Muay Thai is often referred to as ‘The Art of Eight Limbs’ and has been around since the end of the 19th century. In the decades that followed, Muay Thai stadiums were built around the country and the sport developed massively.
Certain Thai stadiums are the epitome of greatness for many fighters. In this article, we will discuss some of the most important Muay Thai stadiums in Thailand based on their prestige, history, and importance in Muay Thai culture.
Let’s dive in.
What Is A Thai Boxing Stadium Champion?
A stadium in Thailand can host thousands of fights each year, allowing many gyms and camps to win competitions and work their way through the ranks to gain prominent positions within the Stadium.
Stadiums are not only a venue for fighters to showcase their skills. Some stadiums are more prestigious and mean more to a fighter and their camp than winning in other stadiums. These stadiums are usually known to host the more skilful fighters and champions.
Every Muay Thai stadium has a title of its own, which when won represents the champion and best fighter of that stadium at that moment. Winning a stadium title in either the Rajadamnern Boxing Stadium or the Lumpinee Stadium is one of the most prestigious achievements in Muay Thai.
Every championship belt has a varying level of competition. What makes a stadium unique is the fact that it can choose the best gyms and best promoters to compete in its ring.
Rajadamnern Boxing Stadium
The Rajadamnern Boxing Stadium is one of the most prestigious venues to compete in as a fighter in the world. This stadium is internationally recognized and features fights with both Thai Fighters and international Nak Muay.
The stadium was built in 1941 in Bangkok and was commissioned by prime minister Field Marshal P. Pibulsongkram. Due to the second world war the project took a while to be built and was finished in 1945.
The Rajadamnern Boxing Stadium is open 50 weeks a year, 4 times a week, and hosts about 200 events and 3600 fights in a year. The Rajadamnern Boxing Stadium is seen as one of the two most prestigious within Thailand.
Fighters often have to prove themselves in other stadiums first before being able to compete here. The stadium operates on a national level rather than a regional one.
The Lumpinee Stadium
The Lumpinee Stadium opened in 1956 and is one of the most famous and prestigious in Bangkok, and Thailand as a whole.
Winning a Lumpinee Stadium title is considered one of the most difficult titles to obtain as a Muay Thai fighter. The Lumpinee Stadium is very exclusive and many fighters have no chance to be able to compete in the venue. Only the best are allowed within the stadium. Currently, there are only 11 promoters allowed to choose fighters to compete in the stadium.
The Lumpinee Stadium is also different from other stadiums as it is managed by the Army Welfare Department of the Thai Army. The profits of the ticket sales earned by the events and competitions go to aiding the Thai army. This shows how much Muay Thai is actually ingrained within the overall Thai culture.
The Lumpinee and Rajadamnern Boxing Stadiums have had many Muay Thai legends as their champions and were home to some of the biggest fights the sport has ever seen. There are no other stadiums on their level, but there are some other honourable mentions.
The Channel 7 Stadium
Although not the most prestigious nor biggest stadium in Thailand, the Channel 7 Stadium offers something extra. Channel 7 TV’s station has its own Muay Thai Stadium, in which the fights are broadcast live from the stadium.
In contrast to Lumpinee and Rajadamnern Boxing Stadium, watching and attending the fights is free of charge. This venue is generally less attractive for a lot of foreigners as the Thai culture is clearly visible.
You have to be very interested in Muay Thai, as there are a lot of up-and-comers here that are trying to work their way into the other two bigger stadiums.
These fights can sometimes be considered less spectacular and the pace of the fight can be lower as well. Furthermore, there is a lot of gambling and the seating is not as comfortable as in other stadiums.
If you are an avid fan of Muay Thai, you will enjoy the authentic experience of a Channel 7 Muay Thai event.
The Thaphae Stadium
The Thaphae Stadium is located in the North of Thailand in Chiang Mai and is famous for mixing it up between traditional Thai Boxing and western influences.
Many foreign fighters try their luck in this stadium whilst immersing themselves in the Muay Thai scene in Thailand.
