K-1 MAX 2014 Final – Buakaw v Kehl
Buakaw Banchamek vs Enriko Kehl
Organisers of scandal-tainted K-1 Max wait to hear from Buakaw
On Sunday morning (October 12), a message posted on Banchamek Gym’s Facebook page said: “I apologise for making my supporters puzzled. You’ll soon understand me.”
Organizers of the scandal-tainted K-1 Max mixed-martial arts tournament are waiting to hear from two-time champ Sombat “Buakaw” Banchamek before deciding whether to sue him for walking out of Saturday’s…
Muay Thai superstar Sombat “Buakaw” Banchamek battles WBC third-ranked Enriko Kehl of Germany in Saturday’s K-1 Max Final in Pattaya. Buakaw forfeited the bout when he refused to appear for a fourth deciding…
Buakaw, 31, forfeited Saturday night’s fight in Pattaya when he disappeared without explanation from the ring following the third of three scheduled rounds. Despite Buakaw widely seen as having the fight against World Boxing Council third-ranked Enriko Kehl of Germany, judges ruled the bout a draw and ordered a fourth “sudden death” round.
By then, Buakaw had left Eastern National Indoor Sports Stadium and was disqualified. By forfeiting, the missed the opportunity to become the first three-time K-1 Max champion and the 22-year-old German was crowned the new champ in the 70-kilogramme division amid boos and jeers from the crowd.
Mr Kurarc said the K-1 team was surprised by Buakaw’s disappearance and did not know the reason why he left.
“We want to hear from Buakaw the real reason he left and thoroughly investigate the case, so there is no legal action at the moment,” he said. “We will wait for Buakaw to contact us. Otherwise we will try to contact his manager.”
The Thai fighter, who has not spoken to the media, has scheduled a press conference for Tuesday afternoon at his Banchamek Gym. In the meantime, a message regarding the controversy was posted posted to the Banchamek Gym Facebook page.
“Buakaw refused to return to the K-1 ring because the rules had been changed just a few hours before the fight,” the statement claimed. It added that the changed rules banned one of Buakaw’s signature in an attempt to make the fight – in which the Thai fighter was favoured heavily – more even.
Buakaw’s gym claimed the rule change was made due to the influence of international online-gambling websites.
“There was an effort to make the fight more even because the stakes were high,” the statement said. “K-1 isn’t a legal sport and there’s not one professional sport organisation in Thailand that authorises from (South Korea) to hold it here. How did the foreign mafia come and organise worldwide sports betting in Thailand? Who should take responsible for this?”
Originally scheduled for July 26, but delayed due to the May 22 military coup, the K-1 finals were being held for the first time in Thailand. It is run by the private K-1 organisation, which hosts fights similar to Muay Thai boxing. However, the bouts use different rules and point systems and fewer moves are allowed, leading aficionados to call K-1 a “watered down” version of Thai boxing.
Buakaw won the title in 2004 and 2008. The two previously fought at Max World Champions, held in Khon Kaen on Dec 10. The Thai fighter won by unanimous decision.
Mr Kurarc insisted the rules of Saturday’s fight were the same used since Buakaw won his first title in 2004. By walking out of the bout, the Thai fighter breached his contract with K-1 Global Holdings, which Mr Kurarc said runs through September next year. He said Buakaw was paid in full Sept 22.
K-1 has seen its standing among fight fans drop precipitously in recent years amid allegations of widespread match-fixing. According to Thai media reports, Buakaw forfeited the fight the final also was “rigged.”
The fighter reportedly went to a police station last Tuesday to file a complaint about online gambling in connection with the upcoming finals.
K-1 MAX 2014 Final : Buakaw Banchamek vs Enriko Kehl
Muay thai legend Buakaw breaks silence on walkout
K-1 fighter suggests rule changes overshadowed his title fight
Controversial fighter Buakaw Banchamek yesterday defended his decision to walk out of his title fight on Saturday, saying he preferred to let the audience decide the bout’s outcome rather than the judges.
The 32-year-old’s latest antics stunned viewers when he abruptly left the ring after the regulation three-round bout against Germany’s Enriko Kehl for the K-1 under-70kg championship ended in a draw.
As a result of his vanishing act, the German was handed the title, to the bewilderment of the crowd at the Indoor Athletic Gymnasium in Pattaya.
On Monday, organisers K-1 Global Holdings told a press conference that they were hoping to hold talks to clear the air with the two-time champion, before deciding whether or not to sue the Thai for breach of contract.
Buakaw, no stranger to controversy, publicly commented on the incident for the first time yesterday when he met the media at his Banchamek gym, stressing several times that he did not want the judges to rule on the outcome of the controversial bout.
“I don’t want the [judges’] verdict on the bout. I wanted the audience to decide it for themselves. I prefer not to let the officials judge me.
“It was my own decision [not to continue the fight]. My manager and my team knew nothing about it. I did what I believed my fans and supporters would understand,” said Buakaw.
The Surin native, who made his debut in the muay thai K-1 code a decade ago, insisted he had no intention of breaching his contract and was grateful to a sport that had catapulted him to fame.
Deliberately breaching the contract “never crossed my mind. I’m fully committed to the contract. They had my respect because people knew me from K-1.”
The Thai boxer hinted at feeling unease with a change of rules prior to Saturday’s fight, saying he had no choice but to abide by it.
“I accepted the rules set by the K-1 committee. They spoke in English but I’m not sure whether my translation was correct or not.
“Since I began fighting in K-1 in 2004, they have banned the use of the elbow but allowed the fighters to use the knee. I knocked out a Japanese opponent with my knee before I went on to win the championship in my first year in sport.
“Then they changed the rules, placing restrictions on the use of the knee. They let a boxer hold his opponent before landing the knee just once per fight. More than that could result in disqualification.
“I knew there was a management change in the K-1 organisation. I’m not sure whether that had something to do with the sudden change in the rules or not.
“I have no idea whether the rule changes were made in order to improve the standard or for a different purpose. Officials asked me during the pre-fight briefing whether I had any questions. I just waved my hands to signal ‘no’. I was looking to box as usual.”
Buakaw did open the door for talks with K-1 officials to find a solution to the walkout. He said he would look at whether he still had a contract with K-1 before starting any talks.