Last weekend Buakaw Banchamek fought in Japan for the first time since 2013. Tokyo was the scene of his biggest victories but the 41 year old had to settle for a draw with fellow veteran Rukiya Anpo at Rizin 42.
Buakaw was returning to the sport of kickboxing after a prolonged absence. He has primarily been competing in Muay Thai in recent years but went the distance with the K-1 veteran.
The Japanese judges could not decide on a winner and the fight was ruled a draw. Buakaw is now back in his native Thailand and showed off a fresh new image in a recent Facebook post:
We are not sure how much Rizin is paying him but if that chain is real gold then it must be quite a lot. Buakaw appears to also be wearing Muay Thai shorts and a dressing gown while surrounded by models in some sort of market place.
We have absolutely no idea what is going on here to be honest and the caption doesn’t shed any light on the situation, just stating in colloquial Thai that Buakaw is looking hot. We can’t argue with that assessment and it is not just because Thailand is in the middle of a major heatwave.
With his 1 million Instagram followers Buakaw has emerged as an unlikely fashion icon in Thailand where he regularly appears in commercials and on TV shows.
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It is a far cry from his early days as a fighter when he used to train and live on a pig farm in Chachoengsao. Back then Buakaw was not very much in the shadow of his training partner Namsaknoi Yudthagarngamtorn who had been far more successful.
But that all changed when Buakaw got the opportunity to compete in the K-1 Max tournament in 2004. Despite having virtually no previous experience of kickboxing he crushed the competition, beating the likes of John Wayne Parr and Masato to win the tournament.
Buakaw would go on to become one of the best paid Muay Thai fighters in the sport, competing regularly for Thai Fight and, more recently, RWS. He also achieved financial independence after splitting from the Por Pramuk gym and setting up his own camp.
He is probably the most recognizable Muay Thai fighter on the planet. Buakaw has reached the pinnacle of two separate sports so if anyone has earned the right to sit around on the street wearing a gold chain and a dressing gown it is him!