The British Lethwei Association, or BLA, was formed in January 2019 and is a UK based governing body for the Myanmar (Burmese) Traditional Boxing martial art of Lethwei, (Burmese Bare Knuckle Boxing). Shortly after its formation the association made a special visit to Myanmar to meet with the MTBF for liaison and development talks. During this meeting a special certificate was presented to the organisations President and Chairman, recognising him as the official ILF and MTBF Chairman for British Lethwei. Following this acknowledgement a decision was made to further formalise the new recognition, this resulted in the organisation changing its name to the British Lethwei Council (BLC).
The founders of the association saw that the sport was starting to become a huge phenomena around the world, specifically due to the successes of certain western fighters achieving great things in the sports home country of Myanmar. Fighters such as Canadian Dave 'The Nomad' Leduc and Sean Bardoe from the UK.
The founders determined that it was just a matter of time before fights start to occur outside of Asia, and before anyone had put any formal and safe structure in place. Therefore, wanting to help develop the sport in an acceptable and safe way, it was decided that the BLA would be formed.
Alongside the BLA a sister organisation, the World Lethwei Grand Prix (WLGP) was formed in March 2019.
The World Lethwei Grand Prix is an annual event that is underpinned by the Road to Lethwei Grand Prix events that are held throughout the year.
The Road to Lethwei Grand Prix is a fighter development and talent finder promotion that allows top practitioners to showcase their skills and be scouted to potentially fight on the end of year main event.
The BLC has formal affiliation to the Myanmar Traditional Boxing Federation in Yangon. The federation is the sports governing body, and is also a government organisation.
The BLC is in regular contact with the Federation, and visits Yangon annually for meetings, to ensure standards are maintained, but to also discuss ideas for the development of the martial art and sport.
The Council is the the only official governing body in the UK and outside of Asia that is recognised by Myanmar, and heavily involved in the development of the sport.
As well as leading the development of safe practice and competition the Council also formally sanctions championship and ranking events/bouts, at World, Continental, Commonwealth, British, and Regional levels.
Categories of competition that we sanction follow a similar path to those that have already been tried, tested, and proven for many years within the sport of Muay Thai and MMA, and are fundamentally aimed at fighter development, and progression through competitive success. Development classes are: Novice Class, Amateur Class, Pro C Class, Pro B Class, and Pro A Class.
Strict rules are enforced across all levels to ensure the safety of all fighters, regardless of their experience. Novice and Amateur Class practitioners compete only at Sparring, Inter Club, and Open Events, and fall under the new UK rule set of 'Lethwei Lite'.
The Lethwei Lite rules in detail can be found in the rules section of this site, but in summary, are as follows. No head contact is allowed before the age of 16. Following this, 16-18 year old fighters/practitioners will be permitted to use the varying range of head butt techniques, but will be required to wear full face head guards for all combative participation. Other standard Novice and Amateur level safety equipment will also be enforced for both Novice and Amateur classes.
It should be noted: If any UK promoter, Manager, fighter, gym/club, instructor/coach, organisation, state that they are officially involved in Lethwei in any capacity but have not been granted a formal BLC sanction 'Logo stamp', or licence, or certificate of recognition, then they are not officially recognised in the UK, by the BLC, ILFGB, ILF, and MTBF.
For further information regarding safety, club membership, fighter licensing, bout/event sanctioning, association recognition, or for refereeing and coaching courses, please contact us through the email address on the home page, the contact us page, or, through the address provided on our council contacts page.