Ramon "The Diamond" Dekkers (4 September 1969 – 27 February 2013) was a Dutch kickboxer and an eight time Muay Thai world champion. Dekkers had a tendency to go head-to-head with his opponents, which made him a favourite with fight fans.
The diamond is forever
Ramon Dekkers was born on 4 September 1969 in Breda, Netherlands. He began learning martial arts at age 12, studying judo for a few months. He then switched to boxing. After half a year Ramon Dekkers started practicing Muay Thai under Cor Hemmers. After finishing his baker education Dekkers joined Maeng Ho Breda Gym. During Dekkers early days of training his mother was at the gym every day and eventually she and Cor Hemmers fell in love and got married.
In his first fight at 16 years of age, Dekkers won in a spectacular knockout against a well-established older boxer. Although, only weighing about 63 kg, his opponents found out sooner rather than later he was much stronger than he looked. As Dekkers kept on winning his matches by knockout, his reputation of an as up-and-coming fighter spread in the Muay Thai community. He was awarded his first title at age 18, when he won the MTBN Dutch Championship on 15 November 1987. Dekkers defeated Ramkisoen by knockout with a high kick. Previous to this fight the Dutchman had his first international contest against the reigning European champion, Richard Nam of France. Dekkers lost the fight on points. They would rematch each other a year later for the EMTA European Championship. This time Dekkers won the fight by knockout with a left hook, cross to body combination in the fourth round.
Rise to Stardom
Ramon Dekkers challenged for the NKBB European Super featherweight Championship against Kevin Morris on 14 April 1988. He defeated his overmatched English opponent by unanimous decision. Over the next year the Dutchman would win a number of fights before defeating Mungkordum Sitchang for the IMTA World Lightweight title. Towards the end of 1988 he faced Gilbert Ballantine from the respected Chakuriki Gym in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Dekkers lost by decision after being outworked by Ballantine over five rounds. This match would spark the beginning of a fierce rivalry between the two men – they would fight two more times with both of them splitting wins.
On 18 February 1990, Dekkers truly moved onto the world stage. In the French capital Paris, he faced the reigning Lumpinee champion Nongkee Pahuyuth. He inflicted a rare defeat on Namphon after five rounds, taking the IMF World Light Welterweight title. Throughout the bout, Dekkers controlled the fight, scoring two knockdowns. The two fighters would meet again two months later in a rematch in Bangkok, Thailand. This time the Dutchman, who just had knocked out the number 1 ranked Lumpinee fighter Cherry S. Wanich in Amsterdam, was unable to defeat Namphon and lost a close decision. He returned to Thailand the same year to meet Issara Sakkreerin in a losing bid for Sakkreerin's Lumpinee Stadium Lightweight title.
The most notable rival of Ramon Dekkers was multiple Lumpinee champion and living legend Coban Lookchaomaesaitong. In their first encounter on 21 April 1991, Dekkers was knocked out with a left hook. This would be the first of four meetings between the men from 1991 to 1993, in what became one of the biggest feuds in Muay Thai history. In the rematch, Dekkers won in highlight worthy fashion via devastating knockout. In the third outing of their rivalry, Dekkers was defeated by decision after five gruelling rounds, but he won the fourth and final fight evening his score against Coban. The Coban vs. Dekkers fights have been rated as the best by any standards, by Muay Thai fans worldwide.
Ramon Dekkers ended 1991 with two wins by knockout over French champion Joel Cezar and a decision loss against Sakmongkol Sitthichok. Between 1992 and 1996, Dekkers would take part in a number of high-profile bouts, defeating fighters such as Joe Prestia, Rittichai Tor. Chalermchai, Mehmet Kaya and Hector Pena. He would also suffer a few defeats, losing on controversial decsions in Bangkok from opponents as Orono Por Muang-Ubol and Den Muangsurin.
On November 16, 1996, Ramon Dekkers defeated Hassan Kassrioui via unanimous decision in Amsterdam, Netherlands to win the World Professional Kickboxing League (WPKL) World Super Welterweight Championship. By this point, despite the victory, injuries were taking their toll and his career was winding to a close.Dekkers once tried to fight in a heavier divsion up to 72.5kg. In a memorable match against Rayen Simson in Roosendaal, Netherlands in 1997 both fighters went to the canvas at the same time from a left hook. Ramon Dekkers injured his eye in the process and had to give up, losing the fight by technical knockout at the end of the second round. He would go back to the 67kg divsion and came again to winning ways by defeating Saengtiennoi Sor. Rungrot, avenging his two losses against the "Deadly Kisser". On 18 March 2001 Ramon Dekkers retired as a professional fighter in Rotterdam Ahoy by knocking out the respectabel opponent Marino De Florin from Switserland. On request of the Japanese fans Ramon Dekkers did a come back in Tokyo on 20 July 2005 in a superfight versus Duane Ludwig. Although Dekkers was heavy injured before the fight in his preparation he won the fight by KO with only using his left hand.
Ramon Dekkers is beside of a legend also one of the pillars of Hemmers Gym. Ramon Dekkers died on 27 February 2013 from a heart attack while cycling. The Sport and Our Family lost a great athlete, son, brother and father.