When Was The “Golden Era” Of Muay Thai?

When Was The “Golden Era” Of Muay Thai?
Muay Thai Thursday

The last two decades of the 1900s are often considered the golden era of Muay Thai, and for good reason. During this time, the sport experienced significant growth and development both in Thailand and internationally, thanks to the skills and achievements of its top fighters.

Fighters like Dieselnoi Chor Thanasukarn and Samart Payakaroon were among the most dominant and celebrated fighters of their time, with their names becoming synonymous with Muay Thai greatness. Their fights, as well as those of other top fighters during this era, were watched and admired by fans around the world.

The golden era of Muay Thai also saw significant changes in the sport, including the standardization of weight classes and the establishment of formal rules and regulations. This helped to make Muay Thai more accessible and appealing to a wider audience, both in Thailand and beyond.

The golden era of Muay Thai was a time of incredible growth, development, and inspiration for the sport and its fans. It continues to be remembered and celebrated as a defining moment in the history of Muay Thai.


International Exposure

Global exposure of Muay Thai during the golden era of the 1980s and 1990s attracted fighters from all over the world to compete against the best in Thailand. This not only helped to raise the level of competition but also increased the popularity and prestige of Muay Thai as a sport.

The reason these fights were becoming the international spectacles they were was because of the new way they were being promoted. The best way to attract the top fighters and the crowds was to put on shows of legendary proportions. The promoters put on “super fights” that pitted the top names in Muay Thai against each other for some of the greatest fights in Muay Thai history. 



Two promoters played a significant role in the success of Muay Thai’s golden era. One of the most influential and respected promoters during this time was Songchai Ratanasuban.

Songchai was known for his ability to attract top fighters to his events and for his dedication to promoting Muay Thai both within Thailand and internationally. He was the driving force behind many of the biggest Muay Thai events of the era, including the “Superfight” series, which featured some of the most iconic matchups in the sport’s history.

Another prominent promoter during this time was Thakoon Pongsupha, known for his innovative approach to promoting Muay Thai. He was one of the first promoters to bring Muay Thai to international audiences and was instrumental in helping to popularize the sport in countries such as Japan and the United States.

Overall, the success of Muay Thai’s golden era was due in large part to the efforts of these and other promoters, who helped to elevate the profile of the sport and make it more accessible to fans around the world. 

The promoters knew that the fights during this golden era could only be held in places that were equal to the talent that was entering these rings. The fights were held in two of the most prestigious arenas across Thailand, and it was on these “sacred and holy grounds” that Bangkok and Muay Thai were introduced to the world.  


The Sacred Grounds Of Muay Thai

There are two world-renowned stadiums, both of which are in Bangkok, that are now and have always been the apex of the Muay Thai world. It’s inside these two stadiums that Muay Thai became known as it is, and it’s inside these two stadiums that the legendary fights of the golden era took place. 

They are Rajadamnern Stadium and the Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok. Each stadium is capable of holding thousands of spectators watching some of the greatest Muay Thai fighters in the world. 



The list of great fighters during this time is extensive but there is one who seems to stand out among the rest as the most dominant and influential fighter of this era. That fighter is Samart Payakaroon.

Samart was known for his incredible speed, technique, and versatility in the ring. He was able to win titles in multiple weight classes and was the first fighter to ever hold both the Lumpinee Stadium championship and the Rajadamnern Stadium championship simultaneously.

He was also known for his ability to seamlessly transition between Muay Thai and Western boxing styles, which helped to revolutionize the sport and make it more appealing to international audiences.

Samart’s dominance in the ring, combined with his charisma and popularity outside of it, helped to elevate the profile of Muay Thai and inspire a generation of fighters to follow in his footsteps. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest Muay Thai fighters of all time, and his impact on the sport is still felt today.



One of the reasons that this particular time in Muay Thai history was so good for the fighters and the sport itself was the fact that Thailand’s economy at this time was the world’s fastest growing economy, and that spelled out a wealth of opportunity for promoters, fighters, and aspiring champions during the first decade of the golden era. 

Economics and prosperity go hand in hand and at the end of the era in 1997, the economy in Thailand collapsed, taking a devastating toll on the country and putting an end to the golden era of Muay Thai as well. 

There may be some who contest the idea that this particular time was filled with better fighters and bigger shows, but the truth is that this truly was a time when Muay Thai fights were gold for the world to see. and this particular moment in time forever changed the face of the sport of Muay Thai. It truly was a time of great achievement and prosperity that gave so many the opportunity to shine. It was the Golden Era of Muay Thai.


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