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Beautiful Boxer

 

beautiful-boxer-transexual-film.jpgBased on the true story of Thailand’s famed transexual kickboxer, Beautiful Boxer is a poignant action drama that punches straight into the heart and mind of a boy who fights like a man so he can become a woman.

Believing he’s a girl trapped in a boy’s body since childhood, Parinya Charoenphol (affectionately known as Nong Toom in Thailand) sets out to master the most masculine and lethal sport of Muay Thai (Thai kickboxing) to earn a living and to achieve his ultimate goal of total femininity. Touching, funny and packed with breathtaking Thai kickboxing scenes, Beautiful Boxer traces Nong Toom’s childhood, teenage life as a traveling monk, grueling days in boxing camps and explosive matches where he knocks out most of his opponents across Thailand and Japan.

Winner of two Thai ‘Oscars’ for Best Actor and Best Makeup, the film had its international premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival. It has since garnered 10 international awards to date including Best Feature Film awards from Milan, Brussels, Montreal and Torino plus a string of other awards from Los Angeles, San Sebastian, Seattle, Oslo and India.

The Cast

Starring real-life kickboxing champ Asanee Suwan in the lead role, Beautiful Boxer also features acclaimed performances by award-winning veteran actor Sorapong Chatree (Thailand’s ‘Robert De Niro) in the role of Nong Toom’s coach and former Miss Thailand Orn-Anong Panyawong in the role of Nong Toom’s mother.

beautiful-boxer-kickboxer.jpg

Asanee Suwan as transexual kickboxer Nong Toom

A professional boxer since 12, Asanee Suwan has fought in nearly 200 matches in Thailand and Denmark, and won in most of them. Ranked No. 5 by the World Muay Thai Council in the 118 pound category, he was also named the Best Kickboxer by the Association of Muay Thai for the Northern Region of Thailand in 2001. Other boxing accolades include the 2000 Feather Weight Champion (Association of Muay Thai for the Northern Region) and the 1994 Rising Star 29kg Champion (Cholburee province).

transexual-kickboxers-pre-fight-ritual.jpg

Nong Toom's trademark pre-fight dance ritual

Discovered through nation-wide open auditions which attracted people from all walks of life from more than 40 provinces across Thailand, Asanee had to spend nearly a year preparing for the role of Nong Toom. He attended acting, movement and ballet classes; took likay (traditional Thai street opera) lessons; and went through an intensive personality grooming course usually reserved for beauty queens. Before filming certain pivotal scenes in the film, he was also required to stick to a strict skin and body care regime which include numerous body scrub and hair removal sessions. In addition, he had to lose substantial amount of weight and muscle to make himself physically more feminine. Nong Toom herself also gave Asanee one-to-one training sessions to help him perfect her trademark dance rituals which she performed before every boxing match.

Kyoko Inoue, Japan’s top female wrestler was invited to play herself in the film. A seasoned wrestler with more than 3,000 wrestling matches to her credit, Kyoko has fought with Nong Toom in real life in Tokyo on 24 November 1988.

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The Muay Thai ring is no place to be worrying about breaking a nail!

That historical match was reenacted in the film’s spectacular fight sequence shot in Japan’s Tokyo Dome, one of the world’s largest indoor stadiums. Nong Toom’s ten other opponents in the movie were also played by real-life professional kickboxers. Together, these professional kickboxers have chalked up more than 1,000 professional bouts in their respective boxing careers.

The fight choreography in the film was created in conjunction with one of Thailand’s top Muay Thai teachers Sanae Tupthimtong. He has collaborated with Uekrongtham in 1998 to create fight choreography between the original Siamese Twins and the villagers in Chang & Eng – The Musical.

Nong Toom Parinya Charoenphol herself also had a guest-starring role in the film.

The Director's Message

director-transexual-kickboxer.jpgEkachai Uekrongtham, the film's director said, “I was hesitant to make a film about Nong Toom’s life at first. I’d heard of her and was intrigued by her story. To me, she’s a walking paradox: a lethal kickboxer who fights like a man but dreams of becoming a woman. The conflicts within such a young person must have been extraordinary, I thought. There’s certainly a fertile ground there for a great deal of dramatic exploration. But I was not sure if I’d be able to find an emotional anchor in her controversial story for myself, for the audience.

