The Muay Thai Ring

The Muay Thai ring is the same size as that used for Western boxing – 24 square feet, the floor of the ring consisting of judo matting covered with canvas. Traditionally, the four sides of the ring are aligned with the four cardinal points of the compass, the red corner being in the northwest, the blue in the southeast, while the two neutral white corners are in the northeast and southwest. The colours of the two “home bases” are derived from Western boxing and were introduced in the late 1 920s. As in the past, the red corner is still generally assigned to the defending champion or the contestant who is thought to have the advantage, while the blue corner is occupied by the challenger, or the under dog, although sometimes the corners are simply allocated by mutual agreement of the promoters.

All professional Muay Thai fighters have official ring names. The first part of the name is generally their own, while the second is the name of the training camp to which they belong. So in the case of Komgrit Sitpraprom, who is one of the fighters featured in the step-by-step photographs, “Komgrit” is his own first name, while “Sitpraprom” is his camp’s name.

There are many superstitions associated with the Muay Thai ring. On entering the ring, some contestants initially crouch down on the canvas in obeisance, first facing in the direction of their birthplace, and then the four cardinal point of the compass. Sometimes a contestant walks slowly around the edge of the ring, one hand on the top rope: this symbolically seals off the ring from all outside interference. Other fighters place flowers in their own corner, paying homage to the presiding guardian spirit and praying for victory.