The Thaphae Stadium is known for its entertaining shows and attracts a lot of tourists to its venue. Previously, the stadium also showed ladyboy cabaret shows alongside hosting Muay Thai events.
The Thaphae Stadium is one of the last places in Thailand where there are still actual ‘Muay Boran’ fights being shown.
Bangla Boxing Stadium
Phuket, a small island in the south of Thailand, has the biggest Muay Thai Gym and Stadium density per square meter in all of Thailand. Bangla Stadium holds some of the most prestigious fights in Phuket featuring fighters from around the globe.
The island is known for its party and beach culture. It is, therefore, a popular destination for many tourists from all over the world. However, another reason Phuket attracts foreigners is the rich Muay Thai culture.
There are some big gyms in Phuket that are home to many foreign Muay Thai and MMA fighters, such as Tiger Muay Thai and AKA Thailand. Tiger Muay Thai even has some UFC champions under its wing. Phuket has become a worldwide phenomenon when it comes to fighting. A lot of foreign fighters come to train and fight in Phuket.
One of the stadiums where new fighters try their luck is the Bangla Boxing Stadium. This stadium hosts many fights between both Thai and foreign fighters. The quality of the fights can vary drastically at Bangla stadium. It’s not uncommon to see a foreigner having their first fight on the same card as an ex-world champion. That’s the beauty of Muay Thai in Thailand.
Patong Boxing Stadium
In Phuket, there are many Muay Thai stadiums and tourists have multiple venues to choose from every day of the week. However, the Patong Boxing Stadium is the stage for some of the biggest fights in Phuket.
Winning the Patong Boxing Stadium title is highly respected and foreign fighters can make a name for themselves here. The stadium likes to put on a show and there are many different seats per price class.
The prize purses in this stadium are generally bigger than in other Phuket stadiums and so is the entrance price. However, many will argue it’s worth it.
Max Muay Thai Stadium Pattaya
If we are talking about stadiums putting on a show, then the MAX Muay Thai Stadium Pattaya cannot be forgotten.
The stadium was built in 2014 and has been very popular in Thailand ever since. Every year, four fighters win silver MAX Muay Thai belts and have to compete against each other to win the gold MAX Muay Thai belt and a one million baht prize fund.
The stadium has hosted many great champions that have proven themselves legends in other stadiums, such as Lumpinee and Rajadamnern Boxing Stadium. Some of the greatest champions the stadium has known are Buakaw Banchamek, Sittichai Sitsongpeenong, and Rodtang Jitmuangnon.
The stadium host big fight events every Friday in a fully packed stadium. These events are also shown on tv on Channel 8, hosted by some famous commentators and fighters. The reason the viewer count is this high is due to the show they put on. In contrast to most other stadiums, they have ring girls promoting the fight, lotteries for the audience, fighter bonuses, and prizes for the spectators.
Another big factor for promoting exciting fights is the implementation of shorter rounds and fewer rounds overall. Due to this, the fighters do not need to preserve as much energy and are much more active, which makes watching the fights more spectacular.
What To Expect At A Muay Thai Stadium In Thailand?
Muay Thai events are packed with a lot of excitement, gambling, and idolization of the fighters.
At the beginning of the matches, fighters do a Wai Khru. This is a ceremonial routine in which fighters pay respect to their trainers and get mentally ready for their fight. It gives an extra show for the public and is a tradition in Muay Thai culture.
Some stadiums in Thailand try to do something a little extra in their venues to attract more visitors. This can include fights between multiple Muay Thai fighters, sometimes blindfolded or at the same time. There can also be some choreographed fights designed to entertain the audience.
What Is The Best Muay Thai Stadium In Thailand?
So what is the best Muay Thai Stadium in Thailand? Well, it depends on what you are looking for!
Thailand is home to hundreds of Muay Thai stadiums. Stadiums range from the prestigious Rajadanerm Stadium that features some of the best Muay Thai fighters on the planet to Thapae Stadium that caters to farang fighters and tourists.
If you are a Nak Muay looking to test your skills in Thailand, the chances are you will compete in one of these Muay Thai stadiums.
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