A fighter’s journey is never easy. There are the blows in the ring and then there are ones outside of it. It’s a long road, with not a lot of reward, thus reserved for those who truly love it.
In honour of Pride month ROUGH was privileged enough to interview transgender fighter Angie Petchrungruang about life as a Muay Thai fighter.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am thirty three years old now. I was born in Chang Rai, in Northern Thailand. I have been training at Petchrungruang Gym in Pattaya for almost three years and have had 16 fights.
Why did you start fighting? What do you like about it?
I was learning massage at a local school in Pattaya. Another student from Italy trained Muay Thai at Petchrungraung. So I knew about the gym from him. I began training after that. I actually I don’t like fighting but I do it because I want to overcome fear. I am afraid to get hurt. I get afraid when I fight because so many people are watching me. I get nervous. My goal with each bout is to beat my fear.
How does it feel to be a transgender boxer?
I’m proud of myself. People get excited when they see me fight and it makes Muay Thai more colorful. I have to fight with cis men which is hard. I have taken hormones for over 10 years which makes me tired, and soft. I’ve also had a breast operation.
I am proud of myself that I can be a boxer and that I can carry on the Muay Thai tradition. The sport is the nation’s most precious art form.
Do you get treated differently because of your gender?
If you mean am I different from the male fighters – no. Everything is the same except I wear tank tops when I fight. I live a normal life like other people around me. At the gym there are no problems. I am respected because I am older than a lot of the other fighters.
Do you have any role models?
My idol is Nong Toom, Parinya Charoenphol, The Beautiful Boxer. Like me she is transgender and that’s why I like her.
What will you do in the future? Will you continue to fight?
I know that one day I will retire. My plan is to start a business with my sister. We will move to Rayong and open a shop there and sell food.