Tun Tun Min

Tun Tun Min (Burmese: ထွန်းထွန်းမင်း; born 4 October 1992) is a Burmese Lethwei fighter and former Openweight Lethwei World Champion.[2] He is the youngest fighter to ever win the Lethwei Golden Belt, obtaining the title at age 21.[3] He is also notable for fighting foreign competition from outside Myanmar.[4][5][6][7]

Tun Tun Min
Tun Tun Min at Media conference in Myanmar.png
BornMaung Tun Tun Min
(1992-10-04) October 4, 1992 (age 27)
Hpa Non village (Ka Dar), Kyaikmaraw, Mon State, Myanmar[1]
Native nameထွန်းထွန်းမင်း
Other namesMohammed Saet
NationalityBurmese
Height1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Weight80 kg (180 lb; 13 st)
StyleLethwei, Muay Thai
StanceOrthodox
Fighting out ofMyanmar Myanmar
TeamFight Box Lethwei and Fitness club,
Fit & Fight Fitness & Lethwei, Yangon
Years active2002–present
UniversityDagon University
Spouse
Ma Thae Pwint Phyu
(
m. 2015)
Notable relativesU Tun Tun Zaw (father)
Tun Min Latt (brother)
Tun Min Naing (brother)
Tun Min Aung (brother)
Medal record
Men's Muay Thai
Representing  Myanmar
Southeast Asian Games
Gold medal – first place 2013 Naypyidaw, Myanmar Event
Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games
Bronze medal – third place 2013 Incheon, South Korea Event
Asian Muay Championships
Silver medal – second place 2012 HCM City, Vietnam Event
Men's Lethwei
Regions and States Competition
Gold medal – first place 2010 Yangon, Myanmar Event

Early lifeEdit

Tun Tun Min was born in a remote village of Mon state and is an ethnic Mon and Muslim.[8] He is the second eldest son of Lethwei fighter U Tun Tun Zaw and his wife Daw Aye Win.[9] Tun Tun Min was introduced to the world of traditional boxing through his grandfather and father, both well-known former boxers in the Mon state.[10][11] At the age of 6 he started training with sandbags and rudimentary equipment that his father had bought him. By 4th grade, at the age of 9, he won his first fight at the local elementary school against a rival classmate he didn't get along with.[1] They were amateur Lethwei fights fought on the sand and not yet in a ring.

In 6th grade Tun Tun Min decided to drop out of school to focus exclusively on his boxing career in order to support his family. For a short period of time, from 2007 until 2009, he also worked at a pineapple plantation in Thailand to earn more income.[8] His boss at the time dared him to fight some Muay Thai boys in the village. Although he did beat them, his boss unfortunately denied him to further pursue this venture.[8][1] Upon his return home, Tun Tun Min joined the Mudontha Lethwei Club, founded in 2008 by Saya U Ye Thway, U Thamain Thawdar and Tun Tun Min's father.[12]

Lethwei careerEdit

Under the guidance of his new teachers, Tun Tun Min started his professional career fighting for prize money in Lethwei fights in pagodas and other religious festivals.[13] He quickly became a rising star because of his aggressive style[14] and more opportunities came around.[15] He faced another rising star in Too Too to a draw. Three days after, Tun Tun Min was offered a fight for 6 Lakh or 600 000 Burmese kyats against Soe Lin Oo, a 2010 Golden Belt champion and already an established name at the time. Because his father insisted, the match was signed and ultimately fought to a draw.[16] At the time, Tun Tun Min described Soe Lin Oo as the toughest opponent he had ever faced.[1] Quickly rising through the ranks, from that moment on his career would see many more celebrated victories.[17] Tun Tun Min faced many fighters from neighbouring Thailand[18][19][20] and due to his larger size, he faced many foreign opponents.[21][22] eventually leading up to his shot at becoming the champion.[23][24][25]

Despite being both among the top ranked lethwei fighters in Myanmar currently, and fans and promoters eager to make the fight happen,[26] Tun Tun Min and Too Too have refused to fight each other due to their long-lasting friendship.[27]

He took part in Muay Thai competitions at the 2012 Asian Muay Championships,[28][29] 2013 Southeast Asian Games[30][31] and 2013 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games.

