In an official statement released by Royal Thai Army spokesperson, Lieutenant General Santi Phong Thamphiya, there are plans to stop Muay Thai events at the world-renowned Lumpinee Stadium and transform it into a sports development center.
The news came as a shock for the Muay Thai industry and fans all around the world. Lumpinee Stadium holds prestige as one of the two most important Thai boxing arenas in the world, along with Rajadamnern Stadium. It is a celebrated arena where countless champions were made and legends were created.
The original Lumpinee Stadium first opened its doors on 8 December 1956. In February 2014, the old Lumpinee Stadium at Rama IV Road held its last show before relocating to Ramintra Road where it currently sits and holds regular events until COVID-19 hit.
Lumpinee Stadium is operated by the Royal Thai Army and talks are now in progress at the army headquarters over the eventual fate of Lumpinee Stadium. Two other boxing camps operated by the Thai army are confirmed to be closed. They are the Adisorn camp and Suranaree camp boxing stadiums.
Many in the industry have come out to verbally rally against the decision to put an end to matches at Lumpinee, calling for the authorities to preserve the Muay Thai heritage. The industry has been severely affected by COVID-19 with many boxers and gyms out of work and income due to the suspension of fights.
After more than 60 years as a mecca for Muay Thai enthusiasts and combat sports fans as well as a major tourist attraction, Lumpinee Stadium may become a relic of Muay Thai history if matches are indeed suspended indefinitely.