Phetjee Jaa O. Mee Khun is a 13-year-old from the Chonburi Province of Thailand. She loves school, her family, and muay thai.
She really loves muay thai. She trains every day, and has done so since she was 7.
Her intensive training has lead to her becoming not only one of the most formidable opponents among other girls her age, but boys too.
By age 10, she had fought more than 20 girls and 70 boys.
Fellow professional muay thai fighter Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu told BuzzFeed News that Samart Payakaroon — a fighter considered to be one of the best muay thai fighters of all time — said Mee Khun is upholding the honor of the sport.
However, two years ago, the Thai athletic commission enforced a pre-existing rule that prevented co-ed fights from being televised, effectively stalling Mee Khun's career.
Mee Khun is unable to fight boys, and girls her age are unwilling to fight her. Von Duugals-Ittu said she is now stuck competing at a huge disadvantage against girls in heavier weight classes, just to get the chance to participate.
In an interview with AJ+, Mee Khun summed up the sport's attitude towards female fighters.
Von Duugals-Ittu, who has trained closely with Mee Khun, called her a hero.
"She fights unlike any other girl and she's only 13 years old. If anyone is capable of cracking the glass ceiling of female muay thai in Thailand, it's Phetjee Jaa."
Rachael Krishna is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Rachael Krishna at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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