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K-1 Signs Yodsanklai Fairtex to Two-Year Contract

In an interesting twist of fate considering the recent events that unfolded in Thailand with Buakaw Banchamek and K-1, K-1 has been able to secure a two-year, kickboxing-exclusive deal with one of the best muay thai fighters who ventures outside of Thailand in Yodsanklai Fairtex. They announced the deal yesterday, which comes as a bit of a shock considering the shock and outrage we saw coming from Thailand after the last event. 

Then again, Yodsanklai has been angling with a fight with Buakaw for ages now and it has simply not materialized. Yodsanklai will be competing at 70kg, which places him within the MAX division. A potential fight between Yodsanklai and K-1 MAX Champion Enriko Kehl would be nothing short of awesome, that's for sure. 

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K-1 Announces Deal in China and Three 2015 Events

If you've been wondering why K-1 has been seemingly so focused on China over the past year or so, look no further than the announcement made today by K-1 that they have secured what looks to be a pretty hefty broadcast deal in China that will reach most of the country. We had the news on the next event in China, taking place on January 1st, last week. That will be the first of ten live events that will be produced inside of China next year by K-1 through this partnership.

That first event is a China vs. USA themed event. Originally they had announced Kevin Ross and Tiffany Van Soest from the USA as fighting for the event, but due to commitments to Lion Fight Van Soest is 100% out and Ross is still trying to clear things up, but it's up in the air right now. 

According to their statement today, K-1 will be aired live on nine major, commercial broadcast network in China. I'm not kidding. Those listed are; Hunan TV, Hebei TV, Hubei TV, JiangXi TV, Anhui TV,Chongqing TV, Guangdong TV, Hainan TV, Qinghai TV. This covers most of China's population, which is estimated at 1.357 billion people. I'm not sure how to compare this to the US because China has over four times the population that the US does, but this is basically like being on one of the major broadcast networks like CBS, ABC or NBC. This partnership will make K-1 one of the most widely-viewed combat sports in the world.

K-1 has also announced two other events;

February 1st; China vs. Japan
March 28th; China vs. Thailand
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Kevin Ross Captaining K-1's Upcoming USA vs. China Event on January 1st

Since K-1's event last December in China there has been a lot of hushed talk about the future of K-1 in China. The year 2014 has been a lot better to K-1 than other years and there have been a lot of deals talked about that could possibly make K-1 not only a major player in China, but huge in China. From what we've seen, K-1 has been training referees, judges and other officials on top of lending a hand to train fighters in China over the last year and on January 1st K-1 will make their return to China with a huge USA vs. China event.

It'll take place in Golden Eagle Culture City, Changsua, China and as I stated before, the theme will be USA vs. China. While we don't know all of the names just yet, we have heard that Kevin Ross has signed to be the Team Captain of Team USA and will be fighting, which is pretty big news considering that Ross was being courted by K-1 years ago and GLORY last year only for nothing to come of it. We've also been told that Canadian Gabriel Varga is scheduled to appear on the card, which is interesting considering there was talk of him competing for GLORY's Featherweight Championship soon. 

Tiffany Van Soest is also announced for the card.

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K-1 Japan 65kgs Tournament Results

Last night the K-1 Japan 65kgs tournament took place including names like Yuta Kubo, Hiroya, and Michael "Tomahawk" Thompson. Overall I really enjoyed the fights, they all seemed well matched, with every fighter bringing their own unique style to the ring making the fights exciting.

We saw a wicked spinning back fist KO at the hands of Takeru in a fight that I thought he was losing. The return of Hiroya was great but once again he always seems to come up a bit short. There were two fighters that really stood out for me though, of course the tournament winner, southpaw from Thailand Kaew Fairtex, with his lightning fast head kicks, his huge upset over Kubo, and his ability to avoid punches even with the ref harassing him about clinching. Also we found out his father had passed away a week ago, he dedicated his win to him. It seemed to me that Fairtex hurt his left shin in his first fight, since he threw it a lot less in the 2nd and 3rd plus it all bandaged up, didn't seem to effect his performance too much though. Secondly a British fighter named Kerrith Bhella, I personally hadn't seen him fight before, and I half expected K-1 to give Yuya someone he could beat up in Japan. I was very wrong, Bhella's technique was some of the best I have seen, tight hands, fast powerful jab and combos followed by leg kicks, and an almost flawless defense. I really hope we get to see more of him after his defeat of Yamamoto last night.

Results

Tournament Reserve: Ilias Bulaid Defeats Taito (KO rd 3)

Tournament Quarter Final #1 - Hiroya Defeats Michael "Tomahawk" Thompson.

