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

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia resumes issuance of tourist visas

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has announced the resumption of its tourist visa and visa exemption programme after a long hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In a letter dated October 20 and addressed to foreign embassies and consulates, foreign minister Prak Sokhonn

  • S’ville set to turn into ‘second Shenzhen’

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance has awarded a master plan consultancy contract to top Chinese institute for the development and transformation of Preah Sihanouk province into a “Model Multi-Purpose Special Economic Zone”, Southeast Asia’s next logistics and resort hub and innovation centre. The