The refs have to jump in fast, because there are no points to deduct for foul play. If both boxers are still standing after five three-minute rounds, the fight’s a draw. Victory must be won by knockout.

Dark-skinned, longyi-clad Burmese, lips stained red from betel nut, suffer the defeat of their boxers in quiet resignation and passionately hail their victories.

Gloves were introduced to Thai boxing in 1929, reducing fatalities, but are shunned here. Authorities tolerate the outlawed bouts as celebrations of the nation’s historic prowess.

Feet, knees, fists and elbows can strike any part of the body but the groin, which is protected by a metal cup laced into place like a G-string. Strips of hemp bind fists, sometimes secured by a few turns of electrical tape. Biting, eye-gouging and kicking a downed opponent are forbidden.

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