In a Bangkok ring, Anthony, the French champion, confronted Phanphet. This didn’t rise up.
Anthony Durand is inconsolable. What number of nights with out with the ability to sleep, get up with pink eyes and repeat this dangerous dream … In Nemours, this 22-year-old father hen, already the daddy of three kids from 5 months to three years outdated, Lyna, Inaya and Haïm attempt to overlook , within the love of her kids, the tragedy that occurred virtually three weeks in the past in Bangkok. A horrible and indelible “hapax” that he would have gladly achieved with out. Muay Thai, Thai boxing, this martial artwork born within the kingdom of Ayutthaya within the 14th century, was 12 when she fell in love with it. With an obsession: making it his job and boxing in Bangkok in opposition to the masters of the self-discipline.
With round 50,000 members, Thai boxing is extraordinarily standard in France, the European nation with the biggest variety of practitioners. Already two instances French Muay Thai champion, Anthony stands out. “He is likely one of the most gifted boxers of his era of him. The mission was to turn out to be world champion earlier than the age of 25 ”, affirms Faousi Arfaoui, his coach on the Thai boxing fort of Nemours. The younger Frenchman has already made his dream come true and has made a number of journeys to Thailand. Directing coaching camps the exhausting means, the place we run ten kilometers from 5:30 am, into an oven and muggy place to get our heatwaves by for large expense alerts. Each day you need to elevate tons of forged iron and multiply your pull-ups, units of 1000’s of abs, knees with a punching bag. And above all of the hand-to-hand fights in opposition to ravenous sparring companions, exhausting in ache and with cheeky muscle tissues. The younger French, the bosses of their golf equipment, who come to confront the native champions are a legion. Most come out contrite, coated in bruises, typically lining up for the primary spherical rely of the primary competitors. However not Antonio.
In every of his fights in Thailand, in 2019 after which in March 2022, this good-looking big with a young look and a mild stamp managed to win. Additionally, when he falls into the ring on July 15, at Pathum Thani, Thupatemi Air Pressure boxing stadium, within the nice suburb of Bangkok, he solely thinks of victory. As all the time, to make the burden (73 kilos), it was essential to multiply the races in oppressive warmth, seasoned in a mix of sweating, consuming solely water. His opponent, Phanphet Phadungchai, 25, a muscular with button eyes, has represented his nation in worldwide competitions. Anthony, who speaks neither Thai nor English, has by no means heard of it.
When coming into the ring, the fighters have their foreheads edged with the sacred coiffure: the mongkon. Phanphet Phadungchai bows his head thrice, at every nook, in greeting to Buddha (the faith), Rama (the king) and the sangha (the clergy). Anthony is already in his bubble. The Thai ends his ritual dance, the ram muay, to the sound of a small orchestra which, composed of a drum, a harpsichord and a nasal oboe, will mark the turns with its acute syncope. The battle begins. The Frenchman is sweet at his recreation. He dominates. His toes (entrance kicks) and his khao loy (leaping knees) hit the mark. His opponent collects. Shocked within the fourth spherical, this does not keep away from the Ok.-O. solely by holding on to the ropes, on the excessive restrict of regularity.
“In Europe, in such a circumstances, the match is stopped, Anthony factors out. The opponent is counted and checked that he’s in possession of all of the technique of him. However not in Thailand. I assumed it could finish with a factors win. However within the fifth spherical, simply 1 minute and 18 seconds from the top of the match, Nemours’ boxer unleashes his particular, the sok lap lang, an elbow returned, which strikes at each match. Hit within the head, the Thai collapses, arms outstretched, and falls closely to the carpet. Within the photographs of the battle being broadcast dwell within the kingdom, he’s clearly surprised, his eyes closed, however he’s respiration. I evacuated him on a stretcher. No obvious emotion within the ring. “I have never actually raised my arms or proven extreme pleasure,” says Anthony. Then I went again to the lodge, exhausted, however unable to sleep. Adrenaline “.
I used to be in shock, upset
The following day, once you get up, it is annihilation. Anthony learns that his opponent has been rushed to a close-by hospital: he has suffered a mind hemorrhage and oscillates between life and loss of life. “I used to be in shock, upset, the younger Frenchman testifies. In a short time, I went to go to his household, to offer them my whole scholarship [10 000 bahts, soit 270 euros]. I hesitated, telling myself that I used to be the final particular person they needed to see. Amazingly, they welcomed me and comforted me, touched by my ache, ensuring they did not hold it. The deadly consequence appears inevitable. However no ache or extreme effusion amongst these near Phanphet. In Thailand, loss of life is simply a continuum of life. Confronted with it, a single perspective: settle for and transfer ahead.
Within the kingdom, the chronicle made the entrance web page of the chronicle. Thai boxing might be very spectacular and fierce fights, critical accidents are uncommon. Anthony: “It was getting tough. The photographs of the battle saved coming again to me. I mentioned to myself: it’s not possible that I “killed” him. Solely that phrase scares me. I had to return to mine. On Saturday 23 July, in Nemours, surrounded by his household, he discovered of the loss of life of his opponent. The younger man instantly declares that he’ll put an finish to his boxing profession. On a regular basis. “I am going to by no means be capable of practice and even ship a shot once more,” he says. He’s past my energy. “Ladda Klinming, the mom of the deceased, instantly replies:“ I see that Anthony is heartbroken. I do not blame him. It was a battle. Whether or not he stops combating or not, I forgive him. It was an accident in a fight sport. “
Immediately Anthony, whose ardour and solely sustenance was muay thai, is just not certain what is going to turn out to be of him, even when the occupation of athletic coach tempts him. “Thailand, I hope to return at some point on trip. There I’ll go to Phanphet’s household. The Frenchman created a kitten to assist his opponent’s spouse and granddaughter financially.
On the eve of the funeral, which happened on July 31 and August 1 in Kong Krailat, Sukhothai province, the widow of the downed boxer, Chadaporn Thongchua, sends a last message to Phanphet and Anthony, now brothers of misfortune “Phanphet, any longer onwards, I’ll do all the pieces I can to ensure our son is nearly as good an individual as you deliberate. As soon as the funeral is over, I’ll stop my job and return to dwell together with your dad and mom, deal with them for you. I do not need Anthony to hold up his gloves. I would like you to meet your dream of being a champion. “
In Nemours, taking a look at his belts and two daughters excited to level the finger (“Dad!”) In his battle photographs, Anthony Durand oscillates between discontent and nostalgia. He should dwell his complete life with this. Shall be tough. However he too should settle for and transfer on.