Muaythai’s annual Queen’s Cup broke new ground at Sanam Luang last Thursday with the inclusion of male fights as part of Elite Boxing’s Thailand vs Challenger (TVC) Series.
The Queen’s Cup has been held on August 12 every year since 1996 to honour Her Majesty the Queen of Thailand’s birthday. Traditionally featuring an all-female fightcard, it is widely considered the main event in the international muaythai calendar for female fighters.
Following an agreement between the event’s organisers One Songchai Promotions and long time ally Elite Boxing, the Queen’s Cup has been expanded this year to include four TVC super fights.
A large crowd of almost 100,000 turned out to show their love for their Queen and even the rain couldn’t dampen their enthusiasm. Following an impressive candle ceremony at 7:19pm, it was time for the action to begin.
Despite the inclusion of male fights, it was still a case of ladies first with the eight international female fights of the Queen’s Cup broadcast live on True Visions before local celebrity Sonia Couling stepped into the ring to announce the start of the latest Thailand vs Challenger installment.
The first TVC fight of the night featured Alexander Tobias of Sweden challenging Thailand’s Ole Tor Sirachai in what was a late replacement fight due to regular TVC fighter Nonsai Sor Sanyakorn having to pull out after being involved in a minor motorcycle accident. While the Swede made a brave effort, the superior skill of the Thai fighter was always evident and it was no surprise that the fight ended with a second round KO win for Ole Tor Sirachai.
The second challenging nation was Germany with Valdet Gashi taking on Petsanguan of Thailand. Despite a height and reach disadvantage, the German fought a very tactical fight and survived the five rounds before losing on points.
The third TVC fight was undoubtedly the fight of the night. Defending Thailand’s national pride, Khunlar Chokepreecha was up against the exciting talent of Mathias Pattaya Kombat, an upcoming Pattaya-based fighter from Italy. The action-packed fight went the full five rounds, but it was the Italian who was celebrating a points victory at the end. Mathias is still relatively new to the local muaythai scene, but he is certainly one to watch out for.
The final TVC fight was also the WMC sanctioned Queen’s Cup title fight featuring the current number one Thai fighter, Saiyok Pumphanmuang, up against Antoine Siangboxing, a French fighter who has grown up in Thailand.
There had been some doubts about whether the young French fighter would be out of his depth against the current Lumpini champion but he proved once again that he is a tough competitor. “I was a little unsure about putting Antoine up against Saiyok,” said Elite Boxing’s managing director Toli Makris. “I was confident that he was brave enough, but I knew he was going up against one of the very best.”
Antoine, who lost on points against another Thai muaythai legend Nopparat Kiatamtorn during the TVC Grand Opening in January, didn’t let anyone down with another big-hearted effort. Although he once more lost on points, he went to-to-toe with Saiyok for five exciting rounds and further enhanced his growing reputation.
There is no doubting that Antoine has an exciting future ahead of him in the world of muaythai. With the TVC Series televised in 180 countries, it might just be the platform Antoine needs to show the world what an exciting young talent he is.