Friday, 8 May 2009

Muay Thai (Thai Boxing)

I had Been wanting to go see some Thai boxing the whole time I have been in Thailand and finally got the opportunity the second time round during our visit to Koh Samui. Like the absolute players we are we went for ring side seats so we could get the closest view of the action for only 1000 Baht (20 quid). Now I am not a massive boxing fan and have never seen conventional boxing live, let alone Muay Thai supposedly the most brutal form of boxing around today, so was rather intrigued as to how I would find it all.

The venue was pretty cool and just as I had hoped, run down, practically open aired with wooden seating and a few sofas in the V.I.P section. The night was to consist of 8 fights each lasting a maximum of 15 minutes, with 5, 3 minute rounds. They were mainly all amateur fights but the 2 main events was the "Bangkok Champion vs Southern Champion" and "England vs Thailand" (one for the tourists).

They started the proceeding with some sort of ceremonial dance, which went on far too long to be honest but was pretty cool. It's something the amateur boxers have to do as a way of starting proceedings (or something like that). Each fight was accompanied by music which really added to the atmosphere and made the fighters dance, so that they were basically fighting to a beat, almost like fight dancing.

Not one of the fights made it the full 15 minutes and you could never tell who was going to win. One round someone would be dominating and then the next round it would completely switch till eventually someone was KO'ed. I can't really imagine what it feels like to be repeatedly kneed in the kidneys, or what a shine to the face feels like but these guys seemed to be able to take some serious pain.

The thing that got me the most was how average all the guys looked. The fighters all looked like the skinny Thai guys who I walked past in the street everyday. They were not like what you would imagine a hardened Thai boxer to look like at all.

I really enjoyed the night was a lot of fun and I got surprisingly into it. I also enjoyed the local celebrity status that all the Thai boxers seemed to have which was pretty cool. Have a look at the video, as well as cast your eye over the pictures to get more of a sense of what I saw that night.