Walking the streets of Koh Samui around Chaweng beach can be a little like running the gauntlet. We’ve been bombarded by tailors trying to coax us into their stores for cheap suits, shirts, shoes and the like. Restaurants handing out drink coupons and herding street traffic towards their tables. Street vendors trying to sell us knockoff t-shirts, soap carvings, statues, jewelry, and a ton of other mass produced stuff. Taxi drivers endlessly asking if you want a ride. It can be a bit much, but is a defining part of the Thailand experience.
Among the cacophony of all this, there are trucks roaming the streets with loud speakers proclaiming the greatness of the evenings scheduled Muay Thai boxing matches. Its always the ‘Fight of the Year’ and every fighter is supposedly a district champion… but 6 years ago I did take in a Muay Thai night and it was a memorable if somewhat shocking experience. Back then, they started with the youngest fighters around 6 years old and progressed to the regional champions who were usually in their mid 20’s. It was strange paying to watch little kids beat each other up, and it did get quite bloody when they got to the later matches. But I’d say it’s a must see if you’re in the neighbourhood since the Thai people are so enthusiastic about the sport and it really is a good time.
Kelly hadn’t been to a match on her previous visit to Thailand, so when we came across the posters a few nights ago for Thursday where they were pitching a main event between a 300lb American guy and two 140lb Thai guys, the circus freak glamour of it all pulled us in. We bought ringside tickets for 1000 baht a piece and settled in to watch 7 matches.
There were no kids fighting this time, but the weight classes were from 115lbs to 170lbs (excluding the American) with a few other foreigners fighting in the higher weight classes.
When it came time for the main event, we found out that the giant was NOT going to be fighting them at the same time. Instead, he would fight them one at a time, alternating through the 5 rounds. My extreme disappointment was tempered when the little guy started throwing flying jump kicks at the first bell.
All told, it was a good night out. We had a few drinks, successfully predicted a bunch of the matches, laughed a lot, and witnessed that speed and agility will dominate if there’s two people ganging up on a fat guy.
Posted by: Shim