Buakaw has won the championships at Omnoi Stadium, K1 World MAX, the Toyota Marathon at Lumpinee Stadium, the Thai Fight tournament twice, the Kunlun fight once, and the Shoot Boxing S-Cup once. He has over 1 million Instagram followers and over 4.6 million Facebook likes.
He had numerous chances to pursue other endeavors, such as a mixed martial arts offer from around ten years ago, but he always declined. Because of this, the chances of Buakaw dabbling in bareknuckle boxing anytime soon are slim. He just signed with BKFC, and his debut is September 3 in Thailand, against Erkan Varol.
“This is the perfect timing for me to extend my boxing and fighting skills after being experienced for over 30 years in muay Thai,” Buakaw said. “Also, BKFC is a global standard, which is good for fighters to take the opportunity. I think if you win in this platform, it will be a proof of your own world-class skill.”
Buakaw opted for bareknuckle over mixed martial arts and other fighting styles for a number of reasons. However, the key is that Buakaw recognizes more parallels in approach. Another factor was the possibility for the promotion to expand into new markets.
“… I am already familiar with close-quarter hand-to-hand combat as muay Thai incorporates clinching, grappling, hand fighting and striking using punches, simultaneously. However, the BKFC competition will be more challenging as it takes place in a unique circular roped stage. Fighters can’t get stuck in a corner, making fights dynamic and constantly revolving — a really dynamic and exciting treat for the audience to watch and for me as a fighter.”
“When I achieved the world-class level of muay Thai, I started to think about other kinds of competition related to the sport,” Buakaw said. “Bareknuckle fighting is quite similar to muay Thai, and it’s a new trend and a very fast-growing sport. When BKFC approached me for their competition, I thought this was my best opportunity to compete on an international platform. My partners at Singha Corporation were instrumental in helping this deal come together, and I’m grateful for them facilitating this opportunity. BKFC is still new to Thai audiences, but I believe Thai fans and fighters will love it as an exciting new sport with a unique identity and lots of room to grow.”
Despite reaching the big 4–0, Buakaw shows no signs of slowing down. Even after enduring countless damaging battles, Buakaw is still in peak competitive form. Although physical harm is unavoidable, Buakaw stresses the importance of maintaining a sound mind.
“Being a fighter, you have to keep your body ready with a calm mind,” Buakaw said. “Certainly, hard work plays an important part. But most of all you have to believe in the sport and yourself. On the stage, it’s only you and your courage. I have a strong heart and a strong mind. For me, it comes naturally, I think. I just love what I do. Injuries and lacerated wounds are what I have to face anyway, but that cannot effect my strong heart and mind. It’s all part of what I do.”
“I want to be the BKFC world champion, make my people proud of me, and help promote Thai fighting sports to the world audiences,” Buakaw said.