Why is Boxing So Popular in Thailand?

There are few sports that have achieved as much success over a prolonged period of time as boxing. Nowadays, there are few sports that come close to its popularity in Thailand.  Some of the biggest stars have huge social media followings. The sport’s success is predominantly due to the dedication of the fans. They often travel far and wide to watch their heroes in the biggest matches. What exactly is the secret sauce that makes the sport so popular in Thailand?

The History of Boxing

The history of the sport ensures that it has a global appeal. Historical evidence points to the organized boxing matches in the 2nd millennia BCE. Since then, the popularity of the sport has not waned. In the 16th century prizefights rose to prominence and in turn caused the sports’s popularity to skyrocket.

Its popularity is also represented with its competitive nature at the Olympic Games. Boxing is a cornerstone of the modern Olympics but was also an important part of the first Olympics in 688 BC.

The 19th century saw another revolution in the sport. The formation of the Marquess of Queensberry Rules made the modern sport we know today. The modernization of the sport has enabled it to grow in prominence. Outlawing prizefighting also changed the nature of the business. Without prizefighting the sport was able to become the multi-billion commercial enterprise that it is in this modern day.

Boxing Betting Opportunities

The popularity of boxing can also be attributed to another ancient and popular activity. Gambling on sport has equally deep historic roots. Few sports today have such a close relationship to sports betting as boxing does. Many fans place their bets with online boxing betting sites before settling down to watch a fight.

Modern sports betting is nothing like it was in years past. The sheer number of licensed operators and the speed of online has changed the game. Fans have more freedom than ever when it comes to betting on the sport. While many will make a wager on who will win the match, there are more options today. Betting on the decision itself has become very popular. Predicting if, or when, a knockout will occur has become quite popular. Millions of fans watch the matches live throughout the world. Many are watching to follow their wagers in real time.

Muay Thai Popularity

The local variant of boxing, Muay Thai, has also contributed to the success of boxing in Thailand. Originating in Thailand, Muay Thai has become a global sensation. During the 20th century more foreigners travelled to Thailand to study the discipline. The form of martial art  sees athletes use hands, legs, and feet to gain an advantage. In recent years that success has carried over to the rest of the world. It was recently recognized by the IOC as a sport. There is still no official word yet when it will be making an Olympic debut.

Huge Matchups

One of the huge factors that attract fans to boxing is the power that it has to bring together two worldwide renowned stars that have to settle their differences inside the ring.

The biggest match-ups in the history of the sport have gone on to break viewership records. The list of sports stars that have the highest pay-per-view (PPV) sales of all time are all boxers. It should be noted that PPVs are a fairly recent advent. That means recent stars such as Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao have more prominent places on the list. Mayweather has sold nearly 29 billion views throughout his career.  No boxer has managed to come near the number of PPV home television sales. His success with numbers continued with his match against Conor McGregor. That match reportedly made a staggering $500 million. Thai boxing events are also large. Lumpinee Boxing Stadium and Rajadamnern Stadium both host huge contests. Both buildings are historic boxing venues with deep stories.

Success Of Thai Boxers

The popularity of boxing in Thailand is also due to the success Thai boxers have had on the global scene. Samart Payakaroon is one of the most successful to have stepped foot in the boxing ring. He won the WBC super bantamweight title in January 1986. A bout that was one of the most commercially successful in the country’s history. Payakaroon beat Lupe Pintor by Knock Out at the HuaMark Indoor Stadium in Bangkok. 

Payakaroon is also considered by many to be one of the greatest Muay Thai fighters of all-time. He stepped into the ring on 250 occasions, winning a staggering 200 times. His most recent win came against Maikel Lieuwfat. He retired after defeat against Varazdat Mihranyan in 2001. Other Thai boxing stars that have helped inspire a generation, include Khaosai Galaxy, Saensak Muangsurin and Sirimongkol Singmanasak.