Toward Muaythai in the Olympics – IFMA Stephan Fox Interview

Muaythai in the Olympics – where are we at? Any chance to talk with Stephan Fox, the General Secretary of IFMA and director of the two-decade long process of...
above, my full interview with Stephan Fox of the IFMA

Muaythai in the Olympics – where are we at?

Any chance to talk with Stephan Fox, the General Secretary of IFMA and director of the two-decade long process of trying to get Muaythai into the Olympics, is an amazing opportunity. I’ll admit that the first time I ever went to meet him, I was not sold on Muaythai in the Olympics – it felt like it would be a watered-down version of a sport and art I love a great deal and respect beyond measure. While I still have concerns about what changes are required for this inclusion, I realized then in speaking with Mr. Fox that my views were overly simplistic, evidenced by how complex the thinking and considerations are that go into all the work that Mr. Fox does. All these complexities bring with them great benefits for people who really need them. He won me over then, in our first conversation. I am a fan and supporter of Muaythai in the Olympics I have it as a goal as a fighter to represent the United States when it does become an Olympic sport (if not in Paris in 2024, Los Angeles in 2028), something I undoubtedly believe Stephan Fox will make happen. I was really looking forward to talking to him again, and sharing his vision with my readers. He’s a passionate, driven man. In this interview we discuss the current state of Muaythai inclusion in the 2024 Paris Olympics, where we are at in the process (note: the chances may not be great at this point, he soberly tells me, but they are still possible), and importantly we talk about what some of the developmental projects and IFMA values that are part of the road to Olympics; we touch on gender equality and how internationalization puts pressure on countries to improve in this area, which is never a bad thing – never; and Mr. Fox talks about regulations and policies for children fighting in Thailand, which is a very current topic here, and about some really interesting possible rule changes to the IFMA scoring system to make matches more exciting and challenging (I like those!). For me, one of the consistently amazing things about speaking with Stephan Fox is seeing how there is no “one goal” in the long, long process of getting Muaythai in the Olympics.. We’re all looking at the ship and are unaware of the whole ocean underneath it that causes the swells and dips to make it move.

Stephan Fox and me, I’m a big fan and supporter – photo credit: Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu

Some of Our Thoughts on the Interview

You can listen to some of my and Kevin’s thoughts on the interview, a few days after we conducted it, in particular on Child Fighters and the overall IFMA push to the Olympics in our Muay Thai Bones Podcast episode #3. We don’t just talk about the interview, it’s nearly a 3 hr podcast, but it is part of what we cover, watch and listen below:

above, the Muay Thai Bones podcast episode #3

episode 3
1. Child Fighting In Thailand
2. Muay Thai in the Olympics
3. Modernization
4. Concussion Concerns
5. Captain Marvel
6. Kara Lowenthal – autonomy
7. Southpaw vs Orthodox
8. Dieselnoi Watching Over ….& 9. Boonlai’s Session – Phrasing

Find out more about the Muay Thai Bones podcast here.

You can support all this unique Muay Thai journalistic content as a patron, and get access to tons of Muay Thia documentary footage and commentary, the suggested pledge is $5: Patreon.com/sylviemuay

You can support this content: Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu on Patreon
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A 100 lb. (46 kg) female Muay Thai fighter. Originally I trained under Kumron Vaitayanon (Master K) and Kaensak sor. Ploenjit in New Jersey. I then moved to Thailand to train and fight full time in April of 2012, devoting myself to fighting 100 Thai fights, as well as blogging full time. Having surpassed 100, and then 200, becoming the westerner with the most fights in Thailand, in history, my new goal is to fight an impossible 471 times, the historical record for the greatest number of documented professional fights (see western boxer Len Wickwar, circa 1940), and along the way to continue documenting the Muay Thai of Thailand in the Muay Thai Library project: see patreon.com/sylviemuay

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