Women will no longer be prohibited from fighting or touching the ring at Bangkok’s historic boxing stadium.
Next month, eight female boxers will step into the ring and fight at Rajadamnern Stadium – the first such fight since the venue opened 77 years ago.
Since that first Muay Thai bout in 1945, the stadium has never hosted a women’s match.
Why? There has been a long traditional belief that the boxing ring is overseen by venerated deities who prohibit female fighters from entering.
But the stadium is ready to move on from this belief, which was rooted deeply in patriarchal norms.
The stadium’s new management, Global Sports Ventures — which vowed to invest in “revolutionizing” the venue to attract a new generation — held a ceremony last week to ask the boxing ring’s deities for permission to let female fighters fight.
The first women’s Muay Thai fight will take place Aug. 5 with eight female boxers — four Thais and four foreign fighters — exchanging punches, elbows, knee strikes, and kicks.
The competition is part of the Rajadamnern World Series and carries a THB1 million purse for the winner. In the future, there will also be a division for women.
Rajadamnern Stadium is currently undergoing a revamp under new management. The first-ever women’s fight is part of a campaign to give the historic stadium a more modern and international appeal, according to Global Sports Ventures.
In May, the stadium got an upgrade with a ringside cocktail bar by Chinatown’s Asia Today serving punchy booze made with northeastern rum.