Growing up in the 1980s South Bronx, the only way I could follow boxing from Asia was to read the great boxing publications Ring Magazine, World Boxing and KO Boxing. Of all the aforementioned magazines, Ring Magazine easily had the best Asian coverage due to one man and one man alone; Boxing Hall of Fame writer Joe Koizumi. It was Koizumi’s detailed write-ups of great fighters like Jeff Fenech, Jung Koo Chang and Khaosai Galaxy that brought images of these fighters I couldn’t see to life.
Beginning in 1990, I began purchasing or trading videotapes for all three fighters. When the Galaxy tapes arrived from the post office, I immediately started playing them. The three tapes totaled six hours with 12 of his fights. Needless to say, I binge watched all six hours with my father.
What my father and I first noticed was that Galaxy, who stood 5’5 at 115 pounds, was not only stylistically similar to Alexis Arguello or Thomas Hearns in that everything he did was behind a battering ram of a jab, but that when he got you in trouble, he went after your body like a shark smelling blood. Galaxy is one of the five greatest body punchers I’ve ever seen in my life. His hooks and uppercuts to the body were as ferocious as Roberto Duran in his prime and Naoya Inoue is today. He was nicknamed the Thai Tyson, but the greatest fighter to ever hail from Thailand was nothing like the heavyweight icon. He was a much better boxer and ring technician.
Galaxy, after a short stint as a Muay Thai fighter, turned pro in 1980 at the age of 21. He’d lose his one and only fight in his seventh pro bout. He would then win 18 straight fights to earn the number one WBA super flyweight ranking. The WBA champion Jiro Watanabe decided to vacate the title instead of fighting Galaxy. On November 21, 1984, in front of his raucous Bangkok hometown, Galaxy destroyed Eusebio Espinal with decapitating body shots and knocked him out in the seventh round to begin one of the most dominating title reigns in boxing history. Needless to say, Watanabe didn’t attempt to unify the titles versus Galaxy.
Galaxy’s second title defense on July 21, 1985 was against the former Venezuelan WBC 115-pound champion Rafael Orono, also held in Bangkok. Galaxy’s maneuver of jabbing with his right hand, then sidestepping and countering with hooks to the body and head, kept Orono at bay throughout the first four rounds. Then, in round five, Galaxy put on a picturesque display of body and power punching, dropping the former champion three times before referee Ismael Fernandez stopped the fight. Orono took such a shellacking that he was never the same as he lost his next four fights before retiring in 1988.
On February 28, 1987, Galaxy made his fifth defense against the IBF 115-pound champion Elly Pical of Indonesia. This was the Thai legend at his absolute best as he continuously walked down the moving Pical for the first 13 rounds behind his jackhammer right jab and ferocious body and combination shots. By the beginning of the 14th round, the Indonesian’s face was severely cut and bruised including a right eye that looked like someone had stabbed it with a knife. Finally, referee Ken Morita called a halt to the slaughter with 15 seconds left in the 14th round. Despite his complete domination over their champion, the IBF refused to sanction the fight and declared its version of the 115-pound title vacant.
Galaxy would successfully defend his title 19 times before finally retiring in 1991 with a career record of 47-1 with 41 knockouts at the age of 32. He is one of the five most dominant world champions of any era and undoubtedly one of the greatest southpaws in boxing history. To watch him fight is like looking at a work of art by an artist who many people never heard of. You have to view his masterpieces inside the ring to truly understand the greatness of Khaosai Galaxy.