Verona, New York City, USA – June 5, 2023: Mr. Siraphan Kamolpramote, President of the Hua Hin Sports Development Association and Adviser to the Mayor of Hua Hin, Prachuap Province, revealed today that the iconic Thai boxer, Pone Kingpetch, will be posthumously honored and inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame (IBHOF) in New York City. The induction ceremony, known as the Canastota International Boxing Hall of Fame Induction Weekend ’23, is scheduled to take place from June 8 to 11 at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino.
“Pone Kingpetch,” the revered Thai world champion, will join the elite group of boxing legends commemorated in the prestigious IBHOF. The Boxing Council of Asia (WBC Asia) has bestowed this honor upon Pone, recognizing his immense contributions to the sport. In the category of Old Timers, Pone Kingpetch, the first Thai world champion who sadly passed away, will enter the Hall of Fame alongside Khaosai Galaxy, another legendary former world champion who was previously inducted in the Modern category.
Speaking about this momentous occasion, Mr. Kamolpramote stated, “The Hua Hin Sports Development Association is contemplating organizing a grand celebration to mark Pone Kingpetch’s induction into the Hall of Fame. This event will surpass the annual Pon Kingpetch Day held every April 16. We aim to honor Thailand’s outstanding sporting reputation and showcase the esteemed heritage of Hua Hin. To achieve this, we will collaborate with the Hua Hin municipality, various agencies, and seek advice from Mr. Suwat Liptapanlop, former Deputy Prime Minister, regarding the event format.”
While the event’s location is yet to be finalized, Pone Kingpetch Park remains a possibility. Alternatively, the spacious area of Blue Port Hua Hin Shopping Center is being considered to accommodate the anticipated influx of thousands of tourists. The celebration is tentatively scheduled to take place in July.
Born in 1935, Pone developed a profound love for sports, particularly boxing, from a young age. He was eventually taken under the wing of Mr. Thongthos Intrathat, the owner of the renowned “King Phet” boxing camp on Phetchaburi Road. Pone’s skills continued to improve, and despite his relative inexperience, he successfully knocked out Kunoi Withichai, the flyweight champion of the Rajadamnern Arena. Subsequently, he entered the Far East Championship (OPBF), defeating Danny Kid, the former Filipino champion, and gradually ascending the world rankings, laying the foundation for his future world championship.
On April 16, 1960, in front of Their Majesties King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit of Thailand, Pone Kingpetch stepped into the ring against Pascal Perez, the Argentine flyweight world champion. With a stunning victory, Pone etched his name in history as the first Thai flyweight world champion. However, struggles with alcohol addiction and a decline in training affected his performance, leading him to retire from boxing in 1966 at the age of 31. Sadly, Pone faced financial challenges, depleting the wealth he had accumulated from his boxing career. Compounded by a lost trading career and the development of diabetes, his health deteriorated. At the young age of 47, on May 31, 1982, Pone Kingpetch passed away due to lung disease and complications.
In remembrance of his remarkable legacy, the Hua Hin Municipality, along with government agencies and private sectors, funded the construction of the Pone Kingpetch Memorial Statue. This statue, standing at 2.20 meters tall, portrays Pone with a raised right fist and his left hand gripping the world championship belt. It was crafted by Mr. Nonthiwat Chandhanaphalin, a National Artist in the field of Visual Arts (Sculpture) in 2006. The statue stands proudly at Hua Hin Beach and was unveiled during the inaugural Pone Kingpetch Memorial Day on April 16, 2006. In 1992, the Pone Kingpetch monument was relocated to the front of Pone Kingpetch Park, providing an opportunity for tourists to admire the historical tribute.
Moreover, in honor of Pone’s sporting excellence, the Sports Journalists Association of Thailand has designated April 16 as the “Best Sportsman’s Day.” Each year, on this special occasion, the association awards the royal trophy to outstanding athletes who have made significant contributions to their respective fields.
As the date draws near for Pone Kingpetch’s induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, anticipation continues to mount, promising a moment of great pride and admiration for Thailand’s beloved champion.