Courtesy of Flying Elbow MMA and JOHN JOE O’REGAN
Having ran away from the Por. Pramuk facility amid allegations of unfair treatment and financial foul play, former K-1 MAX champion Buakaw is smiling again. He now has his own gym and his own name back – henceforth he will be using his own surname, Banchamek.
Buakaw is one of the most famous Thai boxers to emerge in recent years and has had tremendous success on the K-1 MAX circuit. He was the star player of the Por. Pramuk team but it seems things had not been going well for a while and something snapped.
Earlier this month he drove away from the Por. Pramuk gym in his BMW without telling anyone where he was going or when he would be back. Making his way to Phuket, where he is from, he spent several days on hideout before emerging to do a television interview in which he documented his dissatisfaction with the way he had been treated at Por. Pramuk.
Some fear was evident in his manner and that led to immediate speculation that there was some possibility of reprisal from associates of the gym after he made such a public split; the Thai underworld is not far away from the Thai boxing world and the heavy gambling associated with it.
But now Buakaw has his own gym thanks to the intervention of Yakkao, a large-scale martial arts and sports equipment manufacturer in Thailand. The backing of such a prominent company means Buakaw can probably sleep easy, if indeed there was any risk of reprisal from Por. Pramuk associates in the first place.