Rajadamnern Stadium opened its doors in 1945. The cost of construction was 258,900 baht which was probably a fortune back then but wouldn’t be enough to build a Muay Thai gym these days, let alone an 8,000 capacity arena.

With Lumpinee Stadium having moved from its original destination to be completely rebuilt on the outskirts of town Rajadamnern has emerged as the epicentre for Thailand’s Muay Thai scene. But the 77 year old stadium has undergone a rapid modernization this year.

A state of the art sound system and lighting rig has been installed.. Bare knuckle boxing, the combat sport that is sweeping the world, will be held there for the first time in September.

But perhaps the biggest change is that female fighters will now be allowed to compete:

Female fights

On Friday Aida Looksaikongdin and Zahra Venum Muay Thai  will make history when they become the first female fighters to compete at the decades old stadium. The event will be broadcast live on television in Thailand by Workpoint TV.

Earlier this week it was announced that Buakaw Banchamek would be fighting at Rajadamnern for the first time since 2004. In the past the biggest names in Muay Thai have outgrown the Bangkok stadiums.

But Buakaw’s return is symbolic because it shows that Rajadamnern is developing mainstream appeal. In the past the audience had consisted primarily of gamblers with a handful of tourists at ringside.

That demographic appears to be shifting as Muay Thai slowly starts to recover in the post pandemic era.

Historic moment

Buakaw appeared on a giant billboard in New York’s Times Square to promote the Rajadamnern World Series which is ongoing. The fights in this tournament are all three rounders, whereas Muay Thai is traditionally five rounds.

There is one female tournament which is taking place in the flyweight (112lbs) division. In total there are eight fighters involved in each of the tournaments, divided into two separate groups.

On Friday night there are two fights in Group A. The Star Sit Chor take on Milagros Andrea Lopez but the honour of being the first ever female fighters to compete at Rajadamnern looks set to go to Aida Looksaikongdin and Zahra Venum Muay Thai.

It will be a historic moment in a stadium that has plenty of history. The stakes are high too, there is a million baht on the line for the tournament winners as well as the brand new RSW belt.