Tears from Thai champ at Bali Hai ‘Fight Night’

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Big time Muay Thai boxing hit Pattaya last week as the city staged a spectacular ‘Fight Night’ at Bali Hai Pier on Tuesday, April 17.  A total of 8 top class bouts were held at the temporary arena to the delight of the thousands of fight fans who came to watch the show and the millions watching at home on the Thai Channel 3 live broadcast.

The highlight of the evening was a contest that very nearly didn’t happen.  Right up until the opening bell it was unclear whether Thailand’s Sombut Bunchamekh a.k.a. Buakaw Por. Pramuk would show up following a contract dispute with his former training camp and promoter.

Buakaw Por. Pramuk, right, lands a high kick on Russia’s Zaripow Zaripow Rastem during their 70kg contest.Buakaw Por. Pramuk, right, lands a high kick on Russia’s Zaripow Rastem during their 70kg contest.

Buakaw had fallen out with his previous handlers over a pay dispute and following his walk-out it appeared that the Thai boxing commission would veto his appearance here in Pattaya.  However, much to the delight of his many fans, the Surin native did indeed take to the ring last week to face off against Russia’s Zaripow Rastem in the 70kg division.

As it transpired the bout was something of an anti-climax as Rastem was comprehensively outclassed, and with Buakaw seemingly able to pick his opponent off with ease, the Thai champion unleashed a devastating assault in the second round that saw Restem knocked to the canvas and counted out.

After the fight a tearful Buakaw announced to the crowd that his desire to fight for his fans and the King had overcome any fears of the legal repercussions he may now face.

Zaripow Rastem is knocked to the canvas during the second round and counted out.Zaripow Rastem is knocked to the canvas during the second round and counted out.

“I didn’t think I was going to fight tonight… I’ve got a lot of problems,” said the Thai boxer.  “But I am very determined and all relevant authorities, whether it is my old boxing camp or the manager of Thai Fight, know of my determination.  I have worked hard, practiced hard and I wanted to fight because I was last year’s champ.  Most importantly, I am not up here for myself but for my country, for the King and my people of Surin.  Today, brothers and sisters have come to cheer me and I cannot throw that dream away, no matter what, even if I have to go to jail tomorrow.”

At the conclusion of his emotional speech Buakaw got on his knees to ‘wai’ his 62 year old father who was also in the crowd to watch his son fight.

Singmanee Kaewsamrit, 2nd left, and his camp show their delight at being awarded a points decision over Sudsakorn Sor Klinmee.Singmanee Kaewsamrit, 2nd left, and his camp show their delight at being awarded a points decision over Sudsakorn Sor Klinmee.

In the aftermath of last week’s fight it now seems that the Thai members of Parliament have become involved in the dispute between Buakaw and his former promoters, with rumours of a supposed 3 million buy-out deal being bandied about as a possible solution to the dispute.

Back to the action in the ring and other notable contests at the Pattaya Fight Night last week saw Singmanee Kaewsamrit outpoint Sudsakorn Sor Klinmee in the 67kg division; Bernueng Top King Boxing got a three-round decision over American Chaz Mulkey, and Kem Sitsongpeenong put on an impressive performance to stop Frenchman Mickael Cornubet.

The Muay Thai tournament proved to be another big success for city officials and the promoters and once again highlighted Pattaya’s suitability and capacity for hosting premier sporting events.  The contest was accompanied by a spectacular firework show and a live music performance by Thai favourites Carabao.  We hope to see more such events being staged in Pattaya in the near future.

America’s Chaz Mulkey, right, faces off against Thailand’s Bernueng Top King Boxing.America’s Chaz Mulkey, right, faces off against Thailand’s Bernueng Top King Boxing.

An emotional Buakaw Por. Pramuk parades a picture of His Majesty the King in the ring following his victory over Rastem.An emotional Buakaw Por. Pramuk parades a picture of His Majesty the King in the ring following his victory over Rastem.

The Pattaya public turned out in their thousands to watch the action in the ring.The Pattaya public turned out in their thousands to watch the action in the ring.

Buakaw supporters had much to cheer about on the night.Buakaw supporters had much to cheer about on the night.

Carabao put on a live music performance to keep the fight fans entertained between bouts.Carabao put on a live music performance to keep the fight fans entertained between bouts.