French Muay Thai boxer quits sport after death of Thai opponent

MONDAY, JULY 25, 2022

French boxer Anthony TF has announced his retirement following the death of his opponent, well-known Muay Thai fighter Panphet Phadungchai.

In a Facebook post on Sunday, TF said he had been deeply shocked by Panphet’s death and would not return to the ring again.

Panphet, 25, died from a brain injury in a Bangkok hospital on Saturday, nine days after being knocked out by a spinning elbow in a bout against TF at Thupatemi stadium in Pathum Thani. He had won medals at international level for Thailand, including in the Southeast Asian Games and world amateur championships.

The death shocked the world of martial arts but also triggered concerns over medical aid at tournaments.

In his post, TF speculated that brain injuries suffered by Panphet previously over his 80-fight career may have contributed to the tragedy. But the Frenchman said he could not deny responsibility over Panphet’s death.

“Of course, I feel partly responsible, no one can take that out of my head. Even if your messages, your calls and comments are comforting me at the moment, I am deeply sad, it's inexplicable, but it's fate and I have no right to oppose it,” TF posted in French.

He said he hoped Panphet would rest in peace and also pledged to take care of the late boxer’s family.

“I only hope that he is resting in peace now and I vow to help his mother, wife and their little girl financially until she tells me they don’t need it anymore,” TF said.

“This, my 28th fight, was unfortunately my last fight. I will not return, not because I do not have the strength but because I have convictions and I stick to them. Thanks to everyone who’s been there since my beginning and sorry because I know some people sacrificed a lot to see me at the top.”

His Facebook had drawn 430 responses with 79 comments by noon on Monday.

Many of the comments urged him to be at peace since the tragic death was an accident in a martial sport. Some encouraged him to fight on and become a champion in honour of Panphet.

“I want you to fight for him [Panphet]. If he could say something to you, he would surely tell you to become a champ for him. Don’t let his passing be for nothing,” commented Vichak Thotsasphornthaweesap.

“It’s a sport. Don't blame yourself. No one wants something like this to happen,” said Facebook user Yo Yo Jung, who added that TF should keep fighting.