Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Death of child boxer outrages Thailand

Death of child boxer outrages Thailand

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

Death of child boxer outrages Thailand

Thais have reacted with shock and anger after a 13-year-old boxer died during a charity bout, reviving calls for a ban on fights between children in the brutal Muay Thai martial art.

Thai boxing is hugely popular in the country and many fighters enter the sport at a young age in search of fame and fortune.

But the involvement of kids who sometimes start under 10 years of age in bouts that use kicks and elbows to the head – often without headguards – has stirred frequent criticism.

More so as the young fighters are often family breadwinners from poor families and bouts are subject to frenzied ringside gambling.

Anucha Tasako collapsed after his opponent delivered several blows to his head at a bout in Samut Prakan province, near Bangkok, on Saturday.

Smartphone footage shown by local media captured the grim moment he hit the canvas as assistants quickly rushed into the ring to help the motionless Anucha, who fought under the alias Phetmongkol Sor Wilaithong.

He later died from a brain haemorrhage, according to police.

Domestic media said he had been fighting since he was eight and had competed in more than 150 bouts.

His opponent, Nitikron Sonde, is around the same age, police said. He took to Facebook to express his sorrow at the death.

“I regret it,” he posted on Tuesday, “but I have to do my duty to win so I can make enough money to sponsor myself through education.”

Neither fighter was wearing protective headgear.

A bill to prevent minors aged under 12 from taking part is under consideration.

The draft bill is likely to gain support after Anucha’s death.

Outrage and anger poured in as news of his death spread, with some blaming the referee for not stepping in sooner to end the fight.

But some defended the practice of starting fighters young.

“I don’t agree with the draft law to totally ban boxers who are under 12 years old because 99 per cent of the famous Thai boxers and Olympic winners began fighting when they were young,” said Tawee Umpornmaha, 59, a Thai Olympic medallist, describing the boy’s death as an accident.

“I began at 12 with more than 200 fights. The question is do we have proper safety measures? We must give importance to safety measures including field doctors,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Archeologists find ancient phallic statue

    An archeological team has found a metre-long tipless stone linga (penis) of the Hindu deity Shiva in the foundations of a temple in Kratie province’s historical Samphu Borak area, a former capital of the pre-Angkor Empire Chenla period. Thuy Chanthourn, the deputy director of

  • Man arrested for fake PM endorsement

    The owner of currency exchange company GCG Asia Co Ltd was temporarily detained by the court yesterday for attempted fraud after Prime Minister Hun Sen reacted to the company using his name and pictures to allege his endorsement of the firm. Phnom Penh Municipal Court

  • Sihanoukville authority orders structure dismantled

    The Preah Sihanouk provincial administration has ordered owners of two unauthorised construction sites to immediately dismantle them and warned of legal action if the owners failed to comply. Ly Chet Niyom, development management and construction bureau chief at the provincial hall, told The Post on

  • Police seek arrest of Chinese ‘gang’

    Cambodian police remain on the lookout for 20 Chinese nationals who earlier this month posted a video clip threatening to stoke insecurity in Preah Sihanouk province, though the Chinese Embassy in Phnom Penh maintained the group posed no threats to Cambodia’s national security. National Police