Other Sport

Thais outraged by child boxer's death in ring

2018-11-14 08:55
Boxing gloves (File)

Bangkok - Thais have reacted with shock and anger after a 13-year-old boxer died during a charity bout, reviving calls for a ban on fights between children in the brutal Muay Thai martial art. 

Thai boxing is hugely popular in the country and many fighters enter the sport at a young age in search of fame and fortune. 

But the involvement of kids who sometimes start under 10 years of age in bouts that use kicks and elbows to the head - often without head guards - has stirred frequent criticism. 

More so as the young fighters are often family breadwinners from poor families and bouts are subject to frenzied ringside gambling. 

Anucha Tasako collapsed after his opponent delivered several blows to his head at a bout in Samut Prakan province, near Bangkok, on November 10. 

Smartphone footage shown by local media captured the grim moment he hit the canvas as assistants quickly rushed into the ring to help the motionless Anucha, who fought under the alias Phetmongkol Sor Wilaithong. 

He later died from a brain haemorrhage, according to police. 

Domestic media said he had been fighting since he was eight and had competed in more than 150 bouts. 

His opponent, Nitikron Sonde, is around the same age, police said. He took to Facebook to express his sorrow at the death. 

"I regret it," he posted on Tuesday, "but I have to do my duty to win so I can make enough money to sponsor myself through education." 

Neither fighter was wearing protective headgear. 

A bill to prevent minors aged under 12 from taking part is under consideration.

 The draft bill is likely to gain support after Anucha's death. 

Outrage and anger poured in as news of his death spread, with some blaming the referee for not stepping in sooner to end the fight. 

"He could barely stand. Why didn't the referee stop the fight but let him continue to be hit until he was knocked down," one Thai Facebook user said. 

Thailand's Minister of Tourism and Sports was quoted in local media saying he would submit the draft bill "as soon as possible". 

But some defended the practice of starting fighters young. 

"I don't agree with the draft law to totally ban boxers who are under 12 years old because 99 percent of the famous Thai boxers and Olympic winners began fighting when they were young," Tawee Umpornmaha, 59, a Thai Olympic medallist, said, describing the boy's death as an accident. 

"I began at 12 with more than 200 fights. The question is do we have proper safety measures? We must give importance to safety measures including field doctors," he said.

Read more on:    boxing

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights

Live scoring

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured

The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs
Vote

Besides the 'Big 3' of rugby, cricket and soccer, which of the 'smaller' sports in South Africa do you enjoy the most?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.