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Muay Thai

Muay Thai

Muay Thai or Thai Boxing is the national sport and cultural martial art of Thailand. It was developed several hundreds of years ago as a form of close-combat that utilizes the entire body as a weapon. Unlike kickboxing which just uses punches and kicks, Muay Thai is known as the ‘art of 8 limbs’ as it utilises fists, feet, elbows, knees and shins (as well as the head traditionally, though this has been removed from modern competition). Muay Thai pits two competitors against each other in a boxing ring and the object of the sport is for one fighter to win the contest by knocking their opponent out, the opponent being stopped by the referee as unfit to carry on (technical knock out) or winning on points. Muay Thai became widespread internationally in the twentieth century, when practitioners defeated notable practitioners of other martial arts. The professional league is governed by The Professional Boxing Association of Thailand (P.A.T) sanctioned by The Sport Authority of Thailand (S.A.T.), and World Muaythai Federation (WMF) overseas. It is not an olympic sport but is recognised by the International Olympic Committee and is a part the of World Games.

Players & Equipment: Under the World Muay Thai Council rules, to compete in a professional Muay Thai fight, a fighter must be over the age of 15 and must weigh at least 100 pounds. Fighters are all classified into weight divisions and when competing, there must not be more than 5 pounds difference in weight. The weight divisions are as follows (in pounds):

  • Super Heavyweight 209+
  • Heavyweight 209
  • Cruiserweight 190
  • Super Light Heavyweight
  • Light Heavyweight 175
  • Super Middleweight 168
  • Middleweight 160
  • Junior Middleweight 154
  • Welterweight 147
  • Junior Welterweight 140
  • Lightweight 135
  • Junior Lightweight 130
  • Featherweight 126
  • Junior Featherweight 122
  • Bantamweight 118
  • Junior Bantamweight 115
  • Flyweight 112
  • Junior Flyweight 108
  • Mini Flyweight 105

There is little equipment that is essential for Muay Thai competitors. All fighters must wear gloves sanctioned by the WMC and the correct weight for the respective weight classification must wear shorts at half-thigh length. A groin guard and mouth guard must also be worn and long hair is discouraged as are beards. All boxers must wear a Mongkol which is a sacred headband before the bout commences and each boxer may also wear a charm or inscribed cloth around their upper arm or their waist. No footwear is to be worn as fighters compete barefoot.

  1. Winning the Fight: A Muay Thai fight can be won in one of three ways:
  2. Knockout: If one fighter knocks his opponent out, they are immediately declared the winner.
  3. Technical Knockout: Known as a TKO, this is the same as in boxing where the referee deems one fighter as not fit to carry on.
  4. Points: At the end of the match, if neither competitor has managed to stop their opponent, then it goes to the judges’ scorecards. The fighter with the highest amount of points is judged to be the winner. If both fighters are on the same amount of points then the match is declared a draw.

Governing bodies: The World Muaythai Council (WMC) is one of the oldest and the largest professional sanctioning organizations of Muaythai in the world for the sport. The organization was set up in 1995 by parliament resolution, and is incorporated by the Royal Thai Government and sanctioned by the Sports Authority of Thailand, under the Ministry of Tourism and Sports (Thailand). The Council has been charged with the responsibility for the expansion of Muaythai worldwide. This involves supporting youth interest and athletes to learn the skills of Muaythai and to assist in the pursuit of excellence in the art.

The International Federation of Muaythai Amateur (IFMA) began as a small federation with several enthusiastic countries, more than two decades ago. After the passage of the initial stages of its life and at the dawn of an exciting new century, IFMA had grown to 130 member countries worldwide with 5 continental federations, together existing under a single, unified regulatory body.



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