2012 just hasn’t been a good year for people. And from the looks of preliminary reports, we can add one more to the list of growing obituaries. The career of the “White Lotus”, Buakaw Por. Pramuk (Sombat Banchamek).
As some of you already know, I’ve always been a fan of the martial arts. I started out my martial arts life as a taekwondo fighter, eventually moving on to Judo and Wing Chun Kung Fu in college. It wasn’t until I my breakup went down that I started Muay Thai and boxing. My brother and my cousin Charlie (His name is popping up quite a bit) were fans of K-1 kickboxing, so naturally I gravitated towards that at first. Charlie suggested that I join the “Boxing Club” in San Diego, which I did. I started learning Muay Thai from Kru Caine Gayle, boxing from Coach Ron Casper, and training from all the other coaches at the gym.
To supplement my training, Charlie would sit me at his computer and play fight videos from Thailand and Japan. Buakaw Por. Pramuk was one of the fighters I would constantly watch. When Buakaw would fight, people would be broken. Not just KO’ed. Broken.
Buakaw’s rise to fame was as storied as his accomplishments. Born in the province of Surin, Buakaw started fighting at the age of 8. He then joined the Por. Pramuk Gym at the age of 15, and took the gym’s name as his own (Thai custom).
Before I go any further, allow me to list his accomplishments as a Thai Boxer:
- 2011 Thai Fight Tournament champion (-70 kg)
- 2011 WMC World Junior Middleweight champion
- 2010 Shoot Boxing S-Cup World champion
- 2009 WMC/MAD Muaythai World champion
- 2006 K-1 World MAX champion
- 2006 WMC Super-Welterweight World champion
- 2005 S-1 Super-Welterweight World champion
- 2005 K-1 World MAX 2005 Finalist
- M.T.A World Muay Thai Champion
- 2004 K-1 World MAX champion
- 2003 KOMA GP Lightweight champion
- 2002 Toyota Muay Thai marathon tournament 140 lb. class winner
- Omnoi Stadium Lightweight champion
- 2001 Professional Boxing Association of Thailand Featherweight champion
- Omnoi Stadium Featherweight champion
- Final Record- 203W/51 KO – 21L – 12 NC
Yes. He won the K-1 MAX championship twice. That’s how badass he was. In fact, K-1 had to change the clinch and knee rules since Buakaw kept destroying lives when he fought.
Recently, some details came to light about his relationship with the Por. Pramuk gym. Basically, Buakaw would fight for the Por. Pramuk gym, and the gym would take the lion’s share of the profits, leaving Buakaw with a pittance. This went on for a while until Buakaw had enough. He eventually tried to leave the gym, but his contract was binding. He just fought under the THAI FIGHT promotion and scored a 2nd round KO against Rustem Zaripov. Amidst all this controversy and lawsuits from the Por. Pramuk gym, he announced his retirement earlier today.
Buakaw isn’t that much older than me, so I know he’s got some years left in him. It saddens me to hear about the career of someone as epic as Buakaw being cut short due to lawsuits and legalities.
With the help of Yokkao boxing apparel, he was able to open up a Muay Thai gym in his native province of Surin. Hopefully he’ll be able to train another champion in his likeness, without all the petty lawsuit bullshit tying him or her down.