BANGKOK – The death of a 13-year-old boy who was thrown out during a kick-boxing game in Thailand has sparked a debate on whether to ban games involving children.
The death of Anucha Thasako came after Muai Thai-Thai Boxing – a Saturday match in Bangkok's suburb Samut Prakarn. The Facebook page of Muaithai Krobvongjorn, which covers this sport, said she died of brain hemorrhage. Protective equipment is not usually worn in sports, and a video posted on social media that said the fight shows that Anucha was not worn.
Children's Boxing is widespread in Thailand, especially in rural areas, offering a way to help children in securing their families and removing them from poverty, according to their advocates. Opponents say the sport is dangerous, citing studies, as reported last month at a Thai Mahidol University saying that allowing children under the age of 15 in a box can lead to various types of brain damage.
Thai lawmakers are considering a bill proposed last month banning children under the age of 12 from competing boxing. The law was forwarded to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, which has already drafted the revised version, said General Aduldej Intapong, a member of the National Legislative Assembly.
Kickboking is one of the most popular sports in Thailand, and its amplifiers are opposed to its regulation.
"It would have a big impact on the industry," said Sukrit Parekrithavet, a lawyer representing several boxing camps on the proposed law. "Those who created the law know nothing about the sport of Thai boxing, and that would make Muai Thai extinct."
"If you do not allow younger players to learn their own way, how can they be strong and experienced enough to fight," he said. "We call it" boxing costumes. "You must have a boxing bone built from a very young age."
Sukrit said that the death of a 13-year-old, who fought under the name of Petchmongkol S. Vilaitong, a one-time incident and the result of a badly organized event.
"This has never happened before and this is unprecedented," he said. "There are several factors that have nothing to do with years. The referee was not fast enough to stop the fight, and the place did not have a doctor in a state of rest, which would not have happened."
The ThaiPBS public broadcaster reported that Anucha has fought more than 170 games since starting boxing for eight years, and is currently struggling with a weight division below 41 kilograms (below 90 pounds). He said that his uncle, the boxer's coach, was picked up after the parents separated.
Uncle, Damrong Thasako, told Thai PBS that Anucha is an accident death but wants to see rules for children under 15 years of age wearing protective equipment to soften head and body blows.