The Muay Thai Queen’s Cup is Chaos

Fightland Blog

By James Goyder

I’ve travelled all over Asia to watch Muay Thai, boxing and MMA but The Queen’s Cup in Thailand is by far the most chaotic combat sports event that I have ever experienced. It can last for anything up to ten hours and it’s rare for anyone to have anything other than a very rough idea of exactly who is fighting and when.

As a journalist, photographer and fight fan it can be frustrating to have absolutely no idea what time anyone is actually fighting or who they are fighting against but my frustrations pale in comparison to what it must be like for the ‘Nak Muay’ at this event.

Serbian American Ognjen Topic is one of the top foreign Muay Thai fighters in Thailand at present and he experienced the highs and lows of competing in the annual competition which took place in Sanam Luang Park on the outskirts of Bangkok last Friday.

Ognjen knew he would be facing a Russian opponent from the Jitti Gym but other than that he was kept completely in the dark as to what was going on.

“After sitting in traffic for nearly three hours we arrived around 7pm. I was expected to fight around 9:45pm and was ready to go with my massage done and my hands wrapped. We walked out at that time and were sitting at our corner near the ring waiting for the previous fight to end, but when it did they told us that we weren't going to fight yet,” he told Fightland.

It’s difficult for a promoter to know the exact time a fight will start because some bouts might end in the opening round while others go the distance but normally everyone involved has a fairly specific idea of what the schedule will be.

This is not the case at the Queen’s Cup, as Topic would soon discover.

“I was mentally prepared to fight at 9:45pm but I ended up fighting around 2 am. It's bad because we as athletes naturally rely on timing for a good performance, it’s not like something non organic that you can turn on and off at any time and receive the same outcome,” he said.

The evening didn’t turn out too badly for Ognjen who stopped Maxim from Jitti Gym with a knee to the body in the opening round and if his athletic performance was hindered by the four hour wait at least his Russian opponent was in exactly the same boat.

This was Ognjen’s first taste of the competition, which is held every year to honor the birthday of the Queen of Thailand, and he says that overall it was a positive experience.

“I have never fought in the Queen’s Cup before but as bad as it was fighting at that time I still enjoyed it.”

Topic wasn’t the only American on the card. Dillon Croushorn who fights out of Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket, made the 1,500 km trip up to Bangkok just to compete at the Queen’s Cup and said it made a pleasant change of scenery from fighting in air-conditioned stadiums.

“The whole thing was great even though I didn’t get to fight until around 2am. I really like fighting outside and I won in the first round with an elbow KO.”

The Queen’s Cup is one of the highlights on the Muay Thai calendar for Westerners. Totally free to attend, it’s normally held in a park close to the tourist hot spot that is the Koh San Road and the cards tend to consist mainly of foreign fighters.

A few of the fights are always broadcast on domestic TV but perhaps the most exciting thing about the Queen’s Cup is that it is a rare opportunity for Westerners from camps all across the country to come together and test their skills against one another.



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