Could you describe us the day-to-day life of a foreigner Muay Thai boxer in Thailand?
- In Thailand, the training is practically the same between a Farang and a Thai boxer, if they are at the same level. Personally, I never expected a special treatment, you always have to give your best … and more!
- However, in Thailand, you can find several ways of training. There are modern camps that use “western” methods with, for example, power training, cross fit … and other ones more traditional with lots of exercise repetitions, bag works, sparring and hand-to-hand, in order to be in the same technical conditions as in a fight.
- Even if it has always been hard for a foreigner to succeed in Thailand, now it is easier to get a chance to prove your talent. Everything is possible if you are good enough, even fighting in the most famous tournaments. As often, it is not enough to claim, you have to earn it!
7/ What are your best moments, and the lessons you learned?
- Best moments? Every time I step into the ring. When either winning or losing, you always learn. All these experiences helped me to go beyond myself, fight after fight.
8/ Soon you will fight in a Venum Boxing Tournament, could you tell us more about it?
- This Master of the Ring Edition will take place in Thailand at the Pattaya Boxing World Stadium on March, 7th.
- The Master of the Ring is a huge event bringing together some of the best Muay Thai Champions and new talents. A great mix between experience and ambition in the same night: the show will be great and the fights promising. During this Tournament I will face Prakaiseng Sit Or for a World Muay Thai Belt. I look forward to fighting against him, he is a very strong boxer and it is a kind of revenge for me!
9/ As we mentioned before, you joined the Venum Muay Thai Team – How does it feel?
- I am very pleased. Venum is a world-reference in combat sports, especially in MMA. Now they play a key role in Muay Thai, coming often in Thailand and partnering to Muay Thai practionners.
- What´s more, I appreciate a lot the products, especially the Nappa Leather Venum Boxing Gloves. Here in Thailand, we have already tested thousands of gloves and I have to say that I get a unique feeling every time I fight and train with them. Perfect shape, great protection and they are doing much better than simply resisting.
- I also like the Venum shin guards. You know, I do lots of kick strikes and the Venum shin guards are reaaly light and fit perfectly on my leg, without moving. I train tirelessly and I always feel protected from the top of my shin to my foot. Having a light, fitted and high-protective gear is very valuable in Muay Thai.
10/ Thank you very much Youssef for your time and we wish you a good fight at The Master of the Ring Tournament, we hope to see you there with the World Muay Thai Belt at the end.
- Thanks to you! And I hope to see you and take a picture of me with my belt!
Youssef Boughanem imposed himself at the Master of the Ring Tournament.
Facing the Thai Boxer Chengrob, Youssef dominated the debates. Always leading the fight, with masterful counterattacks, Youssef showed outstanding elbows and knee strikes!
At the end, Youssef Boughanem was declared the Winner and has become Venum World Champion in the -72kg Division.