Special report by Serge TREFEU (2010)



Chowachala Gym is a typical camp of Isaan (Northeast Region) as I like them, I discovered this camp really accidentally. Indeed, I went at first to a small camp which was in the city of Buriram. But in this camp there was nobody because all the boxers had just fought, they had thus all taken their rest days well deserved. The owners of the place, very charming people, say to me that there are no more so boxers who train in their camp. Their business does not work any more too much and they try to resell their camp…


Seeing that I was a little disappointed not to be able to realize my report, they suggest me taking in a camp to 30 km of Buriram in the countryside. "Over there, there are many boxers who train at present, we can drive you tomorrow no problem" the owner says to me. The kindness of Thai is sometimes surprising especially in countryside.



The next day after noon we leave on the roads of Isaan in the direction of the village of Keandom. In the middle of the route, the road which crosses a village is blocked, a procession celebrates a marriage. People dance cheerfully, some are dressed in costumes traditional, it is folk. But there are so many completely drunk persons who downright roll on the ground, the police tries more or less to manage this festive crowd. We have of to wait nearly half an hour before the road is completely clear, it is Isaan, "Mai pen rai" (it doesn’t matter, we wait)…



From our arrival to the camp Chowachala, people of the neighbourhood come to see "Farang" (foreign) which lands here. No foreign boxer came to train in this camp. I am the first foreigner to come to make a report on the camp and it is a small "event" for the village of Keandom…



Chowachala exists now for ten years, it was created by Rambo Watchala, the former champion of the Isaan who is the chief trainer. Rambo made approximately 70 fights, many in stadium of Lumpinee and Radja. Native of the village he has wanted to set up his camp there where he grew.



Gym has a very correct infrastructure for a small camp of countryside because he was able to be built thanks to Mr Kaj Hanssen's generous funds. Mr Kaj Hanssen is a Norwegian which is married with the aunt of Rambo Watchala, it is him who also sponsors the camp.



The surface of the camp is about 80m2 with a covered boxing ring, two punch bags and a big room which serves as dormitory for the boxers, it is simple but clean in spite of the numerous chickens which cross ceaselessly the camp.



The atmosphere is very family, almost all the children of the village attend the daily trainings, especially on Saturdays it is the show of the weekend…



Chowachala Gym counts about fifteen boxers permanently for the most part of the children. The more young have 5-year-old and the more old have 20-year-old. But the majority of them have between 8 and 10 years.



Days are hard for these kids because besides their schooling, they make every day a rigorous training. The morning, before their departure at the school, they are 14 km of jogging. Then 8 nakmuays only stay for the morning training, the rest goes to the school and come back for training at 4:30 am. The lesson of him after noon in period of preparation of fight is sometimes testing, the competitors having run 6 km then they make in paos 8 rounds of 4 minutes, then 5 rounds in punch bags and end with 30 minutes clinch!



Besides the main trainer, Rambo, they are supervised by two other trainers. Here the speciality of the camp they are the pokes, Rambo makes a lot this redoubtable technique work to his small warriors. And although very young, these boxers have all each around thirty fights in legs. They are already hardened sportsmen, have sees him in the eyes, they have "hunger".



Among the most experimented there is Kittichai (Isaan Champion, 80 fights), Nongbia (Isaan Champion, 50 fights) and one of most hardly of the camp Samrong which began in 5 years, today in hardly 9 years he has already made 100 fights!



"Nakmuays often fights in the region, there is many, many boxing match organized near Buriram" entrust me the master of places.



It is these small camps of province lost in the depths of the countryside which certain managers of Bangkok sometimes come to visit. They hope to detect the rare pearl, an exceptional fighter who will bring back them a lot of money. Chowachala has maybe this rare pearl in his camp, who knows…




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Lumpinee Stadium