Over the course of his career Tun Tun Min has been discriminated against because of his Muslim background.[8][32] Fans often let their voice be heard during his matches with foreign competition, shouting racist remarks and outing their discriminating opinion in interviews. In 2017 a calendar listing current and former champions in various categories, omitted Tun Tun Min's name, title and likeness in the champions category. This prompted media to accuse the Myanmar Traditional Boxing Federation, who had commissioned the calendar, of discrimination.[33] Tun Tun Min admitted considering leaving the sport, but the fact that he might be able to win his open-weight title back changed his mind.[8]

Becoming championEdit

On September 21, 2014, Tun Tun Min became Openweight Lethwei World champion by defeating Saw Nga Man,[4] a friend with whom he trained together for the SEA Games and someone he has looked up to for the majority of his professional career. At the age of 21, Tun Tun Min became the youngest fighter in history to win a Lethwei Golden belt.[11] At that time 33 year old Saw Nga Man, nicknamed Saw Shark, had been a dominant openweight champion for five years and people started to question his durability while continually facing up-and-coming younger fighters.[34] These doubts where answered on that fateful evening when Myanmar crowned its latest champion.[35]

Cyrus Washington trilogyEdit

Cyrus Washington had his introduction to Lethwei back in 2010 when he faced Saw Nga Man, who was the champion at the time,[36][37] long before Tun Tun Min's name would even start to appear in newspapers. Because Cyrus was already an accomplished Muay Thai fighter it took 4 years before Tun Tun Min was eligible to fight him. The opportunity presented itself a few months before their first fight where Tun Tun Min had beaten Saw Nga Man for the open-weight title.

Their first meeting was on December 7, 2014 at the inaugural Air KBZ sponsored Aung Lan Championship, currently an event where winners in each weight-class receive a belt and a triangular champions flag. In a stunning upset Cyrus knocked out Tun Tun Min in round three in spectacular fashion.[38][39] Even after using his time-out Tun Tun Min could no longer continue. Because the bout was considered an exhibition match[40] the open-weight title was not at stake, nor would it be during any of their fights.

The rematch took place 4 months later on April 11, 2015 at Thuwunna National Indoor Stadium in Yangon. Cyrus was once again able to knock out Tun Tun Min with a spinning technique. Unlike in their first fight Tun Tun Min was able to recover during his timeout and eventually knock Cyrus down in the 5th round prompting the corner to throw in the towel.[37][38] Cyrus later explained that there was some confusion about the rules. He tried to call for a timeout, but according to the official rules you cannot use one in the last round. The confusion and miscommunication resulted in the towel being thrown.[36]

After drawing with Too Too in a 7-round challenge fight in July,[38][39] Cyrus signed on for the third and final meeting between him and Tun Tun Min. It took place that year on December 20 at the second Air KBZ Aung Lan Championship.[4] Cyrus entered the event as the champion because of his victory at the first event a year earlier.[41] The fight barely lasted half a round when Tun Tun Min struck Cyrus on the eye. After taking his timeout Cyrus made clear that he did not want to continue, and the match was stopped declaring Tun Tun Min the victor after just 71 seconds.[4][42] After the fight many fans were displeased with how the fight concluded and threw bottles and other items into the ring.

Losing the titleEdit

Tun Tun Min was challenged Quebec born fighter Dave Leduc. Because of Leduc's dominant performance over Too Too, Tun Tun Min accepted.[43] Tun Tun Min started strong and dominated the early rounds,[44] but the exciting match ended in a draw. After the match, Tun Tun Min was quoted saying that he had difficulties with Dave's to control the distance, but that he was confident and able to put on a better performance when they would rematch.[45]

On December 11, 2016, the much anticipated rematch of Tun Tun Min and Dave Leduc took place at the 3rd Air KBZ Aung Lan Golden Belt Championship in Yangon, Myanmar.[46] The two previously fought in October to a draw. Confident in his ability to draw with his latest rival, Tun Tun Min accepted to put his open-weight title on the line.[47] In round three, Leduc caught Tun Tun Min's left high-kick, causing him to go off-balance and twisted his knee.[8] After taking his time-out, Dave targeted the leg forcing a second count. After another throw, Tun Tun Min eventually forfieted and lost for only the second time in his professionnal career.[48][49][50]

Lethwei in JapanEdit

Tun Tun Min participated at the first Lethwei organized by the ILFJ. He faced Australian Adem Yilmaz at Lethwei Grand Prix Japan 2016 and knockout him out at the end of the 5th round.[51]

World Lethwei ChampionshipEdit

In 2017 Tun Tun Min signed an exclusive 6-fight contract with World Lethwei Championship. For his promotional debut WLC 1: The Great Beginning, he faced British kickboxer Nicholas Carter.[52] He finished the fight in round 1 by reaching maximum knockdowns and did not use his kicks. He would eventually miss out on his remaining fights because of his injury.[53]

