Muay Thai is back to the ring

It has been allowed to resume the business since the Coronavirus restriction relaxation in Phase 4 starting from mid last month, but it was not until July 4 that Thai boxing or Muay Thai returned to the ring for the first time after taking a months-long break following the state restrictions.

Blamed for the first wave of the spread of the Coronavirus or Covid-19 in early March, this traditional profession of Muay Thai has been placed in a great caution by concerned parties for the fact that the sport by nature brings boxers to much close contact, _and the height of the fights that prompt its spectators lose control.

That brings much pain to fighters and their staff too. According to the Sports Authority of Thailand, as of mid June when the sport was allowed to resume, almost 7,000 people in the business had registered to receive state support. Out of these were more than 4, 200 boxers.

But as measures to help ensure social distancing and disease control against the virus have been figured out, Muay Thai and those fighters therefore have managed to find their way back to the boxing ring.

Under the “New Normal” fights, the first and foremost rule is the fights will be organised in quite a closed system. That means, none of spectators are allowed, but only certain groups of people; be they broadcast crews, boxing staff, trainers, commentators, referees, and of course boxers!

Boxers themselves will be required to get their health checked and be under quarantine for 14 days before taking the fights. At a stadium where the fights take place, they and their staff must protect themselves and others with protective gears including face masks all the time. Boxers can remove their masks only when they are in the fights.

Despite all complications, every one seems to be well cooperating so that they can get back to their near normal lives again_although that means they will fight alone in the almost empty arena and can not hear loud noises from their cheering fans.

Muay Thai new normal 2020
At Channel 7 Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, one of the country’s most famous boxing stadiums, and among the first boxing fights kicked off, no more than 50 people were allowed to be at the stadium. Several of their fans came and tried to get in, but met with disappointment as the rules must be respected. They were asked to watch their favorite boxers from TV at home for the time being. (Photo: Sayan Chuenudomsavad)
Muay Thai new normal 2020
Trainers and staff are asked to wear protective gears all the time at the stadium even when they massage their boxers. (Photo: Sayan Chuenudomsavad)
Muay Thai new normal 2020
Over three months in a financial hardship, boxers are back with much enthusiasm. (Photo: Sayan Chuenudomsavad)
Muay Thai new normal 2020
Some physical contacts are still hard to avoid, but people at the stadium try hard to keep distance from one another as much as possible. (Photo: Sayan Chuenudomsavad)
Muay Thai new normal 2020
Boxers too must wear masks or face shields all the time while waiting for their fights. They say they feel a bit awkward, but are willing to follow the rules. (Photo: Sayan Chuenudomsavad)
Muay Thai new normal 2020
Boxers wear masks while Wai Kuru, one of the most attractive rituals of Muay Thai. Upon a bell rings, they will then take their masks off. (Photo: Sayan Chuenudomsavad)
Muay Thai new normal 2020
Referees and commentators sit safely by the ringside in plastic partitions and under their personal protective gears. (Photo: Sayan Chuenudomsavad)
Muay Thai new normal 2020
Every one is on masks, and…fight! (a bell rings) (Photo: Sayan Chuenudomsavad)
Muay Thai new normal 2020
Masks are removed from boxers’ faces during the fight. The referee, still, wears a mask and face shield. (Photo: Sayan Chuenudomsavad)
Muay Thai new normal 2020
Energy runs high at the boxing stadium as boxers are back with much enthusiasm, though without cheering fans. (Photo: Sayan Chuenudomsavad)
Muay Thai new normal 2020
Massaging boxers during a round break is unavoidable, but trainers and staff will try to keep distance from their boxers or protect themselves with protective gears like gloves or masks when needing to. (Photo: Sayan Chuenudomsavad)
Muay Thai new normal 2020
From one fight to another, staff at the stadium will clean the floor and the ropes around the ring with alcohol, one of the New Normal rules. (Photo: Sayan Chuenudomsavad)
Muay Thai new normal 2020
While waiting for their fights, boxers are also required to wear face shields or masks all the time. (Photo: Sayan Chuenudomsavad)
Muay Thai new normal 2020
Referees go New Normal too with plastic partitions along with protective gears. (Photo: Sayan Chuenudomsavad)