Many thought they would never live to see the moment, but on September 18, 2021, it finally happened. Lumpinee Boxing Stadium, infamous for its signs around the ring forbidding women to touch the stage, hosted its first female bout.
Better Late Than Never
After being put off for more than four months due to COVID-19 restrictions in Thailand, the whole world watched in awe as Sanaejan Sor.Jor.Tongprajin and Buakaw Mor.Kor.Chor. Chaiyaphum made history. The 17- and 21-year olds, respectively, fought for five rounds. The action-packed fight was for the coveted WBC Muaythai World Title @ 105 pounds. WBC Muaythai said, “The fight itself, even though not the show’s headliner, quickly stole the show as all eyes from the gazing domestic and International MuayThai community watched in anticipation for this defining paradigm shift for the sport.”
With well-placed knees and teep, Sanaejan, a muay khao, won via unanimous decision. Buakaw, who has competed in the Asian Muaythai Championships and has won gold and best wai kru award, was no pushover. But Sanaejan seemed to have just a bit more explosiveness and better timing. It was a well-deserved win for her.
The event had no audience. In the stream, a conference call screen of people watching the fight from all over the world could be seen in the background. Due to the current situation in Thailand, many sponsors for the show couldn’t show up in person, so a modern-day adjustment was made.
Both an Indicator and Vehicle
Lumpinee is, arguably, the most prestigious Muay Thai stadium in the world. They made a big (and unexpected) change despite some backlash from “traditionalists” and those who wanted to adhere to the guidelines set in place by those before them. This is both an indicator and a vehicle for change in the fighting world.
It’s becoming more clear than ever that women’s Muay Thai is on the rise, and there are more opportunities available to women than before. With international promotions such as ONE Championship touting strong women’s divisions in Muay Thai, kickboxing, and MMA, the scene is certainly changing. Many female Muay Thai fighters have transitioned to MMA, or stopped fighting altogether, due to the scarce opportunities available to them.
Now, the future looks bright. Perhaps unnecessary transitions, for the sake of opportunity and money, don’t need to happen anymore now that women are finally starting to get the respect they deserve. There’s still plenty of work to be done, but this is an excellent turning point in the history of Muay Thai. With fighters of both the past and present hopeful for the future, the path for women is becoming more and more paved.
In an interview with Vice, Sanaejan advised everyone to “keep fighting and stay dedicated. Stadiums are starting to be more accepting towards female boxers. Women will have many more opportunities in this industry. So, stay motivated.”
This Saturday, another woman will make history at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium. Souris Manfredi, a French native that’s been living in Thailand for several years, will become the first non-Thai woman to fight on the stage. Originally set to fight Dangkongfah, Petchganya replaced Dangkongfah. Recently, another change was made. Souris Manfredi will now fight Oomsim SritongGym for the WBC Muaythai World title @ 115 pounds.
There will be a live stream coming from Lumpinee’s Facebook page, but the video will also be posted (with some parts translated) on our YouTube channel.
Full Fight Video – Sanaejan Sor.Jor. Tongprajin vs Buakaw Mor.Kor.Chor. Chaiyaphum
Some of the commentary and text of the stream have been (loosely) translated – fighter’s background, bio, and their role in making history. This video is property of Lumpinee GoSport.