Muay Thai Official Rules

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from the Ministry of Sport and Physical Education of Thailand

muay thai official rulesRule 1 – The ring

For an ordinary competition, the ring shall consist of the following: the ring must be square. The small size ring measures 20 feet (6.10 meters) each side and the big size ring measures 24 feet (7.30 meters) each side. The measurements is done by the inside of the ropes. There should be 3 ropes with the diameter of at least 1,90 centimeters each tied to the posts at the height of 18 inches, 35 inches, and 52 inches respectively. These ropes should be insulated with soft material and the  inside of their four corners covered with soft material. The ring should be safely constructed and raised from the ground without any obstacles. Its edge should protrude at least 70 centimeters from the ropes. It should be at least 4 feet above the ground and at most 5 feet. The posts should be of 4 x 4 inches in size and not higher than 58 inches from the ring floor. The four corners of the ring should be in good and tidy conditions and not endangering the competitors. The ring floor should have a layer such as the soft rubber sheet, straw mat, or cork board of the thickness of not less than 1,5 inches. This should be covered by canvas which is tightly stretched. the layer and the canvas should cover the whole ring area. There should be two ladders of not less than 3,5 feet at the opposite ends to allow the competitors, officials and trainers.

Rule 2 – Gloves
The boxer should wear gloves weighing not less than 4 ounces ad no more than 6 ounces. Do not change the shape, twist or crush the glove stuffing into a distorted shape.

Rule 3 – The hand bandage
If the standard surgical hand bandage of no more than 2 inches is used, its length for each hand should not exceed the following limits:
-flyweight to middleweights: 10 yards
-light heavyweight to heavyweight: 12 yards
A plaster bandage can also be used, if it is 1 inch wide and with a length of not less than 1 foot to secure the hand bandage. It is forbidden to use plaster bandage to bond round the knuckles.

Rules – Dress
The competitors shall be dressed as follows: the groin protector should be worn, whereas the mouth guard is optional. The pair of shorts worn (either red or blue) should be of the length of the upper thighs. The shirt and shoes shall not be worn. The toenails must be clipped short and tidy. The cotton laurel should be put on during the wai kruu only. The cloth talisman is allowed if it is tied to the upper arm or the waist securely and neatly. The ankle support is allowed, but not the bandage. The belt, any metal material, or necklace are not allowed. The use of Vaseline oil, muscle heating oil, fat, herbs, or any other material which might put the opponent at a disadvantage or to considered repugnant to him, on the face, arms, or the upper part of the body, and gloves is not allowed.

Rule 5 – The ring equipment
The ring must have the following equipment:
2 seats, 2 bottles of water, 2 jugs, 2 water buckets, 2 stools, desks and chairs for the officials, bell or gong with hammer, 1 or 2 time clocks, the score sheets, one first aid kit and a microphone.

Rule 6 – Divisions and weights applied in the competition:
bantamweight maximum weight 118 pounds
featherweight 126 pounds
lightweight 135 pounds
welterweight 147 pounds
middleweight 160 pounds
light heavyweight 175 pounds
heavyweight 175 pounds and over
The competitor shall be over 17 years of age but under 40 years of age.

Rule 7 – Weight measurements
The competitor must weigh in between 9 and 12 hours before the start of the competition. if the competitor is weighed and his weight appears to be over the limit, he is allowed to weigh in again but within 12.00 hrs time frame. If his weight is still over the limit then, the weighing is terminated. The competitor can weigh in naked or in the boxing attire without gloves. The competition shall not take place until at least 3 full hours after the end of weighing in time.
Before weighing, the competitor shall be examined by an appointed physician to see that is sufficiently healthy to compete. The competitor must compete in his own weight division (one division only). If the competitor who is a champion in the lower division, wishes to compete in a higher division, he is entitled to do so.

Rule 8 – Number of rounds
In normal competition, there shall be no more than 5 rounds of 3 minutes each, and a minimum of three rounds.
In Thailand’s championship final fight, there shall be no more than 6 rounds of 3 minute each. A minimum of not less than 5 rounds is required. Before the first round, every boxer must perform the wai kruu dance according to tradition. Only when the wai kruu is finished the fight can begin.

