It’s 2017 and we are starting off the New Year with an epic episode featuring none other than one of the top Muay Thai fighters in the world and our 2016 Striking Corner Fighter of the Year, Fabio Pinca! In this episode Fabio talks to Vinny and Eric about his success in 2016, his upcoming fight for the Rajadamnern Stadium title, how he got into Muay Thai, and why he favors Italian cuisine over French cuisine. We appreciate the effort Fabio made to have a conversation with us despite English not being his first language. A Champion in the ring and a gentleman outside of it, it was an honor talking to one of the best foreign nakmuays to step into the ring. Enjoy!
Kunlun Fight have certainly made their mark on world kickboxing in 2016, with a series of 70kg 4-man tournaments throughout the year, building up-to their year end extravaganza in China. The new year’s day event will focus on the Kunlun World Max finals, featuring: Davit Kiria vs. Jomthong Chuwattana and Superbon Banchamek vs. Cedric Manhoef; headlined by, Buakaw Banchamek vs. Tian Xin.
Kunlun have featured a good few Thais on their events as they established themselves in Southeast Asia initially, with Buakaw being one of their key name fighters. Along with Artur Kyshenko as they have expanded, focusing more on attracting fight fans from the western world.
Davit Kiria vs. Jomthong Chuwattana
Kiria is a former GLORY lightweight champion and now trains with Nieky Holzken; Joining the recently dethroned GLORY welterweight champion at Team Holzken this year.
Kiria made the move in an attempt to rejuvenate his kickboxing career after mixed results in the last couple of years. The change has done him well resulting in a couple of wins against Robbie Hageman at Kunlun Fight 48 and Dzianis Zeuv at Kunlun Fight 52 – both by decisions and part of the overall qualifying process for the Kunlun World Max.
Jomthong on the other hand is a master of various striking skills and rule-sets including, a pro boxing record of 9-1 and three continental titles. He is also a three time Rajadamnern stadium champion but really made his name in Muay Thai with a huge win over Anuwat Kaewzamrit for the WBC featherweight crown in 2008.
Of the two, Jomthong has been the more active this year with six wins from seven fights, the majority of which were on Kunlun events this year including a notable decision win over Buakaw’s opponent on the night, Tian Xin at Kunlun Fight 53.
Superbon Banchamek vs. Cedric Manhoef
Of the four fighters in this year’s Kunlun Max semi-finals, Superbon is most probably the favorite to win the tournament, having defeated Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong at Kunlun Fight 48 in the previous round. The win was a rematch for the two following on from Kunlun Fight 37 where Superbon was on the wrong end of a knockout in the semi-finals of the Kunlun Max event in 2015.
Before Superbon had leveled the aggregate score, Sitthichai, who is currently the GLORY lightweight champion, had been undefeated for the 21 consecutive months, collecting nine wins in a row. The list of world class kickboxers that he had seen off in the last two years included: Mohamed Mezouari at Kunlun Fight 43, Marat Gregorian (twice), Robin van Roosmalen at GLORY 31 and even Davit Kiria (with a brutal knee to the body) at GLORY 28.
Cedric Manhoef is the ‘dark horse’ of the semi-finalists and although he has the heart of a lion and does his family name proud by hardly ever taking back steps in the ring (Melvin Manhoef is actually his nephew – yes, you read that right); the 23 year old is very much a work in progress still. However, Superbon cannot afford to underestimate the Surinamese fighter with any complacency to progress successfully to the final.
Buakaw Banchamek vs. Tian Xin
Buakaw has been fighting for the Chinese promotion since Kunlun Fight 32 in October 2015 and has had a great deal of success, excluding of course, the most controversial decision loss of 2016 against Yi Long at last month’s WLF event in Nanjing, China.
As for how Xin will fare against the living legend and ‘old skool’ K-1 veteran remains to be seen. However, from the Chinese kickboxer’s clash with Andrei Kulebin at Kunlun Fight 50 there’s a possibility that Buakaw could possibly capitalize on Xin’s fighting style with strong clinch-knee entries.
Nevertheless, Buakaw vs. Xin has all the makings for an exciting headlining fight in Sanya on January 1, 2017 since both have the ability to fight well at a high tempo. The new year will be very interesting to see if and how the talented Chinese fighters like Xin can enhance their profile globally along with the continued growth of Kunlun Fight.
