Eduardo Leal

Documentary Photographer
   
In the Ring
Location: Porto
Nationality: Portuguese
Biography: Eduardo Leal is a Portuguese documentary photographer usually based in Macau, China. Previously he worked for several years in South America. He graduated in Journalism at Escola Superior de Jornalismo (ESJ) and has a Masters in Photojournalism... MORE
Public Story
In the Ring
Copyright Eduardo Leal 2022
Date of Work Sep 2018 - Oct 2018
Updated May 2019
Topics Documentary, Editorial, Gender, Muay Thai, Thailand, Asia, South East Asia, fighting, Women,, Photography, Photojournalism, Sports, Womens Rights
About 15 years ago seeing women on a ring fighting Muay Thai in Thailand was almost unheard of, unless it was in a ceremonial fight in the local temple during the festive season. Nowadays, things are changing and more women are joining the sport and learning the ‘art of the eight limbs’, as it is characterized by the combined use of fists, elbows, knees, and shins.

The city of Chiang Mai is the epicentre of this change with the support of a local promoter that sees the sport as a way to promote equality, and the growing interest in the sport by foreigners flocking into the city.  In some Muay Thai gyms, women already overpass the number of men and every night at least two fights are done by women in one of the most important boxing stadiums of the city.

They found in the gyms and in the sport a community with like-minded girls that love to fight, and they welcome the opportunity of women to prove themselves in the ring. It is also a way to help the income of many of these girls families. But even with all these changes, they believe there is still a long way until the women in Muay Thai get the same recognition as men do.
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