Transgender fighter makes history against man in Muay Thai bout

Saturday, June 10, 2017

It has been a historic night.

On June 7th, 2017, Nong Rose Barnjaroensuk became the first transgender to compete in Thailand’s Rajadamnern Stadium, the country’s oldest Muay Thai stadium and the most prestigious one along the Lumpinee.

The road to the Rajadamnern has been tough for Nong Rose, tough. In fact, the transgender fighter, who identifies as a female, has struggled for years on her quest to fight in the stadium since it enforces strict dress code rules, notably forbidding sports bras. Long hair is not allowed either. Needless to say those rules severely limited Nong Rose’s chances to ever compete in the prestigious stadium.

It’s only after Nong Rose made waves in lesser known stadiums and after she collaborated with OneSongchai, Thailand’s most influential Muay Thai promoter, that the doors of the Rajadmnern opened for her.

Transgender fighter makes history against man in Muay Thai bout
Transgender fighter makes history against man in Muay Thai bout

And so, on last Wednesday, Nong Rose was set to face male Muay Thai fighter Suayai Chor Haapayak in a historical fight. The latter is a seasoned and experienced fighter and was the favorite heading into the contest. It’s important to note that Suayai was moving up a weight class and was giving away a mandatory 2-pound weight disadvantage on top of that. He was still obviously confident in his skills though, as he kept taunting Nong Rose before the bout, notably teasing her about her bra size and offering her a rose in the ring.

The bout between Nong Rose and Suayai, serving as the night of fights’ co-main event, was surrounded by sparkling enthusiasm from the fans in attendance. Nong Rose was cheered as she walked to the ring, and it was obvious who the fans’ favorite was. People who watched live were conscious of the historic nature of the event and seemed thrilled by the spectacle.

The fight didn’t disappoint, as it was pretty much all action from start to finish. I’ll, of course, let you enjoy it by yourself. I’ll just say I did NOT expect this kind of outcome.

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