Tournament Quarter Final #2 - Soda Yasuomi defeats Kimura Minoru (KO rd 2)

Tournament Quarter Final #3 - Kaew Fairtex Defeats Yamazaki Hideaki (decision)

Tournament Quarter Final #4 - Yuta Kubo defeats Raz Sarkisjan (decision)

Superfight 70kgs - Matsukura Shintaro defeats Zhao Fukai (decision)

K-1 Koshien 2014 final - Hiramoto Ren defeats Sano Tenma (decision)

Tournament Semi-Finals #1 - Soda Yasuomi defeats Hiroya (decision)

Tournament Semi-Finals #2 - Kaew Fairtex defeats Yuta Kubo (KO Rd 2)

Superfight 55kgs - Takeru defeats Taiga(KO rd 2 wicked spinning backfist)

Superfight 70kgs - Kerrith Bhella defeats Yuya Yamamoto (decision)

 Tournament Finals - Kaew Fairtex defeats Soda Yasuomi (decision)

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Buakaw Holds Press Conference, Still No Real Answers to Tough Questions

There is a shroud of mystery surrounding Buakaw Banchamek's actions at the K-1 World MAX Finals event from Saturday night. In the lead-up to the event Buakaw was in the press where he made multiple statements in regards to K-1 that all amounted to claims that he never substantiated. So it wasn't a surprise that something went down on Saturday, but no one expected Buakaw to just walk out before the decision was ever read, that's for sure. 

Yesterday K-1 held a press conference and issued a statement where they refuted Buakaw's claims against them and implied if Buakaw continued to talk in the press about the organization that they'd pursue legal action. Today in Bangkok Buakaw held his own press conference, which began with Superpro Samui's Robbie Timmers as a character witness. While it's not clear to us what he said, our best guess was that it was about Murthel Groenhart's prize money fiasco due to Timmers and his links with Black Label fighter management, which is now linked with GLORY. 

Buakaw really did not say much that we didn't already hear in the past few days. His claims were that he knew that the fight was fixed and left in protest, that he did not understand the K-1 rules due to a poor translation that was provided to him and that he was concerned with possible illegal gambling operations. What I've been explaining to people over the last few days that in cases like this the onus is on the accuser to present strong evidence and possibly even proof to validate the claims. This press conference was supposed to be the day that things were clarified and instead it was the same vague claims without a scrap of evidence or proof.

The court of public opinion has already spoken and firmly sided with Mr. Banchamek, regardless of this.

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K-1 Global Fires Back After Buakaw Banchamek's Confusing Claims

My god, this whole Buakaw fiasco, right? 

If you are somehow blissfully unaware of what happened, on Saturday night at the K-1 World MAX Finals in Pattaya Buakaw Banchamek ran out of the building after the third round of the fight into an awaiting car, taking off without uttering a word to anyone in the arena. The only interaction that was documented was Buakaw walking over to his opponent, Enriko Kehl while his manager, Yim, shouted at the K-1 Thailand organizer from the ring before they were both ghosts. 

K-1 officials were prepared for something to go wrong in regards to Buakaw, considering that he spent the entire time after he was paid on September 22nd running the promotion down in the press, including making various claims against the company and attempting to link them to online gambling, but what happened was truly something that no one could have prepared for. The claims from Banchamek and his supporters have ranged from possible fight fixing, K-1 owning a gambling site being used to fix the fight, last minute rule changes and fear for lack of payment. 

Most of the claims have been unsubstantiated, including the fear of lack of payment considering that he was paid full and upfront weeks before the event. The gambling claims seemed like a misunderstanding, a straw man argument, if you will. K-1 was sponsored by a betting company based in Australia, but clearly had no ownership stake in the company and the site follows all regulations and will not accept bets from nations like Thailand where online gambling is illegal. 

If you were to objectively view the situation, you'd see Banchamek's shifting story, his association with a rival promoter who was upset with K-1's attempted advance into Thailand, you'd find it difficult to buy into it without any solid evidence. A press conference was scheduled for Monday afternoon in Thailand from Banchamek but never materialized, instead K-1's Ned Kuruc spoke with media where he denied claims of rule changes or links to illegal gambling at the event. Sadly this has become a game of he-said, she-said and the court of popular opinion online has already formed their opinions.

K-1 released a statement earlier today that hammered home the point that they are claiming to have not had any part in any sort of shady business dealings for this event and that if Banchamek chooses to continue with unsubstantiated claims against the company that they will pursue legal action. Messy, messy stuff.

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Buakaw Banchamek Walks Out, Enriko Kehl Claims K-1 World MAX Championship

Truly fascinating night in Thailand tonight as K-1 held the K-1 World MAX Finals to crown the K-1 MAX Champion. That champion will hold the K-1 MAX/70kg Championship and go on to defend it against all comers. Many believed that Buakaw Banchamek couldn't lose against Enriko Kehl, especially after the showing last year that saw Buakaw dismantle Kehl and pick up a decision. What happened in the fight was much stranger than fiction, that is for sure.