Surgery and rehabilitationEdit

Although Tun Tun Min sustained an injury to his knee in the fight with Dave Leduc, instead of opting for surgery, he took three months off to rest. In that time he felt depressed and was not sure if he would be able to fight again because of the injury. After some encouraging words from his father he traveled to Bangkok, Thailand[11] on April 7 where surgery was scheduled to fix his meniscus and the ligament. He was operated on the next day at Phyathai Nawamin International Hospital.[54] After successful surgery Tun Tun Min stayed for a brief recuperation until flying back home on April 18. Rehabilitation was estimated to take 8 months.[55]

In November 2017 Tun Tun Min made public that his knee was recovered and that with sufficient training he would be returning to the ring in January.[54] Shortly after the announcement that he would be fighting Thiago Goularte from Brazil on January 14,[56][57] the fight and the event was canceled. The knee was still bothering him 9 months into his recovery.[58] It would once again be quiet around Tun Tun Min who, in the meantime, started coaching and training at Fit & Fight Fitness & Lethwei, a newly opened facility in Yangon that partly carries his name.[59]

Return to the ringEdit

On July 22, after 16 months of recovery and training Tun Tun Min's first opponent would be Saiyok Pumpanmuang no stranger to glove-less combat.[60] In their fight, held in Yangon during the Golden Belt Championship, both showed immense heart but left fans slightly disappointed since it ended in a draw and they did not get to see many of Tun Tun Min's powerful trademark kicks. After the fight he mentioned Saiyok was a more dangerous opponent than Leduc will be and indicated he wanted the rematch by the end of the year.[61] Tun Tun Min has also said that this final challenge is what kept him going through both rehabilitation and the difficult relationship with spectators who do not support him as a Muslim.[8] It is why in August he wasted no time challenging reigning champion Dave Leduc for a third time. However, there would be one more hurdle to overcome.[62]

In similar fashion to how the bout at Ganryujima came about in 2016, Daryl Lokuku who was set to face Dave Leduc initially, was now scheduled last minute to face Tun Tun Min on August 19 at the third Myanmar Lethwei World Championship in Yangon.[63] Even though Tun Tun Min was able to knock down Daryl with a headbutt near the very end of an intense 5-round fight, it once again ended in a draw.[64] With three months of training ahead, everything would now be set for Tun Tun Min to face Dave Leduc at the Air KBZ Grand Final Myanmar Championship in Yangon.[65]

Dave Leduc TrilogyEdit

The third fight saw Dave Leduc fighting out of the red corner, the first time a foreigner has been able to do so as it is customary to have Myanmar born fighter and foreign challengers come out of the opposite corner.<[66] A fully recovered Tun Tun Min once again had tremendous difficulty with the reach and distance control of Dave Leduc. In the first round Dave was able to force two counts on him, one of them being the precious timeout. Visibly frustrated at not being able to land on Dave as much as he would like, it even led him to attempt a flying roundhouse kick and other acrobatic feats in an attempt to slow down his rival.[67] The latter rounds saw both boxers vying for a finish but end without a winner at the final bell. Dave retained his title in a fight that was much less in the hands of Tun Tun Min than their first fight was.[68][69]

Tun Tun Min has been quoted saying he will still accept fights for now but that he will take some time off until that day comes.[11]

Personal lifeEdit

In his time off Tun Tun Min enjoys Sepak takraw, volleyball and amateur football. When he was young he selected for the Kyaikmaraw Township Football Team. When he is not playing sports he likes listening to music and watching films. Tun Tun Min and his wife Farana currently reside in Yangon.[1]

Championships and accomplishmentsEdit

ChampionshipsEdit

Awards, records, and honoursEdit

    • Youngest Golden Belt champion
    • 2015 Best fighter award[70]

Lethwei recordEdit

Professional Lethwei record

Legend:   Win   Loss   Draw/No contest   Notes

Professional Muay Thai recordEdit

Professional Muay Thai record

Legend:   Win   Loss   Draw/No contest   Notes

Hybrid MMA rules (with Gi)Edit

Professional record breakdown
1 match 0 wins 1 loss
Unknown 0 1
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 0–1 Daryl Lokuku Ippon (Ground and pound) Ganryujima Way of the Samurai Koukai Senshou Final July 31, 2016 1 2:03 Ariake, Tokyo, Japan

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External linksEdit

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Saw Nga Man
Openweight Lethwei World Champion
September 21, 2014 – December 11, 2016
Succeeded by
Dave Leduc