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Ferocity, power, and heart; these are just some of the qualities that come to mind when the name Buakaw, is mentioned. As one of the biggest superstars in Muay Thai history, Buakaw Banchamek is certainly no stranger to anyone who knows anything about martial arts or fighting. But even after having more 300 fights in his over 20 year long illustrious career, there some things even his most fervent fans have yet to discover.
So without further ado, here are Evolve Daily’s 9 Facts About Muay Thai Superstar Buakaw Banchamek That Will Blow Your Mind:
1) Fan to fighter
Buakaw was born on May 8, 1982, in Bansongnong County, Samrong Thap, Surin Province, Thailand. When he was about seven or eight years old, he attended a local Muay Thai show held near his home. Watching the crowd cheer as the fighters made their way into the ring lit a fire in Buakaw. After the show, he discussed the idea of becoming a fighter with his parents. His parents approved and he began training in Muay Thai a few days later.
2) The usual training routine
Buakaw’s incredible physique is a product of his years of hard work and dedication in the gym. He wakes up every morning at 5:30AM and runs over 6-10 miles as a warm up. After which he goes straight into his regular training program, which consists of 15 rounds of pad and bag work, strength and conditioning, and clinch work or sparring.
At around 3:00PM, he goes for another run, and then into his regular training program again with another 15 rounds, finishing at around 7:00PM or 8:00PM; just in time for dinner. And this is just his usual routine! Buakaw kicks it up a few notches when he has a fight coming up.
3) He never won a major world title in Thailand
It’s hard to imagine Buakaw losing a fight nowadays. Due to the high level in Thailand, Buakaw wasn’t as successful in the ring as he is today. Though he was winning most of the fights he had in his province, Buakaw lost his first 4-5 matches when he just started fighting at national level in the legendary Lumpinee Stadium.
The losing streak almost caused Buakaw to give up on fighting altogether but with the help of his gym, Por. Pramuk, he continued his career, but never achieved elite status in Thailand as a fighter. His lucky break came when he was invited to compete overseas in K-1 where he dominated and won the hearts of fans all over the world.
4) Muay Thai striker by day, football striker by night
In 2014, while he was still actively fighting, Buakaw signed on as a forward for RBAC Football Club, the reserve team of Ratchaburi F.C. that currently plays in the Regional League Division 2, the 3rd level football league in Thailand. As for why he decided to be a professional footballer, Buakaw had this to say: “I’ve been a football lover since I was a kid. To be a professional footballer is also one of my dreams.”
5) Por. Pramuk no more
Though now known as Buakaw Banchamek, Buakaw is still more famously known for his previous ring name, Buakaw Por. Pramuk, when he was still fighting out of the famous Por. Pramuk Gym in Bangkok, Thailand. And though Por. Pramuk was the gym that helped bring Buakaw most of his fame, it was also the gym that caused him a lot of his problems in recent years. His manager reportedly stole 95% of Buakaw’s earnings and refused to return it to him.
In 2012, it was reported that Buakaw had been missing from his training camp for unknown reasons. He then appeared on a Thai TV talk show shortly after the reports, apologizing to his fans and stating that the gym had mistreated him for years. Weeks later, Buakaw decided to retire from fighting in order to end the dispute with Por. Pramuk Gym.
6) Buakaw the Mixed Martial Artist?
During the few months he spent away from the ring in retirement, there were numerous reports and sightings of Buakaw training in Jiu-Jitsu, Judo and Wrestling classes. This sparked some speculation that he was well on the way to a potential MMA career, which made sense as it was not against the contractual agreement with Por. Pramuk Gym. The transition into MMA never happened and Buakaw returned to the ring on August 17, 2012.
7) Banchamek Gym
After his exit from Por. Pramuk Gym and with the help of one of his sponsors, Yokkao, Buakaw built a Muay Thai gym in his hometown. The gym was built in just 10 days and was named Banchamek Gym (Buakaw’s real name is Sombat Banchamek). Buakaw built the camp not only because he wanted to continue training but so that he could help the children in his village discover Muay Thai as well.
8) Honorary Masters and Ph.D. holder
In 2013, Buakaw was awarded an honorary Masters of Science degree in Sports Science from the Kasetsart University for his outstanding contribution as one of the biggest athletes in Thailand. He also received a Ph.D. in Regional Development Strategies in 2014 from the Surindra Rajabhat University for being an ambassador for the ancient art and traditions of Muay Thai and a household name in the field of sports both in Thailand & around the world.
9) Legendary achievements
Buakaw’s popularity and achievements over the years have made him both a Muay Thai and K-1 legend. He is multiple-time WMC Champion, Omnoi Stadium Champion, WBC Muay Thai Diamond Champion, Shooto Boxing S-Cup World Champion, Thai Fight World Champion, the first fighter to win K-1 World Max twice (2004 and 2006), and much more!
Buakaw Banchamek is truly one of the most remarkable fighters of our generation. And we can be sure that he will continue to entertain fans around the world with his skill and unrelenting heart!