The Golden Age of Female Thai Boxers

Who would have thought that ‘Powerpuff Girls’ would actually exist in real life at Fairtex Muay Thai Training Camp?

Three Thai girls with a knack for martial arts, spanning traditional Thai martial arts, Brazilian jiu-jitsu (ฺBJJ), as well as Mixed Martial Arts. With medals and trophies from domestic and international competitions under their belt, these Fairtex talents have truly proven themselves to be a force to be reckoned with.

Meet the powerful trio

Stamp, Nat, and Dream may look like ordinary girls on the outside, but you would be surprised to learn that they are actually proficient martial arts practitioners. In a bid to get to know them better, EQ sat down with the powerful trio, each brimming with her own unique personality and strength.

Natkamol “Nat” Juntrasri aka ‘Wonder Girl’ told us that her dad, former boxer ‘Jaroonsak Sor Vorapin’, introduced her to boxing as a hobby and also a way to get her to exercise and learn about self-defence. After practising with her dad for a while, she wanted to get into the actual boxing ring. At first, he wasn’t on board with the idea because female boxers weren’t fully accepted and supported at the time. Getting hurt wouldn’t have been worth it. Ever a fighter, Nat insisted on competing and eventually her dad let her. Although she didn’t win her first match, not winning actually motivated her to train even harder to become a professional boxer.

Bantita “Dream” Weerachianchote aka ‘Apidej’ started boxing at temple fairs. She told us that it’s a standard practice for a boxer to have a moniker. Hers was suggested by her trainer who noticed that her powerful right kick resembled that of a boxer called Apidej Niran. She added that when he gave her that name, she cried so hard because she didn’t want a man’s name. It wasn’t until later that she started to accept the name as part of her brand. Both unexpected and memorable, it’s the name that sets her apart from other boxers especially when it’s announced right before she enters the ring. 

Nattawan “Stamp” Panthong aka ‘Stamp Fairtex’ is rather well known in the boxing scene, thanks to her ONE Championship world title under kickboxing and Thai boxing categories. Since the beginning of her professional career, she’s always had her sights set on winning. Despite having already won two belts, she’s aiming to win her third in the Brazilian jiu-jitsu category, which means that, in order to do that, she would have to win every event. 

The female boxing scene today

Dream: There used to be just two categories, international style boxing and thai boxing. It’s not like that nowadays because boxing has evolved to include many sub-categories. I have a Thai boxing background, so it’s easy to build on that foundation.

Stamp: Thai boxing includes punches, kicks, knees, and elbows. This form of boxing is quite hardcore when compared to the international style boxing where only punching is allowed. Being with Fairtex, I was introduced to other forms of martial arts as well. Like mentioned earlier, I competed in the ONE Championship in the kickboxing event, where only punching and kicking are allowed. It’s a combination between karate and Thai boxing.

Nat: Since I’ve been with Fairtex, I’ve learned about MMA and BJJ. MMA stands for ‘mixed martial arts,’ which fuses different forms of martial arts together such as Thai boxing, international style boxing, wrestling, and others. Usually it’s some combo of punching and kicking where your goal is to knock out your opponent or make them submit. As for BJJ, it’s a martial art similar to judo, focusing on the skill of ground fighting and using different techniques to force them into submission.

Signature style/move

Stamp: I used to put on red lipstick before I box and people used to call me “the red-lipped boxer.” Now that I’m competing internationally, there are more rules for me to follow so I can’t really do much. I did manage to make some impression, though. I would do this Blackpink dance during my walk to the ring and people now call me “the queen of dance.” The fact that I keep changing my hair color has also become my signature.

Nat: For me, it’s probably my smile. I smile so much that my eyes close! People also recognize me from my ‘wai kru’ ritual dance. I performed it so beautifully that I even won a contest.

Dream: I wear a lot of pink because that’s my favorite color. I also like to get my hair done before the match because I want to look good.

Always be prepared

Nat: We female boxers have to take care of our health. No matter how prepared or well trained we are, things like period can throw us for a loop. It can really affect our strength and our performance. Sometimes we have no choice but to take a pill to delay it.

Stamp: I would train and go on a diet for six days and rest for one day. I normally spend my rest day just lazing around or eating my favorite things. Since I have to do everything all over again anyway, I don’t want to do much else except for giving myself some off time (laughs).

Dream: For me, it depends on my strategy. If I know my opponent, I would work with my trainer to come up with the best game plan going forward. If I don’t know the opponent, I would spend the first round assessing her so that I could counter accordingly.

How do you console yourself after losing a match?

Nat: Whenever there’s a match, I know full well that there’ll be winning and losing. That’s just how sports work. But on the day of the fight, it’s easy to be bombarded by all these noises. Things like a prediction by some boxing guru that I would lose or harsh criticism. Anyone would get paranoid, right? I try not to listen to anyone and focus on the task in front of me. Even if I lose, I would give myself some time to recover and try again. Losing can often be a lesson.

Stamp: Expectations from those around me and from myself can pressure me to train harder. I really want to succeed but if I train too hard, sometimes I get injured right before the fight. Even if my body doesn’t want to cooperate, I have to push myself as much as possible.

The journey to get here

Dream: I started out boxing at temple fairs upcountry. Everybody knows that boxing is a very physical sport and people get hurt doing it, so they don’t see it as something that’s fit for women. I got teased by some that I was only boxing because I wanted to find a boxer boyfriend or that I wanted to be surrounded by guys. I used to hear these insults all the time, so much so that I almost quit. I had to remind myself that I wasn’t like that. I wanted to prove myself and show them that I was good at what I do and could improve. I’ve gotten to where I am today because of that.

Nat: My family didn’t want me to box because the money just didn’t justify getting hurt. They said that a male boxer would get paid a lot more. Then, female boxers started to become a thing, which made me really want to get in the ring. My own family was very supportive although my uncle, aunt, and neighbors thought that I was forced by my dad to box. Actually, it was all me. I was told to quit so many times or told that I wouldn’t succeed. Well, look at me, I’ve become ‘Wonder Girl’ now. People would comment on my photos and congratulate me for my success and I’m always thankful for that.

Boxing is often seen as a sport reserved exclusively for men. However, our chat today with Fairtex’s Powerpuff Girls, Wonder Girl, Apidej, and Stamp Fairtex, has shown that sports know no gender. As long as you have a passion burning inside you, anything is possible. And if you work hard for it, your goal can definitely be achieved. 

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