Rule 9 – Corner men
Each competitor is entitled to have 2 corner men on the following conditions:
-the corner men are not allowed to assist, advise, or support their boxer during the actual fighting.
-the corner men shall not be entitled to concede defeat on behalf of the competitor, unless there is a special agreement to that effect. In that case, the corner men can concede defeat on behalf of the boxers as in amateur boxing.
-during the course of the fight, the corner men and their assistants are not allowed to stay on the side of the ring. before the beginning of each round, they shall remove the towels, buckets etc from the side of the ring.
-the corner men of both sides, who will refresh their respective boxers, must be politely dressed according to the popular practice of the boxing circle. Publicity of any goods on the clothing is prohibited, except the name of the boxing camp.
-in the final competition, each side is allowed 3 corner men. only 2 corner men from each side are allowed inside the ring, whereas the last men ca be on the platform outside the ring.
-if the corner men or the assistants violate the above rule, they can be cautioned or deprived of the right to participate as corner men.

Rule 10 – The judging panel
There should be 3 judges, namely referee judge and 2 score judges. These judges should have long experience in this profession.

Rule 11 – The referee judge
the referee judge has the duty to oversee tat the competition in the ring proceeds fairly and according to the rules, caution the competitor or corner men who do not conform to the rules, mark the score on the score card at the end of each round, check the scores on the score cards of the judges at the end of the competition and announce the winner accordingly and to send the checked score cards to the stadium master. The referee judge shall use three words of instruction, namely:
“stop” when he wishes to stop the fight.
“box” when he wishes the boxers to exchange punches.
“break” when he wishes to disengage the boxers from a clinch.
Both competitors should come apart before boxing again without any need for the referee judge.
the referee judge must point out some rules to the competitors and the head corner man before the beginning of the first round.

Rule 12 – Powers of the referee
The referee has the power to:
-stop the competition if he considers that one side is much more skillful that the other side.
-stop the competition if he considers the competitor to be so wounded that he should not allowed to continue.
-stop the competition if he considers that the competitors do not perform seriously. In this case, the referee might expel one competitor or both from the competition.
-order the competitor to cease any activity and caution him in case he breaks the rules or in other cases to enable the competition to proceed fairly and in compliance with the rules.
-expel the disobedient competitor from the competition.
-expel the corner man who breaks the rules and if appropriate, also the competitor from the competition.
-expel the competitor who commits a foul from the competition regardless of whether he has been cautioned or not.
The decision of the referee judge shall be final.

Rule 13 – The score judges
The two score judges shall sit on the opposite side of the ring, and isolated from the public. Each score judge has the discretion to give the score within the limit of the rules. The score judges shall fill the points given to each competitor after each round into the score sheet and add them up at the end of the competition. They shall write down the name of the winner and affix their signature on the sheet which is to be given to the referee judge.

Rule 14 – The time keeper
The specific duty of the time keeper is to faultlessly oversee the number of rounds and the intervals between the rounds by acting as follows:
-sit on one side of the ring.
-five seconds before the start of each round, vacate the ring by signaling the corner men out of the ring.
-signal the beginning and ending of each round, by striking the gong or ringing the bell.
-deduct the time in case of temporary stoppage or upon the order of a referee.
-keep the accurate time throughout with the watch or the clock.
-give the hand signal to the referee for every second, when the referee is counting in case of a knockdown.
-towards the end of a round which is not the last round of the final, when one boxer falls and the referee is counting, do not ring the bell upon the end of the three minutes time. Ring the bell when the referee orders “box” which means that the competition must continue. The interval between the rounds should be the full 2 minutes.

Rule 15 – The decision
The decision should be mad in accordance with the following principles:
-the knockdown victory (KO) is when the opponent falls onto the floor or lean unconscious on the ropes, unable to box or to defend himself within 10 seconds, namely, when the referee judge has already made a count to 1 to 10.
-the technical knockout victory TKO is when the opponent is made to be in such an unfavorable position that the referee judge sees no way for him to win or when the boxer cannot resume boxing immediately after the end of the rest interval or he suffers a serious wound which the referee’s opinion would result in damaging harm if he continues. In the last case, the stadium physician can be consulted before making the decision.
-victory on points or a draw. When the competition finishes, the decision should flow the majority of the panel. If both boxers suffer serious wounds, and unable to continue boxing, the result shall be deemed a draw, unless there has been a special agreement.
-victory is when the opponent concedes the fight.
-victory through the opponent’s disqualification, that is victory when the opponents breaks the rules so that the referee disqualifies him and declares the other side as the winner.
-no decision on the winner or the loser. The re shall be n decision in the following cases: the stadium is damaged, the spectators are in such disorder that the competition cannot continue, one boxer or both boxers connive or perform a sham fight or pretend to commit a foul.

