It wasn’t until 1999, at the famous Muay Thai fighting Stadium in Bangkok that the first amateur women’s fights took place. Since it was the first time for this competition, it began in time-honoured fashion as a demonstration of skills and techniques. In front of an enthusiastic crowd, many of the myths about women not being skilled enough to fight, or entertaining enough for the crowd, were laid to rest. Today women of numerous nationalities flock to Thailand’s Muay Thai training camps.
The 1999 highlight in Bangkok was a battle between Amy Birch from Australia and Rungaroon Sor Fongnam from Thailand, undoubtedly two of the best. It was a great fight that ensured women’s involvement in the World Cup was here to stay. Female Muay Thai unmistakably has become as popular, and perhaps even a little more, as the male sport.
Women from all over the world now travel to Thailand to perfect their art. The quest is to train within some of the most famous Muay Thai Gyms, and with the Thai Masters who teach there. You will see them running the roadways of Koh Samui under the unforgiving sun, or tangled in a maze of limbs and grunting with animal-like sounds alongside their male peers, as they pummel their sparring partners within the training grounds.
So, the next time that you witness a woman, no matter what her physical stature, standing next to the Muay Thai bags in the gym, you might just want to stand back for a few moments. And if she smiles at you with a glint in her eye, you may just want to take off your gloves.