Harrowing footage shows the final moments of a 13-year-old Muay Thai fighter who was killed with a deadly five-punch combo at an event on Saturday night.
Anucha Tasako – in dark black shorts – was fighting Nitikron Sonde also 13, in the bout in Samut Prakan, Thailand, but started struggling in the third row and had already been knocked down.
Mobile phone footage from spectators shows how Anucha was pinned against the ropes with two right hooks, before being knocked out with a third right hook.
With the referee still watching, the opponent delivers yet another right hook against Anucha’s limp body. He then throws a left-hook which sends Anucha crashing to the ground.
The teenager – who was not fighting with protective headgear – was rushed to Bang Chak Hospital but after medics recognised a severe head injury, he was transferred to Samut Prakan Hospital. He was diagnosed with a severe intracerebral haemorrhage and died the next day.
The death has reignited controversy over the sport, where children start fighting from a young age – motivated by dreams of glory and wealth.
Opponents say the sport is dangerous and can cause serious injuries to children. Thailand’s Mahidol University published a study last month which said that allowing children under 15 to box could result in various types of brain damage.
But Sukrit Parekrithawet, a lawyer who represents several boxing training camps, said fighters need to start young in order to develop ”boxing bones”.
He said: ”If you don’t allow younger players to learn their way up, how can they be strong and experienced enough to fight? “We call it ‘boxing bones.’ You need to have boxing bones built from a very young age.”
Thai politicians are considering legislation proposed last month banning children younger than 12 from competitive boxing.
The legislation has been forwarded to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, which has already drafted a revised version.
Anucha, who had been a muay thai boxer from the age of eight and competed in 170 matches, had lost his parents and was being brought up by his uncle.
The uncle, Damrong Thasako, 48, said the boy had taken up boxing to pay for his schooling and to help out with household expenses.
Nitikron Sonde, Anucha’s young opponent, said he was following his instincts and did not know his punches would kill someone.
He said: ”I had never wanted this to happen. I am sad, but when in the boxing ring, I had to do my best. If I was weak, it would have been me who was attacked.”
The victor and other winning boxers have decided to auction off their boxing shorts to raise funds for Anucha’s family. Nitikron also said he would get ordained as a novice monk in dedication to Anucha.