German fighters take on the Thais at their own game

The sport of muaythai has been growing steadily in Germany over the last few decades. While Germany has produced a few great fighters, most noticeably World Muaythai Council (WMC) Vice President Stephan Fox, the gap between the German and Thai fighters has always been uncomfortable. Following the participation of German fighters in leading international events this year, however, Germany has now proven it is ready to mix it with the best.

When the Thai-based but partly German-owned Elite Boxing launched its flagship Thailand vs Challenger (TVC) Series at an extravagant Grand Opening in Bangkok’s most exclusive shopping mall in January this year, the world was watching. A crowd studded with local celebrities packed into Siam Paragon to witness some of Thailand’s finest exponents of their very own martial art defending national pride against challengers from across the world.

One of the main fights that night featured Thai superstar and captain of the Thai team Kaoklai Kaennorosing against Erik Kosztanko, a German little known in his homeland but who gave Kaoklai more than a few scares before finally losing on points.

Another loss for a German fighter it may have been. But there was no disgrace in defeat this time. And with the TVC Series being televised in 180 countries around the world, the stature of German muaythai is set to rise.

This week as Elite Boxing held a press conference in Bangkok to announce the next TVC installment, another German fighter was introduced to the Thai public.

On August 12, as part of a co-promotion between TVC and the prestigious Queen’s Cup, Valdet Gashi will be representing Germany against local favourite Petsanguan.

Traditionally the main event in the muaythai calendar for female fighters, the Queen’s Cup has been held on Her Majesty the Queen’s birthday (August 12) every year since 1996. The televised event attracts up to 100,000 spectators to the open air muaythai extravaganza.

Following an agreement between Elite Boxing and the Queen’s Cup’s organisers, four high-profile international male fights will be included in the Queen’s Cup fightcard this year as part of Elite Boxing’s TVC Series. For Valdet Gashi and Germany, it is another opportunity to show a global audience how far German muaythai has come in recent years.

Later this year, German muaythai will really have a chance to shine when the city of Ulm hosts the Thailand vs Germany event as part of the TVC Series on November 14, 2010. International recognition of German muaythai is arriving it seems.