Lawmakers Spar 2 Rounds to Promote Muay Thai

Now that’s what you call leading by example. Two over-the-hill Thai kickboxers who are now both legislators in the Upper House slugged it out for two rounds on a makeshift ring in front of parliament building in Bangkok.

Although Direk Tungfang, 64, and Payap Tongchuen, 59, fought to a draw as declared by the referee, the fight was not all just for show as the lawmakers actually went at each other. Direk, who represents Nonthaburi province, knocked down once the younger Payap of Sa Kaeo province. The fight was organized to promote Thai boxing or Muay Thai at the international market, as well as to encourage the younger Thai generation to take up the sport and keep the tradition alive. “The aim is to market Thai boxing, as Muay Thai at the international level,” Direk said.

Muay Thai is the country’s national sport and it has spawned several versions in other countries.