PRISON FIGHTERS: 5 Rounds To Freedom is a new documentary that examines a controversial practice in Thailand’s criminal justice system whereby inmates can earn their freedom by winning a series of Muay Thai fights. A SHOWTIME Sports original production, the 90-minute film will premiere on Friday, Feb. 24 at 8:30p ET/PT on SHOWTIME.
The state-sponsored rehabilitation program, popularly known as Prison Fight, is not reserved for petty criminals. Under the law, violent criminals, including those convicted of murder and sexual assault, have been freed and, in some cases, fully absolved of their crimes through their participation in Prison Fights.
“This story is unlike anything we’ve ever encountered,” said Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President and General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports. “Redemption is a common metaphor in sports stories, but this is a story about actual redemption and rehabilitation, with prisoners literally fighting for their release from prison. This film brings viewers inside a personal story of crime and punishment, set against a societal debate about the meaning of justice, rehabilitation and the opportunity for a second chance.”
Narrated by Ron Perlman, PRISON FIGHTERS centers on the story of Noy Khaopan, a convicted murderer serving time in the Khao Prik Prison in Thailand. Viewers will follow Noy’s journey through Prison Fight and hear from his family, as well as from the heartbroken family of Noy’s victim. Ultimately, Noy’s freedom rests on one final fight, which poses a critical question: Can violent men redeem themselves through violent acts?
But while Noy and other inmates fight literally for their freedom, the Prison Fight program has also attracted professional Muay Thai fighters from around the world eager to test themselves in this unique environment. American Cody Moberly of Wichita, Kan., a professional fighter training and competing in Thailand with a redemption story of his own, serves as Noy’s opponent in the final high-stakes fight.
The film also focuses on former World Champion boxer “Oh” Sirimongkol Singwangcha, who now runs a training facility on the outskirts of Bangkok. Once considered Thailand’s Manny Pacquiao, “Oh” was convicted of drug possession years earlier, but earned his way to freedom through the Prison Fight system.