Axel Ohlander from Växjö, Sweden, traveled to Bangkok, Thailand, for nearly three months to train and compete in the Thai national sport Muay Thai. After trying various gyms, he was recruited to the Family Muay Thai Gym, which prepared Axel for his first Muay Thai fight in Thailand.
In Sweden, Axel trains with ATF Gym in Växjö and teaches other practitioners of the sport. Before coming to Bangkok, he had fought two opponents in Muay Thai and three in Kickboxing.
About his decision to go to Thailand to train and compete in Muay Thai, Axel says:
“I wanted to train Muay Thai in the country it’s from. I also wanted to experience the tradition and culture around it and see how it differs from Muay Thai in Europe. In addition, I was excited to fully focus on Muay Thai and training 5-6 hours per day while living at the gym with other fighters.”
On March 20, 2023, Axel met his first Thai opponent at the legendary Rajadamnern Stadium. Rajadamnern is the first main Muay Thai stadium in Thailand, built in 1941 by orders of Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram. Together with Lumpinee Boxing Stadium, Rajadamnern is regarded highest of the stadiums in the home country of Muay Thai.
Axel’s opponent was far more experienced, with about 100 fights. At least 12 Nordics and Nordic friends had traveled to Rajadamnern to support Axel. After three rounds of commendable fighting by Axel, he lost on points.
An experience richer, Axel went back to the Family Muay Thai Gym to prepare for the next fight on April 10, 2023. Returning to Rajadamnern, he was fighting a Burmese opponent. Just before the fight, it was clear in Axel’s eyes that he had returned to the stadium to win.
The first round went well, and his Nordic supporters in the audience think he won the round. Axel got his opponent into the clinch about one minute into the second round. After giving numerous knees to the Burmese fighter, the referee ended the fight to declare Axel the winner on technical knockout (TKO). Local news in Sweden reported on Axel’s win.
After months of training and two fights in Thailand, Axel says:
“Hard works pay! I’ve learned a new way of training, which I’ll bring to my club in Sweden, where I train others. I’ve realized the importance of helping others in their training and how it improves you. The Thai people’s openness and humbleness is something I’ve appreciated significantly and will make me come back soon again.”