You can’t go to Thailand and not see a traditional Muy Thai boxing match. I was going from one extreme to another, one night watching a ladyboy show and the next watching an aggressive-style form of boxing.
I had no idea what to expect and that was probably a good thing or I might not have gone. Muy Thai boxing is extremely aggressive as I said and they don’t wear much padding so it was hard to watch. The match started at 9pm in a somewhat small arena. The stage was raised and people sat at tables on four sides. It began with 2 boxers that did a traditional Thai dance and then they fought but it looked far from real! When someone threw a punch the opponent fell to the ground in a very exaggerated way. There were 2 British guys sitting next to me and we must’ve both been thinking the same thing because at the exact same time we turned to each other and said……”this is fake”- ha. We figured out that that was the ceremony fight that they do before the actual match begins muy-thai, kind of like how we sing the “national anthem” before our sporting events. Once they finished the true fighting began with a second set of fighters.
I was in pure shock when I saw the first 2 opponents approach the ring. They were not older than 7 years old!! How could this be? Children fighting in such a dangerous way? A man came around asking for our bets, one of the british guys next to me said, “no way man, I can not place a bet on a child!” The match began and they were kicking and punching each other like mad. At times I had to look away! What made it worse is that these children looked so sad to be up there and were really in pain. Many children are forced to fight in Thailand so that their parents can get money. It was hard to see but I had to keep telling myself, that this is their culture, I am not at home. There were 9 fights that night and the contestants got progressively older as the matches went on. The next match had 8 and 9 year olds, then 14 year olds, then 16 year olds until we came to the final match. It was between a Thai man and a Canadian! Obviously I cheered for the Canadian. Americans have a saying…..”Canada is like our little brother, we are allowed to make fun of them but the minute another country makes fun of them we have their back”…..ha! Please don’t take offense cousin Jonny!!! Unfortunately the Canadian lost within 2 rounds…….guess he should’ve stuck to hockey!
I felt bad for this little guy. He looked so sad.
The Canadian in red!