Shocking images from the world of 'murderous' Thai child kickboxing

Published: 20th November 2018 11:07 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th November 2018 11:26 AM  

Child boxing is widespread in Thailand, especially in rural areas, where it offers a way for children to help provide for their families and a path to lift them out of poverty, according to its advocates. (Photos | AP)
The tragic death of a 13-year-old after being knocked out in a Muay Thai (Thai kickboxing) match earlier this month has brought into focus whether youngsters should be taking and giving such brutal punishment in the name of sports. (Photo | AP)
Hardcore Muay Thai fans say the boy's death was a fluke. They say that the referee did not stop the fight soon enough and that a doctor was not on hand, flouting the usual procedures. (Photo | AP)
But even before Anucha's death, moves were afoot to regulate the sport. Thai lawmakers recently tabled legislation to bar children under 12 from competitive boxing. (Photo | AP)
Last month, a five-year study by Dr. Witaya Sungkarat of Bangkok's Ramathibodi Hospital was published that compared brain development between young boxers and children not involved with the sport. (Photo | AP)
He said the study clearly shows that boxing causes irreparable damage to a young child's developing brain, and the longer each young boxer had been fighting, the worse his condition became. (Photo | AP)
Boxing enthusiasts strongly oppose the change. They say the sport is part of Thai culture and gives poor families the opportunity to raise a champion that will lift their economic circumstances. (Photo | AP)
The sport's defenders say outsiders just don't understand that Muay Thai is an integral part of Thai culture. Beginning to fight at a tender age puts the youngsters on the path to a successful professional career, with the opportunity to lift their poor families up the ladder of economic success, they say. (Photo | AP)
Anucha, who fought an incredible 174 bouts in a career that started at age 8, died of a brain hemorrhage two days after his November 10 fight. (Photo | AP)
Thai kickboxer Chaichana Saengngern, 10-years old, practices sit up bench exercises at training at camp Bangkok, Thailand. (Photo | AP)
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