• A 9-year-old boy wants to fight again so he can help his family financially
  • His mother feels that he was born to fight despite health hazards
  • Professionally competing in combat sports at a young age is being discouraged by medical experts

With COVID-19 cases escalating, sporting events are starting to feel the effects yet again. Some have been postponed, while others need to go through the eye of the needle to give its stakeholders a semblance of normalcy.

Muay Thai prodigies like Pornpattara "Tata" Peachaurai are hoping that they can resume their fighting career with the intention of earning some income to help their families.

For some, it may be rare to hear about a nine-year-old kickboxer fighting to earn a living. But in the case of Peachaurai, he is fighting against poverty, revealing that all proceeds from his fights go directly to his mother.

He fought last October before the pandemic shut down sports events after large gatherings were banned once again, Reuters reported.

"All the money from boxing, the regular payment, and the tips, it all goes to mum," he stated. "I'm proud to be a boxer and to earn money for my mum."

Peachaurai lives with his mother (Sureeporn Eimpong) and sister, Poomrapee, who is ironically into the sport as well. His sister is a pugilist for the national youth team.

Child fights in Thailand are equally popular as bouts that feature adults, and normally take place during festivals, tournaments and temple fairs.

There are reportedly about 300,000 Thai boxers aged below 15 who take part in actual competitions.

While the story of Peachaurai is commendable, it remains that seeing young kickboxers engage in fight sports are not fully supported by all.

Medical experts fear that this could account for stunted growth, long-term neurological problems, brain damage, and disability. Just like most sports, parental consent is required before they can enter the ring.

Regardless, Sureeporn stressed she is not worried despite the potential health scares that Peachaurai could end up with.

Peachaurai's mother said that she trusts the system even if it may not always work that way. A prime example of this is the 13-year-old boy that died in the same tournament where her son competed due to a brain hemorrhage.

But Sureeporn believes that the blame should be on the referee for not immediately stopping the fight.

Boxing is a relatively new sport in Albania, having been banned in the 1960s by the country's former communist dictator Enver Hoxha, who considered it too violent
Boxing is a relatively new sport in Albania, having been banned in the 1960s by the country's former communist dictator Enver Hoxha, who considered it too violent AFP / Gent SHKULLAKU

Aside from that, research has been made on brain scans involving 250 child boxers. Adisak Plitponkarnpim, director of the National Institute of Child and Family Development at Thailand's Mahidol University, was part of that team that found that children could suffer extensive damage that would affect brain development and intelligence levels.

However, Sureeporn could care less and believes that her son was born to fight even at his young age.

"I'm from the lower class, and I just make enough money to survive and don't have savings or fancy homes," she said. "The future of Tata is in boxing."