As a former Muay Thai fighter, and current owner of the Singpatong Sitnumnoi Muay Thai Boxing Gym, Num Noi arranges the fights, while his daughter Parichart ‘Prim’ Padburee handles marketing and promotion – it’s a relationship that’s working very well.
“I’m not good at business – I just love Muay Thai. So it’s good that my daughter is with me to help send emails, make phone calls and speak to third parties,” says Num Noi.
This Saturday marks the fifth event in the series, and each week it’s getting busier and more well-known Prim tells The Phuket News.
Despite there already being a constant stream of match-ups hyped as ‘Fights of the Century’, ‘Super Real Fights’, and ‘Championship Fights’ at the various Muay Thai stadia around the island, Num Noi explains the reasoning for him deciding to launch his own event.
“Many Thai stadiums don’t put on the ‘most genuine’ of fights. They just care about selling tickets and so will arrange fights between foreigners and out of shape Thai fighters. Many promoters just want to make money.”
It is Num Noi’s intention, therefore, to show real competitive fights, with very talented fighters.
“My father spent his life fighting and so he wanted to do something like this,” explains Prim.
“Many of the fighters from his gym have won top championship belts at Lumphini Stadium, and his foreign fighter is the only foreigner to currently have a Lumphini belt.”
Although there is the odd foreign fighter who trains at the the Singpatong Sitnumnoi gym in Patong, it is very much a traditional set-up.
“We have around 30 students from around Thailand who live at the gym, eat there and train hard there,” says Prim.
“Around 15 of them are children, who are training as a way out. They come from poor families. Muay Thai is good for them – it keeps them away from drugs and off the streets.”
The numbers of foreigners who travel to Thailand to train has become a huge money-spinner in recent years. Some come in order to simply get fit, while others do so in order to fight professionally.
Num Noi sees this as a positive boost for the sport, and way of raising its profile internationally.
He feels that the Thai government should be more lenient regarding the awarding of visas for foreigners who genuinely want to train and compete in Thailand, adding that it’s detrimental to their training for the foreign boxers to have to leave every three months.
Num Noi also says that many Muay Thai fighters should be able, or more importantly willing, to compete in Mixed Martial Arts events as well.
The father and daughter team believe the increase in popularity of MMA and its official sanctioning by the Thai government (October’s DARE event in Bangkok was the first) is also good for Muay Thai.
“Many Thai fighters will learn from MMA fighters and vice versa, so it’s a win win situation really.”
To encourage people living on the island to watch real Muay Thai, every Saturday night at the Suk Singpatong and Sitnumnoi Muay Thai events, foreign residents can buy a special pass for B500.
“We’re doing this because it’s sad that some foreigners can’t afford [the inflated ‘foreign’ price] to go and watch Muay Thai. It’s good to get people into Muay Thai – it’s a great opportunity,” says Prim.
Prim herself has even got into Muay Thai, and a few months ago started training for the first time.
“I started training because it’s my heritage and it’s part of me and my family – it’s a gift really and it’s good for me. Boxing has brought me and my father together, it’s great.”
For more information on Suk Singpatong and Sitnumnoi Muay Thai Boxing Gym, visit: singpatong-sitnumnoi.com, or for the Saturday Night Fight series see: patongboxingstadium.com