MUAY THAI’S FIRST FEMALE FIGHT AT LUMPINEE STADIUM
By Serge TREFEU (2021)
On September 18, 2021, for the first time in the history of Muay Thai, a fight between female fighter was organized in the stadium of Lumpinee in Bangkok. Champions Saenajan Sor Jor Tongprajin and Buakaw Mor Kor Chor Chaiyaphum battled for the WBC world title in 105 lbs.
This match in the stadium of Lumpinee was first to take place on Saturday May 5, 2021, then, it was scheduled for July 3, 2021. The match finally took place on September 18 of this year.
Because of restrictions related to the covid pandemic, boxing parties in Thailand are difficult to organize. The fights in the Lumpinee stadium no longer take place in the main arena of the stadium. The matches are held in an improvised studio where there is only a ring and there is no audience. The fights are broadcast on a private television channel, Lumpinee Go Sport World Muay Thai.
Sittiroujan Sathien Jarupongsa, the promoter of Go Sport World Muay Thai, organized this first women’s fight in history at the Lumpinee stadium.
Promoter Jarupongsa and Lieutenant-General Suchart Dangpraphai (Head of the Lumpinee Stadium) want to innovate in the world of boxing in Thailand. They want to promote more women’s matches in the Lumpinee stadium. Also, matches in three rounds instead of the traditional five rounds. And even establish matches in the discipline of MMA. Women’s fighting is undoubtedly a good thing for the global development of Muay Thai. But matches in three rounds and matches in rule Free Fight at the stadium of Lumpinee, for the purists of this ancestral sport it is inconceivable…
For this first female clash in the stadium of Lumpinee, the young Saenajan Sor Jor Tongprajin challenged her younger sister, the experienced Buakaw Mor Kor Chor Chaiyaphum.
Saenajan is 17 years old, she comes from the Chanthaburi region (North-East Region). She has fought 41 fights for 30 wins and 2 draws.
Buakaw is 21 years old and comes from the region of Buriram (North-East Region). She fought 52 fights for 39 wins and 3 draws. Buakaw won gold at the World Championships and gold at the Asian Championships.
The two fighters made a good performance which ended with the victory on points for young Saenajan. At 17, she became the first female boxer to win a belt of WBC world champion in the stadium of Lumpinee!
THE TWO BOXERS IN PROMOTION WITH THE FAMOUS WORLDWIDE BELT WBC MUAY THAI AT LUMPINEE STADIUM
SAENAJAN AND BUAKAW PLAYED A TOUGH FIRST FIGHT AT THE LUMPINEE STADIUM
SAENAJAN SOR JOR TONGPRAJIN FIRST EVER GIRL CHAMPION AT LUMPINEE STADIUM
Another historic event at the Lumpinee Stadium is scheduled for September 25, 2021. A Thai champion will meet a foreign champion at the Lumpinee stadium. The first foreign female boxer to have the honour of fighting at the Lumpinee stadium will be French champion Souris Manfredi (Lethwei World Champion, Muay Thai European Champion). This formidable ring warrior who lives in Thailand will face the Thai Oomsin Sritong Gym for the WBC World title in 115 lbs!
SOURIS MANFREDI AGAINST OOMSIN SRITONG. WBC WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP SEPTEMBER 25, 2021 AT LUMPINEE STADIUM
The meeting at the Lumpinee stadium between Saenajan and Buakaw is a historic moment for this sport. This will surely trigger a upheaval in women’s boxing in Thailand. After 65 years of prohibition, Thai boxers may soon be fighting regularly in all the major stadiums of Bangkok as their male counterpart.
Several small stadiums in Bangkok already allow women’s fights, an authorization that was accepted only in 1995. Asawindam Stadium and Rangsit Stadium are among the stadiums that host women’s boxing matches. These two stadiums have become important because they broadcast their event live on national television channels.
For years, female combat in Thailand was rather rare. Today, girls are almost as numerous as boys to practice Thai boxing. In the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, they were not even allowed to train in a boxing camp, let alone fight in a ring.
But female boxing in Thailand is still far from being equal with that practiced by men. Because of the country’s cultural and religious traditions that put a brake on this equality.
Traditionally, Thai female boxers must enter the ring by crawling under the lowest rope, while men step over the top rope.
Muay Thai is a very hard sport that involves eight points of contact on the body, it involves practices related to superstition and magical beliefs. These beliefs say that the head is the highest and most sacred part of the body. On the other hand, menstruation is considered harmful to protective magic. So even when they don’t have their periods women can’t get over the upper rope of the ring because they might disturb the blessings.
In several boxing camps and stadiums of the country these beliefs are pushed even further, women do not have the right to touch the ropes of the ring, nor to climb in the ring.
In the four most important stadiums of Thailand that are in the capital in Bangkok, the stadium of Lumpinee (Women’s fights are organized at the stadium of Lumpinee but outside the stadium, a ring is mounted on the parking lot of the stadium), the stadium of Ratchadamnoen, TV7 Stadium and Omnoi Stadium (Located in the city of Samut Prakarn 30 km from Bangkok) women’s fighting is prohibited.
The Thai champions cannot hope to win the most prestigious titles of these stadiums. Without fighting in the biggest stadiums of the country, it will be impossible for a woman to become a big star of Muay Thai in Thailand.
Thai boxers have no other way than to follow these rules to pay tribute to the former masters of Muay Thai as part of their culture and tradition. Even though these rules were designed for male boxers.
This is a big disadvantage for the career of a professional boxer because female athletes find it very difficult to be accepted by commercial sponsors to support their fights. The world of boxing in Thailand depends heavily on the big industrial sponsors who still think that boxing is a sport only for men.
Also, many boxing promoters just don’t want to hear about women in their organizations.
A female boxer who has had a successful career in Thailand will be able to win a maximum of 50,000 baht (€1,280) for her fights. The winnings of a great men’s champion can reach 100,000 baht (€2,550) to 150,000 baht (€3,840). The monthly salary of a worker is about 6,000 baht (€177).
Nowadays, amateur or professional boxers have become as technical and determined in their fight as boxers. These ring amazons often have a mind and a rage to defeat that has nothing to envy to the male champions.
Thailand still has several great women fighters who are as famous as the stars of the Lumpinee stadium or the Ratchadamnoen stadium. Like the world champions Loma Lookboonmee, Chommanee Taehiran, Phetjee Jaa Or Meekhun, Thanonchanok Kaewsamrit, Zaza Sor Aree, Namtan Sor Kor Kamronbamrungrak, Sawsing Sor Sopit, Stamp Fairtex!