Prominent Muay Thai Fighters Voice Opposition to New Law Banning Child Boxers

by Admin on November 2, 2018

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Some of Thailand’s most famous Muay Thai boxers are coming together to fight against a proposed law that would keep children out of the ring, stating that the new amendment would doom Muay Thai in the country where it was founded.

The law, introduced by the National Legislative Assembly, sets the minimum age that children can engage in Muay Thai at 12.

But the proposed amendment to Thailand’s 1999 Boxing Act has drawn outrage from well-known boxers to the kids just picking up the sport and everyone in between.

“Stop the law to eradicate Muay Thai,” read a letter penned by some of Thailand’s most prominent fighters and handed to the Sports Authority of Thailand.

The group who authored the letter was headed by former WBC world champion Samart Payakaroon who railed against the government’s new stance to child Muay Thai fighting.

“Even now, Thai boxers can barely compete with foreign fighters,” Samart said. “If we forbid child boxing, it will spell the end for Muay Thai in this country.”

In other countries, fighters begin sparring as early as age 5.

But the child rights groups and doctors encouraging the amendment see it as a necessary step to prevent brain damage in children that can manifest later in life as Parkinson’s disease or dementia.

According to Thailand family law attorney Jitsopin Narasettapong, many impoverished children–especially from the Northeast region of Thailand–are pushed by their parents to compete in Muay Thai before being old enough to understand the long-term health risks.

“These kids are not protected by boxing laws, which only apply to boxers that are registered and 15 years or older,” said Narasettapong. “Hopefully, the government can pass legislation that protects child fighters from physical injury and brain damage, while preserving Muay Thai’s cultural importance in the country.”

Read the full story here.

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