A press conference was held at the Emerald Hotel for the upcoming muaythai gala event which has three objectives: The official application for muaythai to be recognised by the International Olympic Committee, the official application for muaythai to be included in the International World Games, and the launch of the muaythai campaign “Sport Is Your Gang”, in cooperation with Peace and Sport, partner of the IOC.
His Royal Majesty the King of Thailand has donated the trophy for the ultimate fighter, the winner of the Super 4. The Prime Minister of Thailand has donated the trophy for the female muaythai fight.
Gracious host Nakwan Rayananonda opened the press conference and introduced each speaker in turn. His Excellency General Pichitr Kullavanijaya, Privy Councillor to His Majesty the King, Honorary President of the WMC and IFMA, was the first to address the crowd. He said that April 3rd would be another historic day for muaythai, and that as a Thai he was filled with joy and pride to know that muaythai had gained so much recognition on all five continents.
General Chjetta Thanajaro, President of the WMC, the world governing body for muaythai under the directive of the Royal Thai Government, was the next to speak. He stated that a lot of work has gone into preparing for April 3rd, and a lot of work remains to be done after. However, the fact that the President of SportAccord, Mr. Hein Verbruggen, and the President of the International World Games Association, Mr. Ron Froehlich, are traveling to the event, shows the recognition muaythai has internationally.
Dr. Sakchye Tapsuwan, President of IFMA, the world federation recognised by SportAccord, stated that so much support has come in from Thailand and world-wide. The Prime Minister of Thailand has asked General Yuthasak Sasiprapha, Deputy Prime Minister and President of the National Olympic Committee of Thailand, to represent the government officially at both the gala reception and the event. The Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister, the Minister of Culture, and the Minister of Sport, have all written messages for the souvenir program, joined by IOC members and dignitaries from around the world.
Stephan Fox, Vice President of the WMC and General Secretary of IFMA, stated that this campaign was part of a long process and that many crucial requirements had been put in place to assure that it would be a success: full recognition from SportAccord and WADA, holding championships abroad with eighty countries from all five continents participating, establishing proper youth and female development programs and so much more. After April 3, there is still be work to be done to achieve the final goal, but the goal is in sight. The event will be televised live from the Bangkok Convention Centre, which will be packed down to the last seat. It will be a night to remember. Mr. Fox also said that the “Sport Is Your Gang” program will be implemented by the muaythai champions and will be a part of many community projects.
Sonia Couling, the face of muaythai towards the highest recognition, stated that she has been part of the campaign around the world and that many Thai people are unaware of the popularity of the sport outside of Thailand, how large the spectator appeal is, and how fighters are treated liked superstars abroad. She also mentioned that through her experience on the campaign, she herself has come to realize how many community projects are run under the muaythai name. She said that she will continue to support muaythai until the final goal has been reached.
Khun Voravud, spokesperson for the Singha Beer Corporation, one of the event’s main sponsors, stated that Singha’s Thai identity makes it feel obligated to help muaythai achieve the highest recognition there is. Through muaythai, Thailand will travel to the world, and the world will travel to Thailand.
His Excellency General Pichitr Kullavanijaya then opened the draw for the Super 4 and General Chjetta Thanajaro was given honour of conducting the draw. Colossa, the South African fighter who has become very popular in Asia, was drawn first. Drawn second was the man upon whom all the hopes of the kingdom are pinned: Saiyok.
That left the second match with the English superstar Jordan Watson taking on tall and lanky Ilya Grad from Israel.
The female fight will be between two fantastic ambassadors of female muaythai: Caley Lewis from Australia and Magdalena Rak from Poland.
For the “Sport Is Your Gang” fight, Lersila from Thailand will take on Sofiane Derdega from France.
The undercard fights are: Leonardo Monteiro VS Jack Sit Poo Pan Too and Vladimir Konsky VS Palungnum Srisoongnoen.
It’s an event not to be missed: April 3 at the Bangkok Convention Center. The WMC is giving away 50 VIP tickets, apply at [email protected]