I will never forget it. There was a ton of buzz on all the fight forums in preparation for the World Muay Thai Council and the International Federation of MuayThai Amateur, putting together a major event in Thailand. It was, and I believe still is, the largest collection of organized amateur muay thai fights in the world. I remember how many people were talking about the event, and how it was so big, people started to imagine the idea of Muay Thai being an Olympic sport in the near future. After all, red and blue head gear, body and shin guards, it really did look the part. Then, while exploring the forums one day I came across popular muay thai forum contributor Hellfighter, who posted an interesting picture. It was a picture of him and Artur Kyshenko. I thought it was pretty cool, until I read the comment that accompanied the post. It said that the picture was taken right after Artur Kyshenko won his fight. So naturally, the first thing that ran through me head was. What on Earth is the 2007 K-1 World Grand Prix Semi-finalist doing in an Amateur kickboxing event?
In a way, I almost thought of it as a bully move...until I realized it was the norm. All of a sudden, well known MuayThai fighters started posting pictures from their fights and uploading video from the event. It turns out, that the professional fighters were not the exception, they were the norm. Outside of the female fighters. The majority of the men had fought professional before, and a decent amount of the women had too. After reading that now 27-1 boxer, but then K-1 veteran Alexander Ustinov had won the heavyweight amateur title in 2006, that Shane Campbell, Andrei Kulebin, Dmitry Valent, Emil Zoraj, and many others all competed at the amateur games throughout the years, I heightened my stance. I saw them as taking spots a true amateur could have. Its not just that these men are pro's fighting amateur, but also that these men are World Champions fighting amateur. And here is the strangest thing about it. Despite having my disagreements, in muay thai and kickboxing there is nothing wrong with it.