Buakaw leaves K-1 ring: the story behind the scenes

Buakaw leaves K-1 ring: the story behind the scenes

Last sunday (11.10.2014) we witnessed historic event at the K-1 World Max Final that took place at Pattaya Indoor Stadium, we are talking about the fight between Buakaw Banchamek and the german Enriko Kehl (video).

For who doesn’t know, after 3 rounds, the judges declared the fight a draw so an extra round was to be fought but which didn’t happened since Buakaw unexpectedly and inexplicably left the ring before the verdict was announced (news). This is a fundamental aspect, because many say that he left the ring because he didn’t agree with the verdict. This is proved by the fact that, Buakaw declared to have learned about the verdict, only once he reached the hotel.

This raised a lot of interest because of the attention that a living legend like Buakaw has in Thailand where he is considered a national icon and where for years his figure was used as a symbol of courage, success and of Thais being unbeatable in their national sport. Here, we have to make clear that Buakaw vs. Kehl happened in Thailand but under K-1 rules, therefore, Kickboxing and NOT Muay Thai. Furthermore, the event was organized by the historic K-1 event and none of the judges where Thai.

After the fight, Buakaw made a few statements and many articles were published reporting the various reasons for what Buakaw’s and team Banchamek’s gesture. The first thing we notice is that, ALL this declarations are made to Thai reporters for Thai TVs, newspapers and websites. In fact, up to today we didn’t find and declaration made to international press and almost all of them are in Thai language, except for Bangkok Post.

This seems that, maybe, the only problem is to keep, the Thai’s opinion on Buakaw and his icon, intact. In fact, not many worry about the new K-1 champion: the german Enriko Kehl!

In the various statements and articles of different Thai channels, different versions that explain what happened. We sum them up below:

buakaw banchamek por pramuk k-1 enriko kehl k-1 world max pattaya  (2)Since Buakaw’s arrival in Pattaya, Banchamek staff knew that Buakaw was going to lose anyway and that there might be 2 extra rounds. In complete honesty, we have to confirm this statement because we personally heard about the possibility of one or two extra rounds already at 7PM, talking confidentially with some insiders.

Buakaw states that the organization offered him a higher purse if he would have lost. Concerning this, we did NOT find any confirmation and no one talked about it until Buakaw’s declarations came out. To support this statement, apparently there are some reports stating that on October 7th (4 days before the event), Buakaw and his lawyer deposited a report stating that he and his team had nothing to do with the illegal gambling. Anyway, official reports are top secret!

Banchamek team protests to have been told only a few moments before the fight, that, grabbing the opponent’s leg was not allowed. For more clarity, we questioned Mr. Kuruc of the K-1 organization and this was his integral response: “We changed no rules. We had an hour long rule meeting and asked both corner men if everything was clear andthey said yes. K-1 has always had the rule that yes you can catch the kick and strike. But you cannot catch and sweep. This has never changed“;

Many have asked themselves why Buakaw, knowing of this problems, did not refuse to fight. The answer appeared on different channels says that Buakaw, having a contract with K-1 organization until December 2015, wanted to avoid another legal dispute (we remember the one with Por Pramuk and with Thai Fight). What we heard from some athletes is that K-1 organization paid all fighters 2 weeks in advance, because many thought the event would not happen. From our experience as foreigners, or ‘farang’ as they define us here, every event has to have at least a certain number of Muay Thai rules fights, that’s why even the big Western Boxing fights here become side events of Muay Thai fights. In this case Kickboxing was the heart of the event and the Muay Thai fights started at 6 PM and not many people saw them.

Now everyone is very confused and objectively we are too, so we asked our manager’s opinion (Roberto Gallo Cassarino) who expressed his point of view by observing something that was ignored by the mass media: “I’m used to listening to what Thais say in Muay Thai camps and often  by their chats I can interpret the, so called, ‘Thai way” and understand the reasons of the outcome of some fights. In Thailand, a Super Star cannot be contradicted by the referee, therefore, formally it’s allowed and if you ask Thais they would say that it’s allowed at that rules are same for everyone, but well knowing that it is NOT true. This is the ‘Thai way”, for example! To rebuke a super star like Buakaw, in Thailand, is not to be done. An example is Saenchai’s signature kick (cartweel kick), no referee tells him off even if that kick is not allowed! A Thai referee doesn’t dare to contradict legends like Samart Payakaroon, Khaosai Galaxy, Somrak Kamsing, etc. because they are legends and most importantly Thai Legends! Obviously this was never the case of Ramon Dekkers or any other farang, that even beating all the thais in the world he remains a ‘Nak Muay Farang’, therefore, not worthy of the same respect of a ‘Nak Muay Thai’. After all, Thais are in their home and no one forces the ‘farangs’ to come and fight here. Finally, here the outrage was even more serious, because a NON Thai referee telling off a Thai super star is a major thing in Thailand. My feeling is that Buakaw after the 3rd round got offended (we can see the gesture in the video) and at the end of the round he left, convinced that some one would have ran after him to apologize or maybe he was just offended, who can say for sure?! Of course, with the experience he has in K-1, he might have doubted winning the fight, for sure he has a few aches after more that 400 fights in his carrer, being human and in sum, he is Buakaw and he left and even if, after, the media, his staff and managers find a way to fix it, Buakaw is still Buakaw and after all this he is even more famous than before and more wanted and paid by all promoters in the world!

Roberto then ends by saying: “Who saw Buakaw’s previous fight and knows Muay Thai a little bit, knows how to evaluate the current conditions of an always great fighter like Buakaw, who unfortunately, being human has to deal with the calendar like anyone else!”

Chock Dee

Photo credits: The Nation Tv