Kunlun Fight 56 – Fight card (and order of fights):
Abdullayev vs. Ma Shuo, 75kg
Denies Puric vs. Wang Wenfeng, 60kg
Felipe Stievano vs. Andrey Gerasimchuk, 100kg
Mohamed Mezouari vs. Dzianis Zuev, 70kg – Reserve bout, Kunlun World Max
Arthit vs. Khatal Dzhaniev, 70kg – Reserve bout, Kunlun World Max
Davit Kiria vs. Jomthong Chuwattana, 70kg – Semi-final A, Kunlun World Max
Superbon Banchamek vs. Cedric Manhoef, 70kg – Semi-final B, Kunlun World Max
Andrei Kulebin vs. Wu Xuesong, 70kg
Sergii Kulaiaba vs. Gu Hui, 67kg
Winner of semi-final A vs. winner of semi-final B, 70kg Kunlun World Max
Juan Javier Barragan vs. Wei Ninghui, 65kg
Buakaw Banchamek vs. Tian Xin ,70kg
Fabio Pinca in ongoing negotiations with Enfusion Live but focused on fighting Manowan Sitsongpeenong
Fabio Pinca was reportedly set to compete in the 67kg Enfusion League in February 2017, according to Enfusion’s two-weight champion, Ibrahim El Boustati, who made the revelation prior to defeating Andrew Tate for the, 90kg world championship at Enfusion Live 44.
However, Pinca has now confirmed that he hasn’t yet agreed final terms with Enfusion Live and that talks are still ongoing with the Dutch based promotion who, had recently announced, exclusive European fight deals with Buakaw and Yodsanklai.
“I don’t know for the moment you know. I’m ongoing negotiation so I can not tell you anything about that. Everything, I don’t know for the moment. I can not tell you anything but soon you’re gonna know.”
It’s sounding promising that we will have an update soon enough on a possible deal between Enfusion and Pinca being confirmed in the early part of the new year. The Striking Corner will be monitoring how the situation unfolds and reporting again in due course.
Interestingly, Charlie Peters who, Pinca defeated by decision at Lion Fight 27, recently qualified for next year’s 67kg Enfusion League, by winning the 8-man qualifying tournament in Abu Dhabi at Enfusion Live 45. Since Peters qualified, strong rumours have emerged of a possible rematch between Peters and Pinca but separate from the league concept; and that this proposed matchup under Enfusion rules, could be one of the talking points between Pinca and Enfusion.
The current year has been a very active one for Pinca and 2017 is looking to be another busy year for the Muay Thai maestro who, has fought seven times this year. One of those being his recent decision victory at GLORY 36 against, Mosab Amrani which, was a also rematch between the two but under GLORY Kickboxing rules; whereas the first fight (and decision win for Pinca) was in a 2011 tournament final on Thai Fight.
Nevertheless, Pinca is focused on his next opponent, Manowan Sitsongpeenong, in what will be a 67kg title fight at the Sanam Muay Rajadamnern (Rajadamnern Boxing Stadium) on February 23, 2017 in Bangkok, Thailand.
“First focus is Rajadamnern title on February 23. So I got to Thailand, Bangkok and take the, to the take the belt, Rajadamnern versus Manowan Sitsongpeenong. That’s the first focus for 2017. 67 kilos.“
“And the second focus is the GLORY belt at 65 kilo. At the moment that’s the two focus I have on my mind. It’s Robin [van Roosmalen] if he defend his belt. I know he’s putting his title on January so maybe its him, maybe its another, I don’t know.”
Click here to watch the full video podcast with Fabio Pinca giving the rundown on his recent victory over Mosab Amrani which, was on the undercard to GLORY Collision: Rico vs. Badr and some interesting things he had to say about: Saenchai, Liam Harrison and Giorgio Petrosyan.
Our friend Timo Ruge from Muay Ties shared another absolute gem of a fight that took place just last week Rajadamnern. Sangmanee Sor Tienpo who is always a joy to watch, faced off with Thanonchai Thanakorngym and the two put on a very exciting fight that saw Thanonchai cut Sangmanee with a nice little elbow. Thanonchai gave Sangmanee a tough fight, but we’ll let you watch the fight so you can see how it ends up going. We love watching Sangmanee fight but Thanonchai gave him a fight! Check it out!
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Our friend Timo Ruge from Muay Ties shared another absolute gem of a fight that took place earlier this month at Rajadamnern. Watch as Wanchai Kiatmoo9 and Satanmuanglek Numpornthep absolutely light each other up with vicious elbows and knees in the clinch in this match up in the 109 lb division. Crazy and exciting fight!
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If you saw their previous fight back in February (see it here if you didn’t) then it should be no surprise that when these two stepped into the ring to face each other once again it would bring about some beautiful chaos. Our buddy Timo Ruge from Muay Ties brings us this most recent bout between Thanonchai Tor. Sangtiennoi (Red) vs Seksan Or. Kwanmuang (Blue) that took place June 4th, 2015 at Rajadamnern Stadium in Bangkok.
If you want to see some of the best Muay Thai fights in Thailand and follow the always exciting Muay Thai scene in Thailand as it happens. Make sure you follow Muay Ties!
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