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damien trainor

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“Why do they stop fighting and just walk around in the last round?”

23 Feb Posted by in Blog | 6 comments

Those of you who have been to see a fight in Thailand or have watched one on the internet will notice they often fight a little different to how we do in the west.

A question I hear often is “Why do they stop fighting and just walk around in the last round?”

To a lot of people this could seem very pointless and in the west could potentially put people off coming to the shows. They have after all paid to see a fight and want to see both parties giving it their all.

However, this isn’t a western sport remember and over the years gambling has played a huge part in how the game is played in Thailand.

More often than not the first two rounds are a feeling out process, so not much really happens. Also on some occasions the boxers are told to take it steady as they are trying to get the betting in the favour of their opponent, making the odds better for themselves.

Round three is generally where the fight will really begin and both boxers are really trying to take the advantage.

The fourth as I’ve always been told is the unofficial money round. If you can win this big then the fight is yours.

Now we come to the round in question.

If the fight has been very close in the third and fourth then the fifth will be fought at the same intensity as the last two rounds.

However, if one boxer is clearly in the lead then he will be told to stay back from his opponent so as to not let the victory slip out of his hands.

This advice will come from his corner and from the gamblers who have money on him to win. This can become very annoying when you’re trying to listen to your corner and you have random people coming up and shouting at you in a language that you barely understand.

His opponent will possibly try and go for him for about the first minute of the round; if he has no success then he will back off.

Often at this point the boxer in the lead will offer his glove to his opponent, asking him to acknowledge defeat.

Here you will usually get the losing boxer accepting defeat and not going for broke to try and change the fight around. While the winning boxer knowing he has won agrees not to beat up on his opponent anymore.

This is a very different mind set to fighters in the west; over here the losing boxer will still fight until the bitter end as a knockout could change everything. Likewise, the winning boxer will still be trying to KO his opponent even though he is already sure of his victory.

To be honest the gambling is slowly killing Muay Thai in Thailand as the gamblers have so much power now in the big stadiums.

If you have watched many of the videos that I have posted up from what is classed as the golden era of Muay Thai (90’s) you will have noticed how packed the stadiums were back then.

Nowadays it is rare that you will see the likes of Lumpinee or Rajadamnern filled to that capacity because of how the game is so heavily influenced.

Out in the provinces though, Muay Thai is still popular with big crowds coming to watch and enjoying the fights. Muay Thai is also growing around the rest of the world with the standard getting better all of the time and so many fighters spending long stints in Thailand.

If you haven’t seen it already here is a great interview with Rob Cox talking about Muay Thai in Thailand and explains in a little more detail the effect gambling is having on the sport. If you have any other questions please feel free to ask and I’ll gladly take the time out to answer as best I can.


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6 comments

  • Klebe says:

    thanks, that’s very interesting

  • Nopstar says:

    I once had an opportunity to watch some fights at Rajadomnern with Lamsongkram the stadium champ. The same scenario came up where both fighters danced the whole last round.

    He said, we win by showing “feah muh” skills, technique. Not necessarily beating someone down, sometimes you have to have compassion.

    He turned the question around to me and said… suppose I dominated you each round, but in the end you landed a lucky punch and KO’d me. Who do you think won? He said it matters how you win, not just simply that you won

  • Liron says:

    Guys Win Is a Win … everyone loves clean beautiful wins but as a ring fighter you need to win within the rules i did had a fight once with a guy that always charge on me an 10 sec before the end of the last rd i KO him with good timing high kick. i was digging very hard inside for that win. the best win i had.

  • Piya says:

    Nopstar, What does feah muh mean?

    • Sunanta says:

      @Piya: Muay femur or however you wanna spell it, means skill. Basically its used for technical skillful fighters like Saenchai whereas someone like Namsak noi who was famous for his knees is muay khao (khao means knee) etc.. 🙂

  • Great topic and good read. I'd just add most Thai's are fighting once a month so I'm sure that influences things as well. If they knew they had months off after each fight like most big name fighters in the west I'm sure you'd see them going for it more.

  • Erwin Vercauteren says:

    very informative thanks looking forward for further news.

  • Vivid Grafx says:

    I will follow what Damian Trainor and Live Muay Thai Guy said as well. Seeing as a lot of those fighters fight pretty often, it wouldn't be beneficial for them to go for broke until the very end if they are clearly losing or winning the fights. Let's not forget than unlike the west where more often than not we fight for the glory or fun of it…..In Thailand they fight to feed their family. If an significant injury occurs during a prior fight…then they will be out for a while and unable to put food on the table so in the 5th round if the fight is already heavily slighted, they will offer an olive branch so as to say (let's not risk anymore injuries).

  • […] Muay Thai you will see in Thailand. It’s pretty interesting why this is the case. Here is a great article explaining […]


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