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BANGKOK 20 June 2019 18:04
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MrWorldwide

What's the lifespan of a MT fighter in Thailand ?

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Hi All,

Like most TVers, I know nothing of Muay Thai beyond what I've seen in videos and a few live fights - some in Oz and a few in Thailand. There is a video on YouTube of two Thai fighters literally trading elbows to the head (!) well into the bout - blows which the 'fantasy-<deleted>' brigade on YouTube like to believe will 'smash' their opposition. These are the same Walter Mittys who have no concept of just how long it takes to condition your body to absorb the punishment these guys take - years, not months .....

I dont question the toughness of anyone crazy enough to get in that ring, but I wonder how long these guys survive anything resembling 'old age'. Anyone ?

Thanks,

MrWW

(FWIW, the fighters in question were both still standing at the end of the fight, both having absorbed a ridiculous numbers of blows to the head, body and thighs. That low MT roundhouse is about as nasty as you can get short of kneeing someone in the nuts, but neither was limping at the end, Hard as nails.)

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I was told by Thai MT fighters that they expect to be past it by 25 at Championship level. You'll know it's a brutal sport and by that point most of them have taken a few blows too many. As always, there are exceptions to the rule. I believe Baukaw is 31, but he's something special, a freak.

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look at Mohammad Ali as the poster boy for having been punched around the ring for so many hours and witness the years of limited life as a result of a brain injury resulting in Parkinson's disease. Not hard to extrapolate that same result to an M T. fighter, and it's not so much the length of life, but quality that matters. How many hyperbolic promoters, punters and gleeful onlookers are contributing to their retirement with more than mock sympathy ? A tragedy for young men and women sucked into the unrealised dream of fame and fortune in this brutal "sport".

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I've met quite a few of the Thai champs of yesteryear, including some that were also boxing champs at various points in their career.

What helps them is:

- muay thai the punishment is spread around the body, not so concentrated on the head

- heavyweights and the bigger weights tend to suffer the most from becoming punch drunk as the skull of a 95kg person is not so different to a 55kg person; but the power of the punches and effect of sparring (this is what kills you maybe as much or more than the matches) is expodentially more

- lighter weights tend to be less capable/less willing to take loads of punches; at the heavyweight level a lot of fighters will take a load of jabs all fight to set up their hook; in the lighter weights you avoid more punches (I think)

None of them seemed punch drunk or were slurring; they had the beat up ears and broken noses etc but mentally were still sharp.

There are a few elbow brutal fights on youtube; where there are loads of cuts and so on; gruesome to watch, but these guys aren't just taking it full power every shot (they look like they are but they aren't taking it full on, they are often rotating/rolling with the blow a little). Still it is very, very brutal and that type of fight must cut their careers down.

The boxers who have lasted longest (Mayweather who is by far the best boxer fighting today and Hopkins, who is extremely skillful at age 49 I think) are ones who rely on technique to hit and not get hit. Guys who are slick when they are younger don't necessarily have the skills to stay slick forever if they rely on reflex speed (Roy Jones Jnr) or just fight too much (James Toney). Or you have a guy like Zab Judah who is a super slick fighter but had the wrong trainers, was maybe not quite hardworking enough and now he's gone from being the quickest to still quick, but not as quick as the guys he's against, plus the wars he's been in count against him.

Mayweather you can almost count the number of times he's been hit hard he's that good; last time I can think of is probably against Mosley; and that was like 3 big punches. That's all. Against Judah less than 5 big punches also. When you are that good, then fighting to age 40 is quite possible.

And no I don't think (much as I love Pacquiao) that the Pacman would stand a chance against Mayweather, except if the judges had the Pernell Whitaker syndrome (where counter punchers get marked down for getting touched since it is so rare, as happened against DLH).

I don't know if I agree on the age bit; the guys at the top of the tree at the moment in Muay Thai (Saenchai, Buakow, Nong Oh, Sam-A) are all I think in their early 30s or close to it. Now they are picking opponents carefully (including eachother) and they know how to train and stay fit, but all of them are as sharp now as they were a few years back, for the most part.

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I used to hear the old retire at 30 or so. Its the same with western boxing that at some point you just ain't as fast as the young ones.

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Also another big difference is the amount of rounds, just 5 rounds for a Muaythai fight and 12 for a boxing one. Most Muaythai gyms will spar heavy with hands max three times a week and again no more than 3-5 rounds. Boxers spar way more and as said above with way more shots to the head. A lot do finish up around mid twenties, but often can be a case of sick of all the training and also the weight making after doing it since young, more than being physically worn out. There has been more than a few carry on a fair bit longer. Chamuekpet Hapalang was a 9 times stadium champ and he won his last title, Ratchadamnern Featherweight title when he was 34. Thongchai Tor Silachai went on until about 36 and he was a tough walk forward fighter that had a lot of wars. Kangwanlek Petyindee is still fighting now at nearly 38, he fought for Thailand title last year, just over a year after getting shot as well, with the bullet going through his chest and lung and out his back.

Edited by Tingnongnoi

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Also another big difference is the amount of rounds, just 5 rounds for a Muaythai fight and 12 for a boxing one. Most Muaythai gyms will spar heavy with hands max three times a week and again no more than 3-5 rounds. Boxers spar way more and as said above with way more shots to the head. A lot do finish up around mid twenties, but often can be a case of sick of all the training and also the weight making after doing it since young, more than being physically worn out. There has been more than a few carry on a fair bit longer. Chamuekpet Hapalang was a 9 times stadium champ and he won his last title, Ratchadamnern Featherweight title when he was 34. Thongchai Tor Silachai went on until about 36 and he was a tough walk forward fighter that had a lot of wars. Kangwanlek Petyindee is still fighting now at nearly 38, he fought for Thailand title last year, just over a year after getting shot as well, with the bullet going through his chest and lung and out his back.

Yep - tough as nails. I've read of other Thai fighters coming out of retirement when they felt the challenge from a foreign fighter was sufficiently serious to warrant their return to the ring. I'm usually skeptical of any sport where so much money is being wagered on the outcome of a bout, but nothing I've seen in a MT vid points to any form of match-fixing at the elite level : these guys are trying to take one another's heads off.

Edited by MrWorldwide

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Some folk are just born with the genetics (and the mindset) for combative sports.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZGY8DEfkXI

I dont follow MMA, but I watched a couple of her MT fights - her opponents get rattled by her boxing ability, try to step out of range only to get nailed with a heel under the chin. Ouch.

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They start them young. A lot of the kids are recruited from orphanages like here in Maptaphut. My company donates money and other things to this local orphanage.

The big Muay Thai gyms in Bangkok donate loads of equipment and money here, knowing that any promising young kids (starting from 9-10 yo) will make good money for them. As the kids don't have parents or guardians looking after them, they are basically indentured slaves to these boxing camps, fighting at least 1-2 times per week.

Due to the stress on knees and ankles from the kicking, Muay Thai fighters careers don't last much longer than their mid-20's. But a lot of the guys take up Western boxing before this happens.

Edited by huangnon

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