300 fight muay thai legend Buakaw explains BKFC’s unexpected signing


Some people have hobbies. Others have niches.

For Buakaw Banchamek, there may not be one word that perfectly describes what Muay Thai is to him. Any phrases just before “life” are likely to undercut it.

For those unfamiliar, his record speaks for itself. It spans more than two decades and is so extensive that no database fully captures it. The most comprehensive record in existence lists him as 240-24-12 in professional muay thai/kickboxing – an insane amount of fights.

Buakaw is a two-time Omnoi Stadium Champion, two-time K1 World MAX Champion, one-time Lumpinee Stadium Toyota Marathon Champion, two-time Thai Fight Tournament Champion, Kunlun Fight World Champion, and Shoot Boxing S Cup Champion World Champion. He’s accumulated 4.6 million likes on Facebook and 1 million followers on Instagram.

Despite having had opportunities to compete in other ventures, including an MMA bid about a decade ago, he always ultimately passed. That’s why it’s rare that Buakaw will soon be testing the waters in another combat sport: bareknuckle boxing. He recently signed with BKFC and will face Erkan Varol in the promotion’s Thailand 3 event on September 3.

“This is the perfect time for me to expand my boxing and fighting skills after gaining over 30 years of Muay Thai experience,” Buakaw recently told MMA Junkie via a translator. “Also, BKFC is a global standard, which is good for fighters to seize the opportunity. I think if you win on this platform it will be a testament to your own world-class skills.”

There are a handful of reasons Buakaw chose Bareknuckle over MMA or any other combat sport. Most importantly, however, Buakaw sees greater similarities in strategy and technique. The potential growth of the promotion in a new market also had an impact.

“When I reached the world-class level of Muay Thai, I started thinking about other types of competitions related to the sport,” Buakaw said. “Bareknuckle fighting is quite similar to Muay Thai and it’s a new trend and a very fast growing sport. When BKFC approached me for their competition, I thought this was my best opportunity to compete on an international platform. My partners at Singha Corporation were instrumental in bringing this deal to fruition and I am grateful to them for making this opportunity possible. BKFC is still new to Thai audiences but I believe Thai fans and fighters will love it as an exciting new sport with a unique identity and plenty of room to grow.

“…I’m already familiar with hand-to-hand combat, as Muay Thai involves clinching, grappling, hand-to-hand fighting and hitting with punches at the same time. However, the BKFC competition becomes more challenging as it takes place on a unique circular rope stage. Fighters can’t get stuck in a corner, which makes fights dynamic and constantly spinning – a really dynamic and exciting treat for the audience and for me as a fighter.”

Buakaw recently turned 40, but he’s not slowing down. Despite all the damage-dealing fights, Buakaw is still fresh enough to compete at the highest level. Physical injuries are inevitable, but Buakaw says staying mentally healthy is crucial.

“As a fighter, you have to have your body ready with a calm mind,” Buakaw said. “Certainly hard work plays an important role. But above all you have to believe in the sport and in yourself. On stage there is only you and your courage. I have a strong heart and a strong mind. For me it goes without saying, I think. i just love what i do. I have to endure injuries and cuts anyway, but that cannot harm my strong heart and mind. It’s all part of my job.”

For the skeptical minds out there, Buakaw assures that his signing with BKFC is not a publicity stunt or a money grab. It’s a dedication with goals. He wants to add a barknuckle boxing champion to an already outstanding martial arts resume.

“I want to become BKFC World Champion, make my people proud of me and help promote Thai martial arts to world audiences,” Buakaw said.

BKFC Thailand 3 will be held at Rajadamnern Stadium in Bangkok on September 3rd and will continue to be broadcast FIT.


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