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Japan Disaster Affecting the Livelihoods of Muay Thai Fighters

Thai boxing promoters and fighters alike are suffering
economically after the huge earthquake and tsunami that soaked
Japan has left much of Asia in disarray, as fights and promotions
are cancelled. These fears have been heightened further by an
earthquake striking the Myanmar / Thailand border in the early
hours of yesterday that measured 6.2 on the Richter Scale, followed
today by a 5.5 magnitude earthquake hitting Northern Thailand. A
sometimes overlooked factor of this terrible disaster is the
economic effect on surrounding countries – Japan is the most
economically developed country in the world and as a result,
tourism, trade, and the economy of the old ‘Tiger economies’ of
Asia have been affected. For a country as poor as Thailand, this
has serious consequences on their national sport, Muay Thai.

Buakaw Por Pramuk

There are many Muay Thai promotions in Japan and Australia, with
top Thai camps often sending their talent along. Pramuk Rojanatan,
owner of the world famous Por Pramuk boxing camp located to the
South East of Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, said all of his fighters
bouts on April 24th in Japan had been cancelled, losing wages of
100k baht, around £2000. Por Pramuk superstar Buakaw is scheduled
to fight in a Thai Fight tournament in Japan in August but fears it
may be cancelled. Buakaw has been a star attraction in Japan since
he won the K-1 title in 2004; paving the way for other Nak Muay’s
to compete in Japan. Buakaw, who reportedly earns around a million
baht (£20,000) per fight, will fight in a charity event on Sunday
to help raise money for Japan. Por Pramuk gym is famous for the
fighters it has produced including numerous Lumpinee Stadium
Champions such as Chokdee and Pornsawan and current WBC Light
Flyweight Champion Saichon and Kompayak. Boxing promoters in
Thailand have noted fewer Japanese tourists coming to Lumpini
recently and many are worried that if the trend doesn’t reverse
they may have to find new income streams. “Without Japan, I may
have to quit the boxing business in a few years,” Niwat said. “We
can’t make decent money from organising fights in Thailand.” Our
wishes are with everyone in Asia affected in anyway by these
tragedies.

*Credit for quotes to the Bangkok Post

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