Some time around the early part of this decade, mixed martial arts transitioned from being a playground for the boys to a place where women also had a seat at the table. In Muay Thai, that evolution has taken longer.

The big stadiums in Thailand still don’t have female fights, and at the venues that do, women are expected to enter the ring under the lowest rope out of superstition.

But Stamp Fairtex dances to the beat of her own drum. She enters the ring over the second rope, showed off her dance moves earlier this year in her ring walk at ONE: ‘Call To Greatness’, and isn’t shy about raising her arms after a dominant round.

Her goal is to show that Thai female competitors have more to offer than their looks. They can also fight.

“I think it’s very important for females to have a role in Muay Thai,” the 21-year-old Stamp tells Asianmma.com.

“Especially this generation, we want to show to the people that female have the ability to perform well or even better than men. I have to be a good role model for female fighters.”

Rising talent

The rising talent from Pattaya, Thailand will put her atomweight Muay Thai championship on the line this Saturday at ONE: ‘Legendary Quest’ in Shanghai . She is going up against Australian Alma Juniku and expects an entertaining bout,

“My opponent this Saturday night is fast and aggressive. She likes to put a lot of pressure on her opponents, and moves with speed. I will try to put the pressure on her as well. I want to give the fans an exciting show,” said Stamp.

“Muay Thai is my way of life and I’ve been training since I was a child. I just want to give my family a better life. I also want to make women all over the world proud,” she added.

If it seems like Stamp is overselling her opponent, she’s not. Juniku, just 18, is already the WBC bantamweight Muay Thai champion, and is making her debut with ONE. Like Stamp, the Brisbane native comes from a fighting family, and is looking to take the world stage after making a name in her home country,

“I am excited for this Saturday night’s main event. I’m physically and mentally ready for anything. On the biggest stage of ONE Championship, I want to introduce myself and what I’m all about,” said Juniku. 

Multiple codes

A veteran of an estimated 80 Muay Thai fights, Stamp made her promotional debut in July, 2018 with Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series. She needed just two kicks – one to the leg and one to the head – to finish Rashi Shinde in 19 seconds on her MMA debut.

Then she moved over to kickboxing against Kai Ting Chuang at ONE: ‘Kingdom of Heroes’, winning a unanimous decision over the ONE atomweight kickboxing champion to earn a belt in a second sport. Kickboxing still gave her the ability to use her knees, her specialty in Muay Thai, but she was warned twice in round one for throwing her opponent to the canvas, highlighting the difference between the codes.

Her toughest opponent, she says, came at ONE: ‘Call to Greatness’ in February where she faced the tough-as-nails American Janet Todd. Todd’s quick hands gave Stamp issues, but Stamp’s proficiency in catch-and-counter scenarios ultimately made the difference in retaining her Muay Thai championship.

Her goal is to win a world championship in a third sport and adding to her solitary MMA win,

“I hope after this fight I get to concentrate on my MMA,” said Stamp.

First she has to concentrate on her fight with Juniku, which will be the show’s main event. She finds inspiration in her family and gym, and knows she has to rise to the occasion to keep the momentum going, both for her career and the sports she represents,

“Chances don’t come easily so I have to do my best when people around me have hope for me,” said Stamp.