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“When I started fighting I was eight years old. I was nervous for the first couple of fights, but soon got over it,” remembers Khru Chamnong, a Thai trainer. “Boys that get in the ring compete to honour their parents, their village, the sport. It’s in our blood.”

Children from seven years old are paired with similarly diminutive Burmese counterparts.

The sweltering venue, a makeshift stadium of corrugated iron, is far from the glory of Bangkok’s arenas. The area is home to political exiles, ethnic rebels, refugees and smugglers of humans, drugs and gems.

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