By Lerpong Amsa-ngiam
An army of local media, his family members and fans assembled at Suvarnabhumi Airport to welcome home Thailand’s sporting superstar, who outpointed Francisco Estrada of Mexico in Los Angeles.
The 31-year-old from Srisaket province said he could handle any opponent in his 115-pound (52kg) division and would be ready for a rematch with Estrada or even Nicaraguan Roman Gonzalez, whom he beat twice last year.
“As long as it’s the 115, I can take on anyone. I will keep fighting and make sure this belt will stay with me as long as possible,” said the southpaw, who received a Bt1 million cheque from his sponsor M-150 and another million from his promotor, Nakornloung Promotion.
While Srisaket was declared by two of the three judges, the Mexican opponent was unhappy with the verdict.
He even mocked Srisaket by posting a picture of his own unmarked face on his Facebook page, next to one of the Thai, sporting bruises and swelling.
Asked for his thoughts on that post, Srisket said: “He can challenge for a re-match at any time. I will make him look even worse or probably knock him out.”
The boxer also revealed he had been placed on the toughest diet, needing to 0.9 kilo to shed on the eve of the fight to make the weight.
He said no matter how hard he tried, he was unable to lose the weight until he called his girlfriend Patcharee Kanha back home in Thailand for moral support.
“When she told me that I was not doing this for myself but for everyone in Thailand, it gave me extra motivation. I went back to running and made it,” said Srisaket, fighting back tears as he addressed reporters at the airport.
He also thanked support from Thai people in general, which for him had been a key to his victory.
“I’m glad to bring happiness to fans and bring smiles on the their faces. I would like to thank all the Thai fans for their support and for always believing in me,” said Srisaket, who said he was hoping to get a free Fortuner car as reward from anyone willing to give him one.
Srisaket also tucked into his favourite food, including grilled paddy field rat and spicy red ant eggs prepared by his parents, Jiamsak and Nurat Wang-ek. His girlfriend could not be there due to sickness.
In terms of the next fight, his promoter said there had already been talks with 360 Promotion and his next opponent would be announced soon.