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Synopsis of the Lohm Muay Story: Fahwanmai Threw His Fight and Sia Boat Responded


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You can see the phantom "knockout" elbow here

Just a quick synopsis of the "Lohm Muay" story, from what I picked up watching the story in Thai. Fahwanmai, whose name means "sky of a new day" was taken under Sia Boat's wing after he  great deal of money gambling on a fight that Sangmanee lost. Sia Boat paid off the debt and took Fahwanmai in (named him as well) to the very powerful Petchyindee gym where he has become an internet celebrity and fighter since. He's fought maybe 4-5 times for Petchyindee and most recently against Lahnyamo Wor. Wattana in a televised show in Buriram. Fahwanmai was winning rounds 1-3 and then suddenly going into round 4 the odds suddenly shifted to favor Lahnyamo (5/2). Then in that round it looked like Fahwanmai suddenly couldn't handle his opponent and he was knocked out by an elbow, leaving him writhing on the canvas. Slow motion replay showed the elbow barely grazed him and the cries of a thrown fight were immediately circulating online. There is video of Sia Boat calling on the phone and Fahwanmai backstage swearing he didn't throw the fight. By the next day he had written a confession and named both who hired him and the price (500,000 baht with 30,000 of it up front). Sia Boat then went live for an hour on Facebook and detailed the situation (with more than 20,000 viewers), as well as naming the culprit as Udom Chalee (pictured below), the former head of a gym who 25 years ago paid a fighter named Chalamkaw to throw a fight, ruining his career as a fighter in a very famous case. Now Chalee owns and runs a buffalo farm in Nakhon Naiyok. Sia Boat intends to prosecute both Udom Chalee and Fahwanmai with a hoped result of jail time for both. He has also divulged that another fighter on a recent card was offered to take a dive but refused, told Sia Boat, won his fight and Sia boat has given the gambler the option to turn himself in for a light punishment or else if he doesn't come forward Sia Boat intends to prosecute him fully as well. Gambling in Muay Thai is at the forefront of "politics" at the moment and, while circumstantially legal, in a Buddhistic culture it is a morally loaded topic.

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above: Sia Boat Petchyindee, Fahwanmai and Udom Chalee previously

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For even more context on this, Sia Boat is kind of the big next generation promoter and gym owner of today's Muay Thai. He's been very active trying to foster a new unity image of the sport, and this move to embrace Fahwanmai, who maybe typified what many, broadly in the country may feel is wrong with Muay Thai, the nakleng, the gambler. By taking Fahwanmai under his wing he was symbolically offering refuge to a class of people who had been under great scrutiny ever since the Muay Thai community took the huge hit of a blame for the initial COVID cluster (which centered on Lumpinee stadium). Lumpinee shut down, the military also permanently closed two important uncountry stadia under the auspices of ridding its of gambling influence, and the new Lumpinee promotions are taking very stark - but perhaps unsuccessful? - stances against gambling, at this point even barring cell phones on the grounds. It's enough to say that Sia Boat's bold, symbolic move to "save" Fahwanmai took a terrible turn with this thrown fight. Yes, pretty much everyone agrees that gamblers have too much influence on fights, able to move the odds during the fight, and nearly force particular wins and loses, but, the act of gambling on fights is deeply woven into the culture and passion of Muay Thai. Sia Boat was seeking a way to embrace a possible future that includes the cohesive powers of gambling, while minimizing its very public abuse.

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This is a further update on this story, summing up what I've gotten from Thai news:

Sia Boat has proceeded in bringing charges against Fahwanmai (the fighter) and Udom Chalee (who paid for the thrown fight), which according to Thai law carries a prison sentence of no more than 5 years, and/or a fine of no more than 100,000 Baht (around $3000). Fahwanmai has given an account of how contact was first made with him (it's unclear, but sounds like there was a middle-man in this deal) by a man purchasing a food item that Fahwanmai sells and ships. The man purchased 2400 Baht worth of the food item and overpaid for it with a total of 5000 Baht. On his next order, he said not to waste money packaging and sending the goods, he'd come pick them up himself from Fahwanmai. They spoke on that day when he visited his home, casually, the man asking about any upcoming fights and how Fahwanmai's training was going. He didn't mention any deal at this point. Sometime after this, he contacted Fahwanmai again and told him it would be "better if you couldn't win" in his upcoming fight against Lahnyamo, suggesting he fight for real for 3 rounds and then go down in the 4th, which is exactly as it happened. According to Fahwanmai's testimony, the contact said he'd pay 30,000 Baht upfront (which he transferred on the day of the fight) and the remaining 470,000 Baht after. If Fahwanmai decided not to accept the deal it was "mai bpen rai," (no problem) but he couldn't tell anyone about the offer, carrying with it a threat that he knows where Fahwanmai lives, since he'd just come by to pick up the order of condiments he'd purchased in their second meeting. So, initially Fahwanmai had said he took the deal under threat of physical attack and not for the money, but in his testimony here he's claiming the threat of bodily hard was not for not taking the offer, but if he told anyone about it. After giving his testimony he begged Sia Boat to not send him to prison because he wants to work to take care of his mother and grandmother, and even asked for a now third chance to fight for Sia Boat again. Comments online have been making fun of this request, some quite harshly. Dieselnoi joked that if Sia Boat were to give Fahwanmai another chance he'd do well to change his fight name to "ai dek hia" which is a pretty rude way of saying "Little Bastard." The case is ongoing and Sia Boat has made no official statements other than that he is pressing forward with the charges and his interests are in protecting the Muay Thai Community from anyone who seeks to do it harm.
 
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above, Fahwanmai giving his story of events
 
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above, This photo is a television interview with both Fahwanmai and Sia Boat. Fahwanmai is asking for forgiveness and to not go to jail. Sia Boat said that prison is his karma for the choices he made and for the matter of fighting again, it would be a very difficult ask for anyone to trust him again. He has admitted to throwing 4 fights in his career as a fighter, fighting since he was a boy. 
 
 
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This is Chalamkaw, once a fighter at Udom Chalee's gym, who very famously threw a fight for him years ago. Yodkhunpon told me today that he was not fined or jailed, but his subsequent car accident and paralysis was viewed as a karmic consequence of lohm muay, by the Muay Thai community. 

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3 hours ago, 99sr220 said:

How old is Fahwanmai? Is throwing a fight a criminal matter or civil? If it's criminal, why is Sia Boat pursuing the case and not the police?

Sylvie said she thought he was maybe 18-20? We really don't know the legal structure of prosecution of cases like these, but because jail is a possibility it does read as a criminal matter. Usually if I understand it, aside from legal (jail/fine) issues, a fighter is often banned from the entire BKK stadia circuit.

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