Boxing fever grips Thailand’s boys but doctors raise health concerns

UNTV News   •   February 13, 2018   •   3014

Nanthawat Pomsod, 11, who is a child boxer, fights Kritthonglek Sitkritthongkam during a boxing match at a temple in Buriram province, Thailand, February 2, 2018. REUTERS/Prapan Chankeaw

BURIRAM, Thailand (Reuters) – Loud cheers erupt as two boys trade punches at a boxing ring in Thailand’s northeastern province of Buriram.

After dominating five rounds, the winner is declared; 11-year-old Nanthawat Promsod, who is better known by his boxing name – “Super Big Saksandee”.

He earned 3,000 baht ($94.34) for winning the fight, and earns 1,500 baht ($47.17) for each match-up that he takes part in.

He is one of at least 10 boxers aged 15 or less in the district of Satuk, where nearly every village has a boxing camp.

“Muay Thai”, or Thai boxing, is said to be 2,000 years old. Known as “The Art of Eight Limbs”, it makes extensive use of elbows, hands, knees and feet.

Thailand’s national sport is increasingly popular overseas too but in this Southeast Asian country it can provide a way out of poverty, as those who climb to the top of the sport can earn a lot of money.

The country’s rural northeast is home to most star boxers who have gone on to win international recognition, such as welterweight Buakaw Banchamek, a two-time K-1 World MAX champion.

Hailing from Surin province, Buakaw, 35, started fighting when he was eight years old, and won his first international kickboxing tournament in 2004 in Tokyo.

Nanthawat wants to follow in his footsteps.

“I want to become a champion,” said Nanthawat, who has had 40 fights over a two-year career and in recent months has won more than 10 consecutive fights. “I will be proud if I win at least one championship belt.”

But as more Thai children, even some preschoolers, flock to Muay Thai, physicians and children’s rights bodies warn the sport could cause chronic health problems, such as neurological disorders.

Jiraporn Laothamatas, a neuroradiologist and director of Thailand’s Advanced Diagnostic Imaging Center (AIMC), said a five-year study she conducted showed patterns of brain damage and memory loss in young fighters, compared to non-boxing peers.

“There’s no safe boxing, because you can see that when even adult boxers get old, they also get Parkinson’s disease because of the brain damage caused,” Jiraporn said.

More than 10,000 Muay Thai fighters are younger than 15, the Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT) said last year. But experts say that figure could be 20 times higher because not all child boxers are registered.

Still, some parents and trainers argue that Muay Thai teaches children discipline and is a valuable source of income.

“The money Nanthawat earns from boxing, we save for him,” said his father and trainer, Ong-arj Promsod, 36. “Whenever we are short of money, I give him that money as daily allowance for school.”

Reporting by Prapan Chankaew; Writing by Patpicha Tanakasempipat; Editing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Clarence Fernandez and Neil Fullick

IBF world champ Jerwin Ancajas receives hero’s welcome from PHL Navy

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 11, 2019

IBF World super flyweight champion and Navy reservist, Jerwin ‘Pretty Boy’ Ancajas received a hero’s welcome from the Philippine Navy after defending his title.

Ancajas was welcomed by the officers and enlisted personnel of the Naval Reserve Command during his arrival at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), Terminal 1 on (Wednesday) December 11.

He successfully defended his IBF World super flyweight title for the 8th time after defeating Chilean challenger Miguel Gonzales via TKO after a six-round demolition at Auditorio GNP Seguros, Puebla City, Mexico last December 8.

“SCPO Jerwin J Ancajas PN(Res) brought pride, honor and glory not only to the Philippine Navy but to the entire nation in general,” according to the post of the Philippine Navy.—AAC

Nesthy Petecio punches gold in SEA Games boxing

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 9, 2019

Nesthy Petecio (L) of Philippines celebrates after winning gold in the Boxing Women’s Featherweight (57kg) final match against Ni Nwe Oo (L) of Myanmar at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Manila, Philippines, 09 December 2019. EPA-EFE/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

Philippine boxing bet Nesthy Petecio clinched another gold for the Philippines in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games women’s featherweight finals on Monday (December 9).

Petecio defeated Myanmar’s New Ni Oo by a unanimous decision. This is Petecio’s first SEA Games gold and the sixth gold medal for the Philippine boxing team.

In an interview with reporters, Petecio said that at first she felt pressured and nervous in going to the finals.

“Ang bigat po talaga, lalo na nung sasabihin nila ‘nanalo ka sa world so panalong-panalo ka na rito’, (It felt really heavy, especially when they said ‘you won in the world so you can win this’)” she said.

She recalled that she just prayed and stopped thinking about all the pressure in order for her to focus on the game.—AAC

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Inoue lets Donaire borrow Muhammad Ali trophy for his sons

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 8, 2019

Naoya Inoue (L) of Japan lets Filipino-American boxer Nonito Donaire (R) borrow the Muhammad Ali trophy for his sons after the latter bowed to the Japanese by unanimous decision on Thursday at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.  (Photo: World Boxing Super Series Instagram Account)

After winning the bantamweight championship of the World Boxing Super Series, Naoya Inoue lets Nonito Donaire borrow Muhammad Ali trophy in order to fulfill a promise to his sons.

In his Facebook post, Donaire said he promised his sons that he would take home the trophy if he wins his fight against Inoue for the bantamweight championship on Thursday (November 7) at Saitama Super Arena in Japan.

But Inoue won by unanimous decision and is set to take home the championship.

“I humbly asked Inoue to borrow it for a night, not for me but for my word. It’ll be a life lesson my boys will soon learn,” Donaire said in his post.

“It’ll pain them to see my face. They’ll kiss my wounds. They’ll see a trophy we don’t get to take home and understand what it means to want to train harder,” he added.—AAC

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