My first meeting with Nong Toom took place not long after she had her sex change operation. Admittedly, I went to that meeting with some pre-conceived ideas about who she is, the boy she was, and the man she used to be. She surprised me.

So here it is… a story of a human being who goes on an incredible emotional journey to try to match his heart with his body. Masculinity vs. Femininity. Heart vs. Head. Dream vs. Reality. Fighting vs. Living.”

About the Real Life Nong Toom

He is now a she. In real life, Nong Toom’s dream has come true after undergoing a sex-change operation in 1999.

nong-toom-transexual-kickboxer.jpg

The real life Nong Toom in photos from age 6 to 21

Now a model, actress and Muay Thai teacher based in Bangkok, Nong Toom can no longer fight in the ring as women are not allowed in professional boxing rings for men in Thailand.

Born into a poor family of nomads, Nong Toom spent his childhood traveling around the country with his family before settling down in Chiangmai province in the Northern part of Thailand. Prior to his big match in Bangkok in February 1998, he'd won 20 out of 22 matches in many provinces. He's feared by his opponents for his trademark swooping kicks, flying elbows and stinging uppercuts. His deadly prowess in the ring made it hard for the public to understand his ambition of becoming a woman.

Undoubtedly one of Thailand's best known kickboxers, Nong Toom is admired by many for his courage and despised by others who accused him of tarnishing the masculine image of Thai kickboxing.

Beautiful Boxer is now screening at selected cinemas around the world and will be released in cinemas in UK by Tartan Films on 21st October 2005.

 

 

I bet she can kick some serious ass. I wanna learn muay thai. she's my hero.

anyone on here take muay thai or boxing lessons?

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yeah, lady boys are all over bangkok.

 

I went there and didn't see a muay thai fight or the ping pong show... i think they threatened to keep my passport until I did.

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Been doing MT for about a year or more, now. As well as BJJ, but, that's a different story.

 

It's fun, a great way to protect yourself (If you're into it for that reason) and I've lost more bodyfat in this last year than I thought was possible.

 

It's basically everything cool, compiled into one sport.

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I do muay thai, so does my girlfriend and there's almost as many women at my gym as men, including a couple of state and national champions. If you're doing muay thai for fitness, which most people at my gym do, there's absolutely no need to worry about looking like a fool. Nobody is worried about your technique, only their own. It's the most enjoyable workout I've ever done.

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Been doing MT for about a year or more, now. As well as BJJ, but, that's a different story.

 

It's fun, a great way to protect yourself (If you're into it for that reason) and I've lost more bodyfat in this last year than I thought was possible.

 

It's basically everything cool, compiled into one sport.

 

I just started my first class in over 5 years last sunday. Real sloppy and horrible rythm but I'm catching back up....

 

Bonus Highlight Clip

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the only problem i see with muay thai is if you train seriously

it damages your body in the long run.

its not something you could keep up for the rest of your life.

learn a softer fighting style.

 

btw i loved that movie on dude/dudette

the coolest transvestite ever

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UFC is on right now!

 

My uncle used to teach Muay Thai. I believe it is a great workout to build strength and fighting techniques.

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haha. i can kinda see suki training for some reason. and riding a bike to training too. wich brings me to another point. next time you give a dogg away....make it a contest. they must fight you to the death for puppy!

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haha. i can kinda see suki training for some reason. and riding a bike to training too. wich brings me to another point. next time you give a dogg away....make it a contest. they must fight you to the death for puppy!

 

i can see it, but there's music from "rocky" playing.

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i doooooo have the eye of the tiger.

rawr.

i dunno, i think it could be pretty cool being able to kick some serious ass.

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That guy/girl/sheman was on that discovery channel show "Taboo."

 

Muai Thai is tight and there's a real world-reknown dojo in downtown San Francisco. I tried it for a couple weeks but my last couple training partners were dicks and kept trying to injure me, which if you do any martial art you know that constitutes an asswhooping.

 

Still I think if you're proficient in karate and akito you could kick more ass.

 

But nothing beats the ole patented thumb in the eye.

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