Enriko Kehl came into the fight focused and was landing clean combinations and shots on Banchamek. Buakaw spent most of the fight catching Kehl's kicks or clinching him then dumping him to the mat. That led to Buakaw being in control in the ring, but not landing anything significant. Many believed that this would assure Buakaw an easy victory against Kehl, but in what is typical K-1 fashion when a fight is close, it was ruled a draw. Before anyone goes into conspiracy theory mode, those trips, dumps and clinches don't score points in K-1 rules. The official K-1 rules are that a clinch must be immediately broken or that a single knee can be thrown from a one-handed clinch. That is just the rules. 

The fight was to go to an extension round, the only problem was that Buakaw was nowhere to be seen. Buakaw, along with his trainers and manager Yim, left the ringside area when they found out that there would be an extension round. Buakaw, who has fought in extension rounds in K-1 numerous times now, knows how it works, so there really was no reason for him to storm out. If you were paying attention to Banchamek's social media and to the news leading into the fight, this behavior won't seem that odd to you, as Banchamek had gone to the press numerous times in the lead-up to this event with some interesting stories. Those stories include doubts as to K-1's legitimacy, him wondering if he'd be paid the money that he'd get from fighting in the event and even claiming that K-1 was involved in illegal gambling on the event. 

Curiously it was all done in front of a Top King banner, with Top King being the latest Thai promotion that Buakaw has signed with after falling out with Yokkao, Thai Fight and MAX Muay Thai over the years. Buakaw was nowhere to be seen and the fight was ruled in favor of Enriko Kehl due to disqualification via forfeit. All of the credit in the world goes to Enriko Kehl who very clearly learned from their first encounter and made improvements and adjustments to meet the Thai legend on Thai soil in a fight that no one thought that he could win. 

Regardless of anyone's opinion on if the extra round was deserved or not, this was unprofessional behavior from Banchamek and not the first time that he had done something similar in K-1 (see the Zhou Zhi Peng fight in December 2013 in China).

UPDATE: If you watch the video above it is clear that Buakaw and his team left before the decision was even rendered. We received confirmation that Buakaw and his team left immediately after round three ended and jumped into a car without a word to anyone else. 

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Watch the K-1 World MAX Finals Here Live on October 11th

On October 11th in Pattaya, Thailand the K-1 World MAX Finals is scheduled to happen between Buakaw Banchamek and Enriko Kehl. The show will also see the debut of Paul "Semtex" Daley in the K-1 ring. Join us live on October 11th to watch the event. The broadcast begins at 11:45am Eastern time on October 11th. 

K-1 World MAX Final: Buakaw Banchamek vs. Enriko Kehl

Paul “Semtex” Daley vs. Mohammad Ghaedibardeh

Rungravee Sasiprapa vs. Dennis Puric

Andrei Kubelin vs. Lee Sung Hyun

Maximo Suarez vs. Tural Bayramov

Andre “Dida” Amade vs. Li Yankun

Artem Pashporin vs. Petmongkol Thor. Thesputin

Xei Lei vs. Yoshimoto

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Liverkick Throwback: Buakaw Banchamek's K-1 MAX Debut Vs. Jordan Tai

The world of kickboxing has a rich history to fall back upon so we here at LiverKick figure, why not? Why not give a glimpse into some of the fights from the past that have made up this wonderful sport and tie it all in to the present. The kids on the Instagram and Twitter like to call Thursdays "Throwback Thursdays," I'm just going to say that this is a LiverKick Throwback.

Since Buakaw is fighting in another K-1 Final this weekend I figured it would be good time to look back at when it all started. In 2004 Buakaw Banchamek (Por Pramuk at that time) made his K-1 Max debut against New Zealand's Jordan Tai, who trained with Ray Sefo. It's hard to remember a day when Buakaw wasn't a name that every fight fan knew, but this video shows us it existed. First of all his name is spelled wrong, secondly his record says this is his pro debut, (there is a not chance that's true) and listening to the commentator calling him "the Thai fighter" felt strange to me. The commentator is also very bias against Buakaw but then again it doesn't seem like he has much idea of whats going on anyway. It's interesting to see that Buakaw's style really hasn't changed a lot over the years, his stamina has improved and he uses his hands a little more now, but otherwise not a big difference. He also lands the same liver punch he recently finished David Calvo off with but Jordan Tai toughs it out and stays on his feet even after getting hit with two more.

Enjoy the fight and allow it to prepare you for this weekends K-1 Final.

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