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Next champion of the world

Boxers should always have a backup plan, and Panna Rittikrai had one ready when two of his leading stars became unavailable for his next martial-arts movie.



With Thatchakorn "Tony Jaa" Yeerum now on fatherhood duty and Yanin "Jeeja" Vismitananda pregnant, the director and fighting coach had Nantawut "Wut" Boonrubsub all oiled up at ringside.

Wut, who made his debut last year in the Fighting Club martial-arts and stunt group, gets top billing in Panna's upcoming picture, "Reaw Talu Reaw", due out later this year.

Wut will wage combat with long-time real-life sparring partner Choopong "Diew" Changprung in the new film, and Panna guarantees he'll be as good as anyone else.

"I don't doubt his ability. He won a gold medal when he was 10, when he was coming to Bangkok every weekend from Suphan Buri to train with me. I gave him a minor role in a movie, but in fact I've just been waiting for him to get fully grown."

The judges are in the cinema. Let battle commence.

You hear this?

Pichet "King" Buakhum - second runner-up on "The Voice" - now has another reason to smile: a baby girl. His wife Saranya "Sara" Sanguanpak gave birth last week, finally garnering her share of the spotlight after keeping a low profile during the TV competition.

Their daughter has been named Ratchaya, but guess what her nickname is. Okay, that's right, it's Voice.

Since the talent show turned around his singing career, King says he plans to continue working in the music business - with two definite goals. First he wants to do an album. "I dream of doing some beautiful melodies," he says. "Personally I like jazz and soul."

The second ambition is to open a singing school. He's already teaching others to sing and would like to see everyone improve their vocal abilities.

The only "obstacle" is that King now also has all the responsibilities of raising a child, but we're betting he'll find further inspiration from another "Voice".


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