The first big Covid-19 cluster in Thailand was linked to the two main Muay Thai stadiums in Bangkok. Since then the sport has been in decline with the lack of a live audience reducing the income for fighters and promoters.
Some of the biggest names in the sport were forced to look elsewhere for employment. Muangthai PKSaenchaigym, who had commanded one of the highest purses in Thailand, even stopped fighting and opened an auto repair shop.
Events have slowly started to return but without live audiences. That all changes tomorrow night when Rajadamnern welcomes back a live audience and Buriram plays host to the biggest card of the year.
Travel restrictions have gutted Thailand’s tourism industry. But with the vaccination rollout well underway sporting events are starting to return to something more closely resembling ‘normal’.
The Rajadamnern card doesn’t feature too many big names. But fans in Buriram will get to witness some huge fights with Seksan Or Kwanmuang facing Thanonchai Fairtex in the main event.
These two have fought six times and they both have a fan friendly style. Thanonchai is from Buriram so is sure to have the fans behind him but Seksan has beaten him three times in a row.
The card, which will be broadcast on Amarin TV in Thailand, also features Sangmanee Sor Tienpo. The former child prodigy remains one of the biggest draws for Muay Thai fans and has been matched with rising star Tapaokaew Singmawynn.
Without a live audience in attendance the atmosphere at recent Muay Thai events has been a bit eery. At Lumpinee Stadium they even moved the ring to the car park to reduce the risk of Covid-19 infections.
But the sport is slowly getting back to its feet and tomorrow promises to be a big day for Muay Thai. Fans in both Buriram and Bangkok will finally get to witness live fights again.