Rule 16 – The point scoring
in any particular round there shall be 5 full points at the end of each round, 5 points will be awarded to the better boxer and lesser points. The loser in that round according to the winning or losing margin. If the fight is a draw, each boxer shall be awarded 5 points. Upon the end of the competition, the referee shall declare the boxing who receive the most total points the winner. Points shall be given for the typical Thai boxing actions for example the competitor can punch, kick, thrust a kick against, hammer the opponent etc in whatever way but they must confirm to Thai boxing style. The awarding of points depends on the rules and fighting method of Thai boxing, namely:
-the number of punches, kicks, thrusting kicks, hammers etc the judges shall have to consider the force and impact of such blows.
-defense and counter attack or the ability to block or avoid the opponent’s fist, knees, and feet, namely getting out of harm’s way
-the attacking approach and the attacking techniques should be judged whether conformed to Thai boxing style. Any one who tries to punch, kick, hammer etc should have a certain advantage.
-skills and crisp actions. The more skillful boxer who can use feet, knee and elbow crisply should have an upper hand.
-when the referee judge cautions any particular boxer for a foul, deduct ? point by giving the hand signal to the score judges.
The points score should fulfill the following criteria:
-in the round which ends in a draw, each side is awarded 5 points.
-the winner in a very closely fought round receives 5 points, the loser 4 points.
-the winner by a far margin in each round receives 5 points, the loser 4 points.
-the winner who lands his attack very clearly throughout the round and knocks down his opponent once shall be awarded 5 points, the loser 3 points.
the winner who so dominate the whole round and knock down the opponent more than once shall receive 5 points, the loser 3 points.

Rule 17 – The proper and point-scoring actions
The scoring of points in Thai boxing is done by boxing in conformity with the style of Thai boxing. The competitor shall hit, punch, kick, thrust kick, hammer, stab a kick against the opponent etc in whatever way so as to drain the opponent’s strength. The awarding of points follows the principle of rule 16.

Rule 18 – Fouls
If the competitors disobey the order of the judge, violates the competition rules in a un-sportive manner, or commits a foul, the referee judge has the power to caution or to declare the forfeiture of the match without giving a prior caution depending on of the seriousness of a foul or the circumstances.
In any particular competition, 2 cautions should be allowed for each boxer, and the 3rd violation of the rules shall result in the immediate forfeiture of the match. Further more, each boxer should be responsible for any foul committed by his corner men.
The acts which are deemed to be violations of the rules and constitute fouls are as follows:
-bite, poke or push the opponents’ eyes, spit at the opponent, use the head t hit or smash the opponent.
-thrown down or lock the opponent. Intentionally fall on top of the opponent so as to push the elbow or knee against him. Throw the opponent with a judo or wrestling method.
-hold the ropes and punch, kick, thrust a kick at, strike downwards with an elbow, hammer the opponent, etc.
-carry on attacking the falling opponent.
-intentionally fall down to take advantage of the opponent.
-show impolite words and behavior during the competition.

Rule 19 – Fall
if the boxer touches the floor with any other part of the body except the feet, OR collapsing on the ropes, he is falling. in case a particular boxer is knocked down, the referee judge should start counting while the opponent should move to a far corner immediately. When the fallen boxer has arisen and received the box instruction, from the referee, the opponent cam resume boxing. If the opponent does not move to a far corner in accordance with the referee’s order, the referee shall stop counting until such order is complied with. Then he can continue counting from where he stops.
when a particular boxer falls down, the referee shall count out loud from 1 to 10 with the pausing gap of 1 second. And for each second counted, the referee must give the hand signal so as to make known to the fallen boxer that is being counted out. Before the count of one, a lapse of 1 second should be allowed from the floor. Only then should the referee start the count with one. If the fallen boxer can arise before the referee counts to ten and ready to continue fighting but before the count of 8, the referee shall continue counting up to 8 before allowing the resolution of the fight. But if the referee has already counted to ten, the match shall be deemed to be over. The fallen boxer shall be given the decision of defeat by knock-out. If the fallen boxer can arise before the count of ten but fall down again without being punched, the referee must continue from the number he has already counted. it is the discretion of the referee where to count or not if the boxer cannot resume boxing immediately after the expiry of the interval.

Rules 20 – Shaking hands
At the beginning of the first round after the clarification of the rules by the referee and before the boxing in the last round, the boxers shall shake hands to show that they will fight like sportsmen. It is forbidden to shake hands during the match.

Rules 21 – Interpretation
Any interpretation of the above rules or any problems arising during the competition although not governed by any existing rules shall be decided by the referee.