The origins of Thai boxing are rather unclear. It is believed that a similar fighting system existed even before foundation of the Kingdom of Siam. This combat technique was practised by the Ao Lai tribes who migrated to South-East Asia from the southern regions of China.
The golden age of Muaythai was during the reign of King Rama V who awarded state honours to the best fighters. The most promising novice fighters were recruited and sent to three boxing training centers: Korat, Lobpuri and Tchaiya.
In 1912, during the reign of his successor, King Rama VI, European boxing became popular in Thailand, and a number of changes and developments were incorporated into Muaythai, including the use of boxing gloves, three-minute rounds, and, in 1921, the square boxing ring. The right to surrender was also added.
The modern history of Muaythai began in 1934 when Thailand was officially formed. In 1962, official Muaythai rules modelled on the rules of boxing were issued. In 1977, after two masters of Thai boxing easily defeated European kickboxers in Bangkok, this art gained popularity in the West. In 1984, the first International Federation of Muaythai was founded.