Bangkok has two legendary “Temples of Muay Thai”, built in the 50’s and still in business today. To enter the ring at Lumpini or at Rajadamnern is the ultimate dream of every Muay Thai fighter. The most iconic of the two, the Lumpini Boxing Stadium on Rama 4 Rd, has been demolished in 2014 to make way for another unnecessary shopping mall. A piece of Muay Thai history obliterated quickly and in cold blood. Anyway, here below you can read the history of the most famous “sanaam muay” (boxing arenas) of Thailand.
Lumpini Boxing Stadium
Lumpini Stadium was established on the eighth of December, 1956. It’s one of Thailand’s seven standard arenas and it has become the standing symbol of Muay Thai worldwide. Even though it was built after the Rajadamnern Stadium, Lumpini is the “Temple of Muay Thai”, the venue where every nak muay wishes to fight one day.
Main objectives of the Lumpini Stadium
* To manage and work according to government’s policy; part of the income from tickets sales must be donated for the benefit of the society;
* To develop the stadium into an internationally recognized stadium and to make Muay Thai known to the international community;
* To promote and create more international boxing champions;
* To co-operate with the Thai Boxing Association to encourage Thai boxers in receiving the Olympic Gold Medal;
* To be sure that all promoters organize appropriate events and charge fair prices;
* To develop a good standard practice in judging Muay Thai to be used a standard nationwide;
* To provide safety for the spectators and their personal belongings and to prevent any cheating inside the arena;
* To co-operate with Thai Boxing Association, the Rajadamnern Boxing Stadium, other stadiums and related institutions to achieve the same purposes;
* To maintain the good established relationship with the media and the public;
Guidelines regarding fight promoters:
* Must bring a good quality camp and his fighters under management;
* Must be willing to work hard;
* Must work for the interest of the boxing community;
* Must follow the stadium’s policies;
* Must have the discipline proper of the military;
* Must match compatible fighters in order to ensure enjoyable fights at a fair price;
* Must have excellent personal relations with all people involved in the boxing community;
* Must not tarnish the image of Lumpini Stadium in any way;
Rajadamnern Boxing Stadium
Former Prime Minister Field Marshal P. Pibulsongkram ordered a national boxing stadium to be built on Rajadamnern Avenue in 1941. The office of the Crown Property was assigned to carry out the project. Imprese Italiane All’Estero-Oriente won the construction contract to build the stadium in 1941. The project, still unfinished, was stopped during World War II due to the lack of construction supplies. When WWII ended, the construction resumed in August 1945. It took only four months to complete and the national boxing arena was ready for its first match in December 23.
During the seven years of operation under the office of the Crown Property, Rajadamnern boxing stadium ran at loss. The office planned to give up its operation and offered to rent it to private organization (under the condition that the organization must be owned by a Thai company). Mr Chalerm, who was still stadium manager, thought that it would not be suitable to let outsiders run the stadium. He, therefore, asked permission from the office of the Crown Property to run the stadium and founded the “Rajadamnern Co Ltd” in May 24, 1953. Nowadays the Rajadamnern Stadium is in direct competition with Lumpini, especially after Mr. Songchai Ratanasuban, the top organizer of Muay Thai events, left Lumpini to work with the Rajadamnern’s management. Both venues offer the best fights and the most entertaining international tournaments. Both places now seek international exposure allowing non-Thai fighter to compete in Thailand. Both places also have a double price policy, selling tickets to tourists at much higher prices. Prices are the same at both venues. It will be difficult to buy a normal sit for non-Thais, as foreigners are pressured to buy ring-seat tickets at 1500 THB.
The following locations also have regular weekly matches, but fighters are considered of a lower class. Anyway, it’s more fun to watch Muay Thai at these places, located in the outskirts of Bangkok. There is no official overcharging for non-Thais, hardly any tourist in sight, and fights are somehow more “real”. In those rings, fighters are not making it yet, both in terms of earnings and fame, So they try harder. The crowds are wild and the atmosphere it’s more “exotic” and real.
Channel 7 Boxing Stadium
Located behind the Skytrain depot at Mochit BTS station, this is the place where most of the fights on TV are held. Fight Schedule: Sundays, from 1.45 PM, third Wednesday of each month starting at 12.00 noon. Free admission!
Rangsit Boxing Stadium
336/932 Prachathipat Road, Rangsit, Pathumthani Fight Nights: Wednesdays & Thursdays from 8.30 PM. Ticket Prices: about 350 THB
Muay Samrong Boxing Stadium
Samrong Road, Samutprakarn Fight Nights: Fridays and Sundays, from 8.30 PM Ticket Prices: about 250 THB
Omnoy Boxing Stadium
74 Moo 12 Tumbon Omnoy, Amphoe Krathumbaen, Samutsakorn Fight Schedule: Saturdays from 11.45 AM Tickets: about 200 THB
International Stadium Chachoengsao
23/22 Moo 6 Thepkunakorn Road, Tumbon Sothorn, Amphoe Muang, Chachoengsao Fight Schedule: Sundays, from 4.00 pm Tickets: 200 THB
Samrong Boxing Stadium
Samrong Road, Samutprakarn Tel: (662) 393-3592 Fight Nights: Fridays and Sundays, from 8.30 p.m Ticket Prices: 100 Baht for women, 200 Baht for men
Omnoy Boxing Stadium
74 Moo 12 Tumbon Omnoy, Amphoe Krathumbaen, Samutsakorn Tel: (662) 420-4317 Fight Schedule: Saturdays from 11.45 a.m. Tickets: 200 Baht
International Boxing Stadium Chachoengsao
23/22 Moo 6 Thepkunakorn Road, Tumbon Sothorn, Amphoe Muang, Chachoengsao Tel: (66-38) 821-746-50 Fight Schedule: Sundays, from 4.00 p.m. Tickets: 200 Baht