This post is about an Instagram photography project that gives light to the female Thai faces of Chiang Mai Muay Thai (and male faces too). You can check out that Instagram here. This post is also about the streaming of those fighters in fights. Little known is that you can, for free, watch streaming live female Thai fighting every single night of the week from Thapae Stadium. Tune into livebox.me at about 9pm Thai time and check out the Chiang Mai fights. There are two female bouts on every card, every night of the week.
above, me watching streaming female Thai fights on my mini-laptop
I’ve written about why, with its four stadia and growing strength and numbers of local female Thai fighters, Chiang Mai boasts the best female fighting not only in Thailand, but also very likely the world. Read about that here: Why Chiang Mai Has the Best Female Fighting in the World.
Sebastian has this very rare experience of working as a commentator for the fights at Thapae Stadium in Chiang Mai, every night of the week. He was living, training and fighting out of Lanna Muay Thai and then broke his arm in a fight, which put him out of fighting for a long period of time. That’s what got him into the gig of being the English language commentator for the fights (there’s also a Thai commentator). This is a really cool thing for Sebastian to have moved into and, by his account, being able to call fights has allowed him to keep developing as a fighter – watching the fights and making observations has put him in a mental gym, so to speak, for months. And, of course, watching the more familiar faces at the stadium fighting frequently has turned Sebastian into a fan of quite a few of these fighters, including (and for some of them, especially) young Thai women.
He started a project that he calls “Faces of Muay Thai,” for which he photographs fighters after they exit the ring and writes a very short bio, sometimes just their names and what he likes about how they fight or why he wanted to photograph them, and then posts this to Instagram and his FB page. I absolutely love this project. Thai fighters are to the west a largely anonymous group and, in my own small effort, it has been really important to me to record the names of my opponents rather than just referring to “a Thai” as the person I shared the ring with. Over the years I’ve been here, I’ve rematched the same women or come to know them by following their fights through Muay Thai news, and so I’ve become a fan of some. Male fighters and female fighters are covered in the same news publications, but certainly not the same extent and, indeed, women’s Muay Thai is often relegated to its own column. So, to see Sebastian’s complimentary words on the fighting styles and hearts of fighters, both male and female, is exciting to me. You really get to see the fighters. The fighters of Thapae Stadium tend to be from their middle teens to their late 20s. The skill level will vary, most fights will be Thai vs Thai and most will be evenly matched (gambling tends to level the playing field, you are weighed when the doctor checks you); and sometimes there will be elite Thai female fighters on the card.
A hard win by decision because Phetthawans opponent was so strong hearted today. John asked me why I am not taking a pic of her opponent. I took a photo of Phetthawan because I like the style of the Gym from Lampang. She is that kind of female technical fighters that makes Muay Thai look so easy and beautiful. Long, fast hands and kicks, a very controlled clinch and a smooth, tall body. I beat her trainer once and thats why I always look very close to Payaklampangs fighters and I really like her trainer and I try to help him when he fights foreigners (he is also 10kg heavier then me). I don’t know why but he is a scared, nervous fighter and last time I said to him, in my stupid thai: ‘hands up, watch his eyes, no fear, low-kick, low-kick, clinch, knee, knee!’ I cornered him, kept on saying this all the time in a very broken thai, he did it, won and then we laughed: ‘see! farang easy!’
Name: เพชรบ้านฝาง – Phetbaanfang
Win by decision. She is a pretty short fighter but she never shows reflexes of fearness against high-kicks and long hands by the opponent. She waits the first two rounds to make her opponent feel safe and confident then Phetbaanfang comes with good steps forward (I don’t know how she figured out the distance), strong hands and kicks. And the whole time she moves with a calm and firmness that always impresses me. She also did not open her mouth to breath once. Thats why I took a photo of her. (I literally could feel her mental strenght by looking in my cam)
Name: ใบเฟิร์น (Baifern)
loss by decision
Again I upload a picture of Nongfoam. I think right now she is the strongest fighter of 46kg in our stadium and she is only 16 years old. It seems like fighting her is unquestionably. She is a professional! Her competition is not only beautiful (her standing, moving, smiling) its also brutal. Her clinch is outstanding controlled, she comes with ellbows from everywhere and muscles the opponent down. There is so much I could say about her technique but for me its also about her beautiful radiance.
I really hope to see her facing Sylvie von Duuglas one day in Thapae Stadium.
Yodyutyings opponent destroyed her – in the distance, in the clinch, in such an easy-looking technical performance which is typical for her opponents gym called Phettonpeung. It must have been frustrating and after the fight I could see it in Yodyutyings face but for me she was the one who was fighting the most in this competition because when your the fighter with the technical disadvantage, then you have to do the better competition and she tried with no signs of tiredness. She was strong 5 Rounds and fought, also when she lost, I took a photo of her because of the spirit, not to give up and to stay focused and controlled. She was frustrated, for sure, but for looking in my cam she had this beautiful smile. I appreciate that mental strength.
So, give Faces of Muay Thai a follow on Instagram to see the people behind the gloves of Thai female fighting in the North, and help break down the cultural barriers that divide western female fighters from those of Thailand.
And remember, you can see Thai female fighting every single night of the week at livebox.me (9 pm Thai time).