One of YOKKAO’s core missions is building the Muay Thai sport and supporting fighters who do their best to promote the sport in all its different aspects.
In what has quickly become a viral news in the global Muay Thai community, YOKKAO founder, Philip Villa announced the signing of transgender Muay Thai fighter, Nong Rose Baan Charoensuk to the YOKKAO Fight Team under a 3-year sponsorship contract.
Born Somros Polcharoen in the Northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima, Nong Rose is a Isaan region champion, Northeast champion and a Thairath TV champion -115lbs. With over 300 fights on her record, she is a well-rounded fighter who is strong in the clinch with a strong knee-fighting style. She is also a transgender woman who competes against men in the sport.
In 2017, Rajadamnern Stadium overturned decades of legacy dress code that disallowed sports bras and long hair for competitors. The rule forbade women and transgender fighters from entering the ring of the revered stadium. Nong Rose made history as the first transgender fighter to compete in the ring of the prestigious Rajadamnern Stadium where she also headlined the event and won her bout.
Nong Rose made the news following the historical bout and was featured in all Muay Thai publications. She also became a global phenomenon appearing on numerous international online magazines.
Despite a perceived open-mindedness, there is still prejudice towards the transgender community within Thailand. Nong Rose hopes and is -literally- fighting to change this. She says,
“I fight the way I do to be a representative for transgender women everywhere. I’d like to think that I’m helping at least some part of society accept us for who we are.”
“Transgender people should be given the same rights and respect as everyone else and I do believe that in the Muay Thai world when even females are not considered given the respect they so deserve, this will be the beginning of many changes within Muay Thai. For there to be a change, actions are required and this is my contribution to social equality.”
The inclusion of Nong Rose into the YOKKAO Fight Team will help support her professional goals as a Muay Thai athlete but also fulfil her dreams of being an ambassador for Muay Thai and transgender rights around the world. We are here to support her on the journey and campaign for a truly inclusive Muay Thai world and social equality.