Thai boxing is a sport that I have always been aware of – it’s something you cannot escape being aware of in Thailand with it seemingly being on television 24/7. It is, however, something neither Sarah or I paid too much attention to. This was until we were in Chiang Mai and after spending a couple of days there were told about the Mauy Thai fights that take place in various stadiums across the city.
Later on we were handed a flyer for a fight and could also hear trucks with speakers driving around the old city advertising the event. We made up our minds to go – and thought for 400thb a ticket of we didn’t enjoy it then it was no great loss! Due to some misunderstanding we ended up in the wrong place that evening – finding ourselves at the night bazar stadium which was closed up with the lights off as oppose to being in the correct place further up near the tai phae gate. We were so disappointed by missing out that night that we decided to make it our mission to see a fight before we left Chiang Mai!
We didn’t have to wait long for this – the following day I was handed a flyer for an event the next evening. We excitedly made our way down – after checking we were heading to the right stadium! We got to the entrance and paid our 400thb and were ushered to our seat, the seat was fantastic – one row behind ringside! We grabbed a beer and settled in to watch the action!
We had previously thought we might not enjoy watching Mauy Thai – we couldn’t have been more wrong! From the moment we sat down we were hooked. There was a woman’s match in its second round when we sat down – we were really taken by how hard hitting it was and the energy both fighters had! The fight went all the way into the fifth round and ended on a points decision. The next fight started almost as soon as the previous finished. This bout was between two older men, who looked a little out of shape to be honest! The action was a little slower but just as heavy hitting – ending with a knockout in the fourth round.
Watching the fights was absolutely addictive, we knew that we had found a sport we would probably spend a fair amount of time watching again. During each bout there was traditional music and an announcer calling the action excitedly in Thai. After the second match the announcer said – “and now for a special match” as three younger men clambered into the ring, “three fighters now fight” they then all pulled on blindfolds and were positioned in the middle of the ring by a referee “without eyes!” The crowd looked a little confused, seeming to notice this the announcer decided to clarify “you know – for funny!” After the bell rang and the fighters started swinging for each other it did become rather funny, everyone from the fighters in the ring to the crowd surrounding it were quite entertained. This ‘special fight’ ended up with everybody in the ring in a heap on the floor after a few minutes of swinging blindly and tripping over each other. Now it was back to the serious bouts.
The night finished with a French woman fighting a Thai. This was by far the most action packed and brutal fight of the evening! After the traditional start which seemed to involve a great deal of ceremony the fight began – the French fighter sprang in to action throwing absolutely everything she had at the Thai – it was absolutely non stop and was stopped after one round, with it looking very much like the Thai lady had suffered a broken nose!
With the lights being turned off and the ring cleared away we finished up our beers and made our way home. It had been an unexpectedly amazing evening and one that we can’t wait to repeat!