One of the tragedies of poverty

One of the many adversities that befall those who are poor is that they get tempted to take risks with their own lives and the lives of their families just in order to survive, such as selling their organs and committing crimes. I was shocked to read this report about Anucha Thasako, a 13-year old Thai boy, who died of a brain hemorrhage after a boxing bout. It was bad enough that children are boxing at all but it appears that it is a way for poor people to earn money. Thasako had fought in 170 bouts since the age of eight.

Thai boxing, or Muay Thai as it is also called, is hugely popular in the country, where thousands of young fighters and their families see it as a way of earning money.

But there are few rules governing the sport and some people oppose proposed laws to protect young fighters, saying they are part of the country’s boxing tradition.

Video of the match showed the boy, known by his boxing name Phetmongkol Por Peenapat, and his opponent were not wearing any protective headgear.

Anucha was repeatedly punched in the head, before falling to the mat.

Thailand has more than 10,000 registered boxers under the age of 15, according to figures released last year by its national Sports Authority.

A draft law before parliament would ban children under 12 from professional kickboxing matches, and regulate the participation of young teenagers.

That draft law does not go anywhere near far enough. Boxing is a barbaric activity but you cannot stop adults from risking their brains and their lives. But it should definitely be banned for children and young adults, just like football should be in the US. Passing laws banning it will not of course solve the underlying problem of poverty but it may prevent poor people from being tempted to enroll their children in it. When things are legal, people tend to think it is safe.


  1. raven says

    Thasako had fought in 170 bouts since the age of eight.

    That is a huge number of fights.
    It’s highly likely that this 13 year old was going to suffer from CTE, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.

    from Boston University:
    Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in people with a history of repetitive brain trauma (often athletes), including symptomatic concussions as well as asymptomatic subconcussive hits to the head that do not cause symptoms.

  2. Mark Dowd says

    Mui Thai is not boxing. It’s probably closer to MMA and much worse then boxing because of the lack of heavily padded gloves.

  3. Holms says

    Mark, contrary to popular belief, the padded gloves of boxing matches provide no protection to the person being punched, but rather to the knuckles. The skull and brain of the person being punched is still jarred to the same degree as without gloves. The purpose of the gloves is all about letting the boxers punch harder and more frequently without getting sunken knuckles, and so the net effect is actually to increase the danger of boxing.

    This is similar to the padding provided in american football: the gear provides the illusion of safety to the players, and so is used as justification to tackle ever harder. Sports with less padding are much less dangerous, even if they are contact sports such as AFL and rugby.

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