I seem to be the bearer of bad news lately. I was crushed to hear that the Muay Thai legend, Ramon “Diamond” Dekkers, had died of a heart attack while riding his bicycle in his hometown of Breda this past Wednesday afternoon. The rumor was so fresh that I literally had to translate Dutch news pages to get the story, and the whole time I was keening, “Please, let it be a hoax!” Unfortunately, it is all too true. Dekkers passed away too young at age 43.
Anyone who is curious about Muay Thai or watches a fight eventually learns about Dekkers, an eight-time World Champion with over 200 pro fights by the time he retired. For the uninitiated, I suggest doing a web search for the fights between Dekkers and Coban “the Crusher” Lookchaomaesaitong, which I consider to be the Muay Thai rivalry equivalent of Gatti versus Ward.
Finally, to give you another idea of what a legend the man is, a guy who knew I was into Muay Thai used a rare Dekkers highlight reel as date bait to bring me back to his apartment, claiming the tape (VHS, serious) had “kicks so sick, you’re going to lose your mind.” Yeah, I went to his apartment to watch the tape. It was amazing.
Keep on shining, Ramon. Hope you’re still kicking ass wherever you are now.