Rajdamnern Stadium History
Over the centuries, Thai people had gathered in many places to watch MuayThai fights. But, until 1941, there had never been a central main stadium to stand over the others.
Fights took place in provincial temple fairs or at festivals – with boxers often travelling hundreds of miles to meet an opponent.
In Bangkok, the setting was usually a public park but cinemas were also used.
In that year, Field-Marshal P Pibulsongkram gave orders for a stadium to be built on Rajadamnern Avenue. Property along the corner of that area was handed over to the Crown Property office to build the arena.
Work began in March with an estimated cost of 258,900 Baht. Due to the advent of World War II, construction was halted shortly afterwards until August 1945.
The first fight took place on the night of December 23rd 1945.
Although strange to believe now, the stadium was open-air then with seats tiered similar to today around the ring. Tickets were priced at between 70 and 300 Baht.
It wasn’t until 1951 that a roof was added on. The fights continued during this construction phase with the boxers picking their way carefully to the ring !
Right from the start, it was established as the standard for MuayThai in Thailand. The regulations used in stadiums around the country follow those laid down here. Many of the traditions of MuayThai were saved for prosperity by Acharn Chua Chakshuraksha. He was an integral part of the stadium from the beginning to his death in 1982. He ensured that the treasures of the various Wai Kru, the use of Mongkhon and other traditional aspects were not swept away by modernity.
Boxers of such a high calibre as Apidej Sit-Hirun, who was welterweight champion here before also claiming the Lumpini title, followed by Pudpardnoi Worawoot with his famous K.O using the elbow against Huasai Sittiboonlert in 1974.
Boxers who have achieved an especially high standard are honoured with thick gold chains and a ceremonial jacket – as well as the sought after title of Fighter of the Year.
The Royal Family of Thailand have very close ties to this stadium. H.R.H., the Crown Prince (whose 50th birthday was recently marked by the IFMA World Cup 2002) honoured Narn-Nam Muangsarin by presenting him with the Champions’ belt. He has also presided over many charity bouts to raise funds for the Ananda Mahidol MuayThai Foundation. Acharn Chua’s contribution to Thai culture was acknowledged when he was granted a Royal Cremation by His Majesty, the King.
In 1969, the great Rocky Marciano was a guest referee for the International Boxing title fight between Raksak Wayupuk and Saknoi Sor Kosum. This is part of a tradition whereby the last fight of the night is always an International-style fight.
Along with Lumpini Stadium, Rajadamnern Stadium comprises the original home of MuayThai.