One of the more popular attractions in Thailand are the boxing bars that feature live Thai boxing fights in tourist destinations like Koh Phi Phi (see our Phi Phi Travel Guide). Most of the time these bars put on fake Muay Thai fights like this one, but they are also known to recruit drunk foreigners from the crowd to get into the ring.
If you are a young guy going to these bars, there is a good chance you will be asked to fight in the ring at some point in the night. Some of these bars give participants full protection like shin guards, gloves and head gear (no mouthguards), while others don’t. Ideally, they want to match up a couple drunk foreigners in the ring, but sometimes they do pair foreigners up against ex Thai fighters who are no longer training.
The reward for stepping into the ring is usually a cheap bucket of Thai whisky that would cost 300 baht ($10) if you bought it at the bar. While this might sound tempting for young backers traveling Southeast Asia, I don’t recommend it.
These bars rely on guys having “liquid courage” in order for them to get pushed into the ring. So while you might turn down a fight initially, 5 drinks later you might start feeling like a champion that can beat anyone.
There is no Winning in these fights…….
Whether you can fight or not, there is really nothing to be gained by fighting besides providing free entertainment for others.
The best case scenario is you end up beating the crap out of a shitty foreigner who doesn’t know how to fight and you feel like a tough guy for the rest of the night. You might even kick the shit out of an out of shape Thai fighter and end up looking like a douchebag for doing it.
Here is a video of K-1 Fighter Albert Kraus beating up one of these bum fighters in Pattaya.
The likely Scenario is you end up in the ring, wearing used Muay Thai equipment that smells like piss, and you end up making a fool of yourself. When you exit the ring, you will be drenched in sweat and you will need to take a shower ASAP.
Most of the guys who fight think they will make quick work of the guy standing across from them. Unfortunately, once reality starts to sinks in, they soon realize they are in over their heads.
The guy in the video below is the perfect example. He probably thought he was going to show off the couple days of Muay Thai training that he did and impress a few girls. Unfortunately for him, things didn’t really go according to plan.
Don’t be that guy or THIS Guy in particular
If you must………..
If you are dead set on doing this, then go in the ring with a friend who isn’t going to knock your head off. You can earn your free bucket of whisky, get your photos taken and you won’t have to worry about losing any teeth in the process.
You can have a good experience if you go in the ring with a friend and have a light sparring session. As long as both fighters agree that it’s just a sparring session, you don’t have to worry about getting injured. If you get matched up with a Thai person, there really isn’t much to be gained.
Anyone who has actual muay thai fighting experience should avoid being an Albert Kraus. While it might feel good to beat up a few drunk foreigners or unfit Thai fighters, challenge yourself to some real competition. If you want to have a fight in Thailand, have a real fight. Go to any Muay Thai gym and ask them for a fight and they will set you up with a REAL fight.
There really isn’t anything to be gained by fighting in these Boxing bars. If you are the type of person who is looking to gain confidence by beating up some untrained idiots, then you probably deserve to get beat up yourself.
Here is another guy you don’t want to be
If you want to fight in Thailand, stick to the real Muay Thai ring. Leave the boxing bars to the drunk tourists who come down and want to make a fool out of themselves. If you want to go have a few drinks at one of these bars, go for it. I won’t deny that these places can be a great source of entertainment, especially if you watch a couple guys swing for the fences trying to knock each other out.