In the early seventies in the former Soviet Union, many martial artists were treated no better than criminals of the State.

Ukraine Muay Thai League

The history of Muay Thai in the Soviet Union is very fascinating, full of adventure and suspense. From its conception, at least in the Ukraine, the sports followers were faced with immense difficulties due to restrictions of the Communist regime. In the mid- seventies when the Soviet Union was still behind the "Iron Curtain", bits of information about such forms of martial arts as Karate and Kung-Fu began to trickle into the country.  The struggle to advance Muay Thai continued without Vadim and Borodin and was replaced with a talented athletic coach Mr. Vitaly Rytchko, with whom they were finally able to unite the Muay Thai clubs of the Ukraine, Moldovia and Moscow into the USSRMTF (Union of Soviet Socialist Republic Muay Thai Federation) also known as the Russian Muay Thai Federation.

On behalf of the UMTL,  I write to inform your readers of our existence. The UMTL was still in its infancy and was created on the basis  of the Odessa Muay Thai Gym. This gym was the first in the Ukraine which began to popularize and develop Thai Boxing (Muay Thai) since 1988. At this time, a totalitarian regime existed in the USSR.

All kinds of oriental martial arts were strictly prohibited (Including Muay Thai). The training and study of martial arts was punishable by a five year prison sentence. n spite of the hardships put on people who wished to learn , many were secretly training in Muay Thai via videos and books smuggled into the USSR from abroad.

Risking serious repercussions from the Soviet authorities, Vadim Fyodorov and Vladimir Borodin from Odessa contributed very much to the development of Muay Thai in the Ukraine. They created an illegal Thai Boxing training facility. During this time, both were hounded by the Soviet authorities and were forced to emigrate from the Ukraine. After the disintegration of the former USSR, in 1991, the ban on Oriental martial arts including Muay Thai was lifted.

At  that time, Odessa Muay Thai camp was under the direction of Vitaliy Rytchko. Shortly after this, a big publicity campaign for the sport of Muay Thai in motion.  This began to popularize the sport in the Ukraine and Muay Thai tournaments were conducted in Odessa, the same year. The Odessa Gym became a member of the EMTA and represented the Ukraine in this association.

Due to the lack of support from the EMTA, the UMTL traveled to Thailand to continue to learn Muay Thai, and has eventually produced eight more training camps in spite of the difficult economic state of the country.  The amateur and professional tournaments. The UMTL fighters have participated in amateur in Thailand, there they have won Silver and Bronze. They have also taken part in several "Free-Style" tournaments in Italy.


Ukraine Muay Thai fighters have since been very successful in competitions mainly due to Vitali's constant promotion of the Ukraine fighters.  He has promoted Ukraine fighters throughout Europe and Eastern countries with the purpose of popularizing and  publicizing Muay Thai.  Having created a television program called  "TV Ring", where they discussed and showed news and information about Thai Boxing, Kickboxing, Karate and Boxing. This program  became very popular among the sports spectators. The UMTL   produced a small  book  "Muay Thai-Thailand Boxing", which was the first publication on the sport in the Ukraine. As is customary among athletes to help one another, the UMTL helped to establish the Bulgarian Muay Thai into the European Muay Thai Association, the Russian Muay Thai League was formed in Novosibirsk headed by Mr. Oleg Terekov.

Oleg Terekov had also gone through the adversities of the underground and  developed close contacts American Muay Thai representatives. From 1992 through 1993, athletes of Russia, Ukraine and Belarussia conducted many successful tournaments in the former Soviet Union and in Europe. In the latter few years and with the help of the president of the German Muay Thai Board (Deutsche Muay Thai Bond), Mr. Detlef Turnau, Mr. Vitaly Rytchko opened the first professional Muay Thai club in Odessa. In 1994 Vitali completed a training seminar in Thailand, which further helped the advancement of his athletes.

 In 1995 the Ukraine Muay Thai League became a member of the World Muay Thai Council and since then has taken part in the Prince's Cup and King's Cup of Thailand organized by the Amateur Muay Thai Association of Thailand. The UMTL has strong links with the United States and Vladimir Borodin,  who became an International Representative of the United States Muay Thai Association continues to work closely with Vitali, where they are working to promote more competitions between the Soviet nations and the United States.

Between  Vladimir Borodin,  Vadim Fyodorov, Vitali Rytchko, Oleg Terekov, and Vladimir Kondov, the promotion of Russian Muay Thai has expanded drastically, their success through many years of very difficult hardships and personal losses,   has produced a tremendous union and new understanding between international Muay Thai organizations and the Soviet Muay Thai organizations,  that at one time may never have been available to the western world.


Copyright 1998 USMTA Inc.  All rights reserved. Revised: October 16, 2004.