Payao Poontarat

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Payao Poontarat
Medal record
Men's Boxing
Representing  Thailand
Olympic Games
Bronze medal – third place 1976 Montreal Light Flyweight

Payao Poontarat (Thai: พเยาว์ พูนธรัตน์) (October 18, 1957 – August 13, 2006) was a Thai boxer who, at the age of 18, won the bronze medal in the men's Light flyweight (-48 kg) category at the 1976 Summer Olympics. He was the first Thai to win an Olympic medal.

Olympic results[edit]

Boxing career[edit]

Born in the village of Bang Sapan, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Phayao Poontarat came from a poor family. As a child, he sold flowers in the resort city of Pattaya to help support his younger siblings. Like many poor boys in Thailand, he took up Muay Thai, and he proved to be a gifted boxer. He switched to international boxing and won a place on the Thai Olympic team in 1976.[1] Though he finished with a bronze medal, Phayao gained attention by defeating the 1972 Olympic gold medal winner, Gyogy Gedo, in the quarter finals. He trained hard for the 1980 Moscow Olympics, but his hopes for a gold were ended by the United States led boycott over of the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan. Instead, he turned professional and on November 27, 1983 became WBC superflyweight world champion by defeating Rafael Orono of Venezuela in a split decision. In his first title defence, against Guty Espadas of Mexico, Phayao was behind on all the score cards, but saved his championship belt with a 10th-round knockout. Phayao was then challenged by Japan's Jiro Watanabe and agreed to meet him. When they met in Osaka on July 5, 1984 Phayao lost by a controversial 12-round decision. The World Boxing Council viewed the tape and ordered a rematch. It took place in November, with Phayao losing by a technical knockout in the 11th round.[2]

Political career[edit]

Giving up boxing, Phayao Poontarat became a Thai policeman with the rank of captain. He joined the Democratic Party and in 2001 was elected as member of parliament for his home-province. A year later, he began to suffer from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. The disease is uncurable, and in 2006 Phayao died at the age of 48 at Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok. He was survived by his wife and several children[3]


  1. ^ Bangkok Post, July 8, 2008
  2. ^
  3. ^ Obituary in The Nation

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Rafael Orono
WBC Super Flyweight Champion
27 Nov 1983–5 Jul 1984
Succeeded by
Jiro Watanabe