Monday, February 27, 2006

Beautiful Boxer back in the ring

Nong Toom, the transsexual Thai boxer who had her life story told in Beautiful Boxer, will be climbing back in the ring for an exhibition match on Sunday at Pattaya's new Fairtex Gym, according to a front-page story today in The Nation.

If you remember, it was Fairtex's Pattaya branch where Jack Osbourne went to shed 70 pounds awhile back, so the place isn't shy about celebrities and publicity stunts.

Nong Toom, also known as Parinya Kiartbussaba or Parinya Charoenphol, is changing her name yet again for this special match, when she'll be known as Nong Toom Fairtex Gym.

After a two-year absence from boxing, Nong Toom, 25, will be fighting in the 140-pound contest against Japan's Kenshiro Lookchaomaekhemthong on Sunday at Fairtex Pattaya’s grand opening.

Nong Toom swore to knock out her opponent within three rounds, but she concedes that the sexual reassignment surgery that made her a woman last year has taken its toll.

"I dare say I'm unsure if I can beat him," she was quoted as saying in The Nation. "The physical changes have taken their toll on me. The Fairtex Sport Club and promoter Banjong Bussarakhamwong just asked me to fight this one match."

"It's a matter of dignity. We both need the victory because I was a muay Thai champion and the Japanese boxer cannot lose to a woman. I will show that even now that I am a woman, I'm still able to punch and kick."

She shrugged off concerns about possible injury to her new feminine figure, especially her upper torso. "I will have a protector and will wear a shirt over it. There's nothing to worry about."

In June, Nong Toom plans another exhibition bout, this time in the US with a female opponent, Lucia Rijker, who portrayed the lethal Blue Bear in Million Dollar Baby.

Update: She won by unanimous decision after the three-round fight, leaving her rival with a cut near his eye from an elbow in the last round.

(Cross-published at Rotten Tomatoes)

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