The centuries-old art of Thai boxing is an inherent part of the country's history and culture.
LV & CU Young boys in training outdoors (8 shots)
CU INT Band accompanying fight (2 shots)
GV Ringside crowd
CU & SV Bout in progress between two women (3 shots)
CU Girl in corner receiving attention from seconds
TV & SV Another fight between two women, with girl shown earlier in corner finally being knocked down (4 shots)
SV & CU Crowd watch another bout between two more women (4 shots)
SPORT - THAI BOXING
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Background: The centuries-old art of Thai boxing is an inherent part of the country's history and culture. No-one is sure when and where it originated but in the second half of the 20th century there has been one dramatic charge ... women have taken to the ring, and to purists of Thai boxing, it's a bad omen.
SYNOPSIS: Training for the sport is strict. Most of these boxers are teenagers or at the most in their early twenties, because injuries in Thai boxing are numerous and ring deaths relatively common. Their careers tend to be short. In the past, it was believed women brought bad luck to a Thai boxer and every effort was made to keep the two apart In recent years, however, promoters have seen the potential of women boxers to draw crowds.
The ritual associated with the sport is sometimes as fascinating as the actin itself. All bouts are accompanied by music, which rises and lowers in pitch in line with the pace of the action, or lack of it. Rules in Thai boxing are few, but biting, choking and spitting are forbidden.
Boxing promoters still regard the women boxers as a novelty, and pay them substantially less than the men. The money is much more than for the work these girls would earn in the rice fields, where most of them come form. Most major stadiums in Thailand refuse to allow girls to fight, mainly because of the old belief that they bring bad luck. Still, the girls don't luck enthusiasm. Some of the girls are very attractive, yet most of them admit they have trouble keeping boy friends. The girls ware ??? special protection, and if anything, ignore the rules more than their male counterparts. A noted Thai boxing writer recently wrote that bouts between girl boxers more closely resembled wrestling than the ancient art of Thai boxing.
To the foreigner, the rules may not be apparent, amongst the kicking, elbowing and kneeing. But to the Thai spectator there's much to appreciate, and betting is heavy. The purists might disagree, but the women have proved very popular with the male spectators.