While I was staying in Kamala Beach, Phuket in early December, I saw advertisements all over the village pumping the special Muay Thai boxing show at Bangla Boxing stadium at nearby Patong. As someone, who enjoys “ a good fighting spectacle”, I decided to buy tickets for a ladyfriend and myself. A ringside seat was somewhat pricey at 1500 baht (about 42USD) - it seems that they jacked up the prices because the target market were tourists - but I was on vacation and I wanted to break up the monotony (and boredom)
I really enjoyed the spectacle. 75% of the crowds were farangs (western tourists) and 25% were Thai. The tourist crowd consisted mostly of Australians, Swedes and Kiwis. These people drink beer like it is water – some of them were getting seriously intoxicated as beer bottles were splattering on the cement floor all over the place. Muay Thai Boxing is great theater and entertainment - lasting 5 rounds, each bout begins with a colorful prefight dance ritual and is accompanied by some exotic trance music performed by a clarinet and percussion ensemble. Often the fighter that is behind after the first two rounds emerges victorious because of superior mental toughness and physical endurance .
The nine exhibitions started with series of bouts with younger combatants (both male and female), before working up to the heavier and older weight classes. The first sets of matches were between some preteens. The audiences, especially the Thai contingent, were very vocal during the fights and there was lot of wagering going on – even I get caught up in the spirit as I bet and lost a 200B wager. The most enjoyable fight was between and a fairly fit and tall Thai girl of about 20 years old and a short squat and somewhat roly-poly gal ‘puying pompui’. While I thought the larger and taller gal clearly gave Puying Pompui a real beating – somehow they gave the victory to ‘the little fattie’ based on her courageous comeback in the last round. Oh well….
Factoid: Puying pompui in Thai means fat girl