Lumpini Stadium is one of the most famous boxing arenas in the world. The prestige of holding a title here is matched only by that of Rajadamnern, also located in Bangkok.
It was first opened for business in December 1956 with the aim of promoting Thai boxing both in Thailand and abroad. Lumpini is well known abroad due to the policy of encouraging non-Thai boxers to compete there.
The stadium is run by the Royal Thai Army specifically the Army Welfare Department and receipts from the fights go to support various departments in army. General Prapas Jarusatien was the driving force behind the establishment of a second national-standard stadium.
At the moment, there are 11 promoters with responsibility for bringing fighters to challenge for the titles. The rules are the same as in Rajadamnern with the boxers having to weigh more than 100lbs ( 45.4 kgs ), be aged over 15 years and there cannot be more than a 5 lb weight difference between the boxers.
The cost of tickets at that time ranged from 90 to 1,200 Baht for special fights. Any visitor to Lumpini will notice the frantic betting around the ring – every stadium applies for a special gambling licence, which enables this activity.
One of the most famous Lumpini Champions was Dieselnoi Chor Thanasukarn who reigned almost without defeat in the early 1980s. Holding the Lightweight Title for 4 years, he was eventually stripped of the title as no one could take it from him ! His beaten opponents include Samart Payak-aroon ( called the Best of All ) and Nongkai Sor Prapassorn.
In 1975, a fight between the famous Poot Lorlek and Vicharnoi Prontawee at junior featherweight drew such a crowd the gate took over One Million Baht. For seven years the “Angel Boxer ” dominated the scene, never being stopped or counted during his 80 fights at Lumpini.
Recently, many non-Thai boxers have come to show their skills here – among them Ivan Hippolyte and Ramon Dekker. Lumpini also saw Nung Toom, the well known transvestite boxer many times.
Lumpini along with Rajadamnern and, the latest addition to the family, Channel 7 is certainly the home of Muaythai.