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TaKe-On Productions' Muay Thai at the Mecca Thoughts From Press Row

I had always wanted to be into kickboxing.

I liked K-1.  As I got into K-1 via tape trading years ago, I found myself seeking out ISK/AK-1 USA shows on ESPN(2).  The first fight I saw on ESPN was a semi-famous corker between Kit Cope and the late Alex Gong, which got me even more excited about following this sport.

I tried to catch the shows whenever they were on and record the ones that aired at odd hours.  Soon, I noticed a pattern:

Most of the fights weren't really any good.  Cope vs Gong was an aberration and American-style kickboxing, at least in its most visible form, tended to suck, K-1 branding be damned.

There wasn't a huge selection of K-1 in the communities where I traded tapes and teenaged me didn't really want to spend much to buy them, so I mostly gave up and stuck with MMA.  Nowadays, netween now being older(/having more money that I could buy used K-1 DVDs with at Japanese book stores) and changes in technology, I started to follow things a little bit more.

When I heard about about TaKe-On Muay Thai, I got very interested.  Actual Muay Thai!  In New York City!  How could I pass it up?

And so, Saturday night, I heading to The Theater at Madison Square Garden (formerly the Felt Forum & the Paramount Theater, a "proscenium" (traditional/not in the round) theater in the same building as the main arena that has hosted a number of fight cards in the past.   The setting made it TaKe-On's biggest event to date, with 3,203 passionate fans packing the place.

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Thai Fight's First 2012 Event: Buakaw Returns

In 2011, Thai Fight got their name out in a big way, using wold renowned Muay Thai fighters like Kem Sitsongpeenong, Buakaw Por. Pramuk, Yodsaenklai Fairtex and many more. They ended 2011 with the finals of two tournaments, one at 67kg and one at 70kg, and generated a lot of buzz. 

Thai Fight is coming back on April 7, this time from Pattaya, Thailand at Bali Hai Cape. As usual, they've brought out the Thai stars for this card. Buakaw, yes Buakaw, Kem Sitsongpeenong and Sudsakorn Sor Klinmee all grace the card. What's interesting is that Buakaw is going under the alias of "Buakaw Banchamek Gym," according to k1rules.com who put the fight card out. Banchamek Gym would be the name of the gym that him and Yokkao just built in his home of Surin.

Buakaw's opponent is from France, Mickael Cornubet. I don't know much about him other than that he was KO'd by Mickael Piscitello in 2011 so this shouldn't be a very tough fight for Buakaw.

Saiyok Pumphanmuang will take a fight before his big SLAMM!! fight against Mohammed Khamal. He fights Rustem Zaripov of Russia. Kem Sitsongpeenong, the winner of Thai Fight's 67kg tournament last year, faces Tarek (That's the only name given.). Sudsakorn fights Superbon Lookjaomawaree, who is ranked #3 at Lumpinee Stadium in the 140lb division.

Don't be surprised at all if the card changes and half of these fights end up not going through. This may be the planned card but a lot of things might get in the way.

74kg: Bernueng Topking Boxing (Thailand) vs Youssef Boughanem (Belgium)

70kg: Saiyok Pumpanmuang (Thailand) VS Rustem Zaripov (Russia)

70kg: Khem Sitsongpeenong (Thailand) VS Tarek (Morocco)

67kg: Sudsakorn Sor. Klinmee (Thailand) VS Superbon Lukjaomawaree (Thailand)

70kg: Buakaw Banchamek Gym (Thailand) VS Mickael Cornubet (France)

68kg: Roongroj Phechrungrueang (Thailand) VS TBA

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Photos: Buakaw And Yokkao Build Gym

With Buakaw's recent situation of fleeing his camp, Por. Pramuk gym for the time being, he's building his own temporary gym with the help of Yokkao. It amy not look like much, but Yokkao is helping to get Buakaw back on track after his recent struggles. They've brought heavy bags and the like along with having set up a nice Yokkao ring. Check out the photos and if you want to see more, click "Read More."

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Buakaw Is "Back" With Yokkao Behind Him

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As a lot of you probably know, Buakaw recently had a very difficult situation. He went off without telling anyone and wasn't heard of for a week. Finally, he resurfaced and told the media that he was just tired, stressed and needed some rest, along with issues at the Por Pramuk Gym like money and living conditions.  There was a lot of speculation as to what Buakaw would do, like leaving Por Pramuk Gym.

For the time being, at least, Buakaw is having a new gym built where he will start training at tomorrow. Yokkao Boxing, his sponsor, is helping with the building of the gym. As of now, Yokkao is just calling the gym temporary.

If you also noticed in this article, I haven't been calling Buakaw by the name he had used for so long, "Buakaw Por. Pramuk." It seems for the time being he isn't going by the Por. Pramuk name anymore. Yokkao referred to him as Buakaw Banchamek. Banchamek is his real last name.

A lot of props should be given to Yokkao for helping Buakaw to get back on track after such a difficult situation. 

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