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Muay Thai in the flesh: A portrait of Samy Sana

Venum Muay Thai Team's Samy Sana
Venum Muay Thai Team’s Samy Sana

Original Interview by Simon Rendon

At twenty-six years of age, Samy Sana already has devoted half his life to Muay Thai. The newly Venum-sponsored athlete showed an amazing display of heart and skills during the last Best of Siam. This is an opportunity to revisit the genesis of one of the best nakmuays in the world in the welterweight division. Samy is back on his route, talks about his daily life, of its deadlines and projects for the future.

Samy began Muay Thai at the age of thirteen, “It allowed me to organize my life, to comply with rules and discipline, I always had sports in my core, and boxing has allowed me to stay on the right path.” He started at the bottom of the scale, as an amateur, and he rose through the ranks until reaching the status of a professional. But it is only for the last two or three years that Samy’s career has truly taken off.

“To make an international career, this is the realization of a dream, the reward for all the work done.”

Samy’s impressive fight record is 106 fights with 99 wins, a record impressive for a Westerner of less than thirty years. He is a world champion, a four times champion of France, finalist of Glory and Thai Fight tournament semifinalist. “I boxed the best Thais in larger organizations, in the categories of seventy, seventy-two kilos, I have no worries about finding Thai opponents, and the best that is. It is a highly publicized category, because they are the best in the world.”

If fighting proposals abound today, it is not because of chance. Samy has perfectly understood that Muay Thai is before all, a show. He likes to play in the ring with his opponents, like his Thai counterparts. In each of his fights, he has given 150 %. To win of course, because he is a formidable competitor, but also and above all to give pleasure to the public.

“The goal in each battle is to be more precise and hit as hard as possible. I’m not  a point fighter, when I hit, I will always go for the knockout because that’s what the fans want to see… action! I try to have the cleanest possible style while being powerful.”

Samy testifies always great respect to his opponents, but in the ring it’s war. He is a bulldozer ready to ravage everything in its path. His style is a mixed of a Muay Bouk (a nakmuay who keeps moving forward) and a Muay Mat (a fighter who uses punches a lot).

Samy Sana
Work at the bag for Samy during his last stay in Thailand, with his friend Youssef Boukamen

Samy Sana is a boxer with a very aggressive style who hits hard, especially with the torpedo that is his right arm. It delivers very powerful and devastating blows. Samy also likes using elbows and knees Muay Thai style. Particularly spectacular, these techniques correspond to his main motivation, to maintain the show and give pleasure to the public.

“What many people don’t understand is that a Thai boxing gala is a show. Spectators come to get an eyeful. This is something that boxers should keep in mind. Offer the finest performance possible, because what feeds it are the public, the fans. It is so normal to them what they offer us, it is essential for me!”

He has got a great chin and is a tough fighter who doesn’t mind to trade punches with his opponents. He has never been KOed. “Sometimes we bleed, but we are all professionals, we are prepared, conditioned for it.”

With his 1m90 height, Samy has the perfect slender physique for the practice of Muay Thai. His extension is an advantage over most of his opponents. However his gravity center has sometimes played against him in clinching, especially against Thai opponents who are experts in that technique.

The daily life of Samy is punctuated by meals and workouts. Six days a week he trains twice a day. The morning session is reserved for the substantive work: cardiovascular endurance, general physical preparation. “The morning might be jogging followed by a crossfit training session. This can be a walk in the woods with obstacles like parcour, poly-articulaires exercises, the goal is to get out of the context of boxing a bit, break the rhythm.” This allows him to break with the habits and not sink into monotony, “It is important for the mind, to maintain motivation.”

The meeting of the evening is reserved for pure practice: technique, strategy, and sparring. In total that’s about six hours of effort, daily.

With regard to food, “I’m very careful, I follow Estelle Payen, a nutritionist, because food is an essential component of the performance.”

Muay Thai as all sports at a high level requires regular and balanced nutritional intakes, and some sacrifices. “I have pleasure in the morning with jam or nutella, but I pay attention to salt and fat intake.”

Paradoxically, the first trip to Thailand for Samy was relatively recent. He had already faced and defeated many opponents who train regularly in Thailand, even though he had never set foot there. “I finally got the opportunity to fight in Thai Fight in Thailand. It was the perfect opportunity to discover with my own eyes the culture, the country of origin of my passion. What has been beneficial for me there, is that it really imbues the individuality of Muay Thai in the facial expressions, in style, in all the little details.”

To train in Thailand is to devote himself entirely to the practice, away from the stress and social distractions of his own country. This is diving into a culture. “All day revolves around training, the atmosphere is stifling and the temperature is high. It is perfect for the cutting and cardio.”

Samy Sana
Samy uses “Elite” gloves and his shorts are “Bangkok Inferno”, release in September

Combat abroad allows Samy to realize his full potential, “Muay Thai is practiced without pads, aside from the Joe Prestia federation the AFMT where high-level fights are without protection, this is not the case. In France, it’s complicated unlike our European neighbours such as Belgium or the Netherlands. Yet Muay Thai is a sport that carries values, it requires great discipline and it is framed by rules, this is not cockfighting. We are well prepared professionals, serious injuries are still rare.”

The future smiles to Samy; he is in high demand. He and his team choose carefully among the proposals he receives. “Our decisions reflect our research on the fights that people want to see, and what is televised”.

Samy ensures that he is ready to meet all the challenges, “I want to be the best boxer, I dream of fighting again against Yodsanklai Fairtex. My fight against him took place during my second stay in Thailand, I knew I was functioning badly there, I wasn’t in my home. I did three rounds of war, but I lost by decision. I dream of a rematch with the experience and the confidence I have now.” And then there was Buakaw he was to have faced, but on two occasions, at the last moment, this could not be done. Samy hopes that the third time will be the charm, and he eagerly awaits it.

Samy expects to fight in September in Las Vegas, and then in November at the Gala de Joe Prestia (Warrior’s Night), but it is very difficult to find him an opponent in France. Then there is also Kunlun Fight for him, a big Chinese organization where the best in the world compete.

This will be a busy year for Samy Sana. With his entourage, and his coaches from Phoenix Muay Thai in Paris, Samy can also count on the support of the Venum Team. “I can feel the support. There are people listening to us, helping us, communicating for us, it motivates me even more. And we are a very good team. We all get on well really well, there is a real team spirit. We all have different physiques, from different cultures, it is rich and varied, it is very exciting.”

Samy Sana has joined Anissa Meksen, Youssef Boukamen, Raphael Llodra, Medhi Zatou, Sitichai and Sudsakorn to form the Team Venum Muay Thai, an explosive melting pot of talent to follow closely!

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