The Touching Story Of Buakaw Banchamek

Ok, i know…. i know…. we have been doing a lot of articles that have happened to include Buakaw… but WOW the recent events have taken Thailand by shock and also gripped the emotions of many Thai people.

Without calling the guy a hero to the people… i would say he has inspired many normal Thai people to stand for what they believe and to strive for success and respect your family, your king and your opportunities.

I remember before all this Por Pramuk nonsense – many Thais and westerners deeply entrenched in the muay thai community, would often comment that Buakaw was nothing special in muay thai… he was lucky to get a shot internationally and there are many Thai’s at his weight that would defeat him easily.

While this may or may not be true – there were many people with what Australian’s would call “Tall Poppy Syndrome” – cutting down those who have achieved very high levels of success.

Buakaw began his career in the small, humble farming village of Surin in Thailand…. at only 15 years old he was signed and fought out of Por Pramuk gym.

Withing Thailand Buakaw first won the Omnoi Stadium featherweight title, after that he would go on to take the featherweight champion of Thailand title. Buakaw then proceeded to win another Omnoi Stadium title belt, this time at in lightweight division.

Then in 2004 Buakaw took a direction that would forever change his fighting life….

Buakaw went international – broke away from ‘traditional’ muay thai and entered the non-thai dominated sport of K-1

In July 2004 Buakaw became the K-1 MAX World champion beating John Wayne Parr, Takayuki Kohiruimaki and previous champion Masato in the finals.

then in 2005 Buakaw was a K-1 World MAX 2005 Finalist (losing to Souwer)
Only to avenge this loss in 2006 to yet again become the K-1 Max champion

Then after being the 2 x K-1 Max champion Buakaw went on to achieve the following:

  • 2009 WMC/MAD Muaythai World champion
  • 2010 Shoot Boxing S-Cup World champion
  • 2011 Thai Fight Tournament champion (-70 kg)
  • 2011 WMC World Junior Middleweight champion

Then in 2012 as we all know – K-1 as a promotion began to wobble at the knees – financial issues and uncertainty became a regular fear for fighters, fans and the promotion itself.

2012 also proved to be the year Buakaw ‘ran away’ from Por Pramuk – without boring you with the same story…. please check Here and Here for the full story of the split with Por Pramuk.

Then in mid-April amongst court cases, sporting commission disputes and uncertainty on Buakaw’s future…. we saw a defiant Buakaw show a ‘surprise’ appearance at the Thai Fight Pattaya event.

For the Full write-up, results and the video of Buakaw and Kem’s fights please check the this link.

Post Thai Fight Buakaw (who was introduced and fought as Buakaw Por Pramuk) despite having split with the gym and established his new name as his surname – Buakaw Banchamek. Buakaw broke down in a unique and touching show of emotion.
Buakaw then had his father come into the ring and praise him for his years of help and care.

(following transcription from

The commentary in this fight is actually quite interesting.  The expert commentary is by Samart Payakaroon, he was saying this is a big deal that Buakaw is fighting, he says that all fighters can relate to what he’s going through…

Buakaw’s closing statement.

” I didn’t think I was going to fight tonight… I’ve got a lot of problems… I’ve been planning to fight on this event since the beginning of the year… I’ve been training to fight on this event.  I’m fighting because I’m a champion, I’m fighting for the King,  I’m not just fighting for myself, I’m fighting for Thailand, I’m fighting for the people of Surin, I’m fighting for my father, and my mother who’s passed away.

I don’t have any regrets, I’m so happy that I’ve followed through on my plans even if it means that tomorrow I’ll be arrested.”

Buakaw definitely just made himself ‘The People’s Champion’

Normally this level of emotion, private insight and drama is reserved for the occassional Boxing mega-fight…. this is no act. This is Thailand and this is Buakaw standing his ground and showing his heart and love for his fans, family and King.

Much respect from Fight Sport Asia


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3 Comments on “The Touching Story Of Buakaw Banchamek”

  1. chin
    April 19, 2012 at 4:22 pm #

    Is it really big news when most bangkok based thais i speak to don’t really know anything about the situation?

  2. worldwarcheese
    May 10, 2012 at 3:42 am #

    I don’t know what it’s like in Bangkok, but down South it was big news. The people here, many of whom don’t even watch Muay Thai, know his name now (whether they understand the whole situation or not). His latest fight was watched by pretty much everyone I know and was an emotional moment for many.

  3. Luc Evans
    December 30, 2013 at 1:31 pm #

    Such a shame when fighters put their health on the line and the gym ends up taking 95% of the profits.

    Outright theft that’s what it is.

    Respect for Buakaw for not letting it destroy his spirit. He’s a true warrior, both in and outside the ring.

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