Samui bash gets feminine touch

Three women boxers, all Western, will feature in professional Muay Thai bouts on Wednesday as part of a major television series being shot on the world-famous tourist destination Koh Samui.

Rachel Webb is one of the three boxers to fight this Wednesday.

The finale of the Million Baht Babes reality television series takes place at Phetch Buncha Stadium located on Chaweng side of the island.

The bouts coincide with the nationwide celebrations marking HM the King's birthday.

Shooting for Million Baht Babes began a few months ago, and among the cast are a trio of British, German and Australian women entering a Muay Thai ring for the first time.

The best fighter on the night receives 1 million baht in prize money.

The six-part series also features celebrity trainers from The Biggest Loser Asia show and Emmy-nominated The Challenger. It is being put together by Lenscap Asia, a company with long experience in reality television, based on Koh Samui.

Samantha "Sammy" Kirk (Australian), Michaela "Mickey" Michl (German) and Rachel Webb (British) have put themselves through a gruelling training programme comprising hours and hours of Muay Thai training every day, long distance running, endurance swimming, mountain running and sprints, squats, sit-ups, push-ups and weightlifting in preparation for the big day, when they will be taking on native boxers.

The World Muay Thai Council (WMC) is behind the show, which is being filmed at the Lamai Muay Thai Gym and Fitness Centre.

This television series intends to do the same for the female version of the sport as The Challenger and Contender did for the reputation of Muay Thai worldwide. The women's trainers include last year's winner of The Challenger and former Muay Thai world champion in the middleweight division, Mardsua Tum; former champion Stephan Fox, the current vice-president of the World Muay Thai Council who was the celebrity trainer on The Biggest Loser Asia, and the sport's mentor extraordinaire Ralph Beale.

Fitness coach Billy Orr, who put contestants on The Challenger and Biggest Loser Asia through their paces, did the same for the cast on Million Baht Babes. He specialises in strength training and shedding weight.

The series will be broadcast by television channels worldwide next year, including ESPN Asia.

Tickets to the fight will be available at the door on the night.