Despite risks, 9-year-old Thai fighter eager to return to ring

By Athit Perawongmetha and Jiraporn Kuhakan

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Nine-year-old Thai kickboxer Pornpattara “Tata” Peachaurai aspires to return in the ring after coronavirus curbs brought his battle season to a stop more than 5 months earlier. The cash he makes is important earnings for his household.

“All the money from boxing, the regular payment and the tips, it all goes to mum,” stated the lean young fighter.

“I’m proud to be a boxer and to earn money for my mum.”

Tata’s last battle remained in October, prior to a 2nd COVID-19 break out in Thailand closed down sports occasions as restrictions on big events were reimposed.

“I cannot box. I haven’t practiced boxing, too … I help my mum sell things.”

Tata lives with his mom and 16-year-old sis, Poomrapee, who is likewise a fighter with the nationwide youth group.

The household is counting on Tata’s revenues as an escape of hardship and hopes he can make it as an expert Muay Thai fighter, or represent the cops or army in the ring and be rewarded with greater ranks and rewards.

“He usually gives his income to mum,” stated Tata’s mom, Sureeporn Eimpong, 40.

“Sometimes he asks for some toys after a fight.”

HAZARDOUS RESULTS

Kid battles in Thailand can be as popular as adult bouts and occur at competitions, celebrations and temple fairs. There are an approximated 300,000 fighters under the age of 15, according to the Expert Boxing Association of Thailand.

Some medical specialists are requiring a restriction on boxing for minors, however, stating it might trigger stunted development, long-term neurological issues, mental retardation and impairment.

Adult authorization is the only present requirement for kid fighters.

“I’m not worried about boxing,” stated Sureeporn, including that fighters were trained to secure themselves.

“There are not a lot of injuries in child boxing. I am confident in the system.”

However the system does not constantly work.

In 2018, Tata battled in the very same competition where a 13-year-old kid passed away of brain haemorrhage after being knocked out in the ring. Sureeporn stated the referee had actually been too sluggish to step in.

Adisak Plitponkarnpim, director of the National Institute of Kid and Household Advancement at Thailand’s Mahidol University, belongs to a research study group that did brain scans on 250 kid fighters, a few of which revealed comprehensive damage that might affect brain advancement and intelligence levels.

“Boxing creates brain injury as we can see clearly in the older boxers,” Adisak stated.

“The parents who rely for income from their kids at the age of eight or nine years old should ask themselves what they are actually demanding from them.”

Some Thai legislators have actually looked for to prohibit boxing for those under the age of 12, however a draft costs stopped working to reach parliament and would likely have actually dealt with resistance since of the appeal of kid battles and the profits they create.

Sureeporn stated boxing was her child’s life.

“I’m from the lower class and I just make enough money to survive and don’t have savings or fancy homes,” she stated.

“The future of Tata is in boxing.”

(Reporting by Athit Perawongmetha and Jiraporn Kuhakan; Composing by Martin Petty; Modifying by Tom Hogue)

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.