Kunlun Fight 56: Buakaw, Jomthong and Superbon feature in New Year’s Day extravaganza

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.


Photo credit: Kunlun Fight

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


Kunlun Fight 56 – Image via Kunlun Fight


Muay Thai is Life speaks with Joe Schilling about his upcoming bout at M-One Grand!

There is no doubt that Joe “Stich’em Up” Schilling is one of the rising stars in the American Muay Thai scene. There is also no doubt in our mind that he is a star in the making on the international scene as well. With a devastating and aggressive style that often times leaves his opponents face down on the canvas or bloodied up due to one of his vicious elbow strikes, Schilling is the real deal. Besides his exciting style in the ring, Schilling has an equally interesting persona outside the ring. A straight talking, no BS type of guy, he pulls no punches and says what he feels no matter if people like it or not. Some people may love him, some people may hate him, but the bottom line is that when Schilling talks people listen.

He has a polarizing personality, a violent and entertaining fight style, and a great back story; qualities that many sports greats, past and present, have possessed. Its if for this reason that we believe that Joe “Stich’em Up” Schilling may be a fighter that helps bring Muay Thai in America out of its niche status and gets others in the country to stand up and take notice of the sport we all know and love. Schilling may not want all this responsibility or even the “STAR” title -he doesn’t seem to be too much of a limelight craving individual- but it is exactly for this reason that he can and will bring the sport to new heights if he keeps performing the way he does. All he has to do is keep being himself and fans will love him for it.

In the following interview, Muay Thai is Life’s west coast director and photographer, Galen Okazaki speaks with Joe Schilling about his upcoming fight against Kaoklai Kaennorasing at M-One Grand‘s October 21st event at Club Nokia in Los Angeles as well as a couple of changes he gave us the EXCLUSIVE on. This card is going to be nuts!

For more M-one news as well as all Muay Thai news, media, interviews, and more, stay locked here on Muay Thai is life or like our Official Facebook page or follow us on Twitter.

Liam Harrison talks about his U.S. debut against Justin Greskiewicz on July 23rd

Don’t let the title of this post fool you. This may be Liam Harrison’s first time fighting in the United States, but the hard punching English “Hitman” is no stranger to the ring. With 77 fights and a total of 65 wins, Harrison has loads of experience under his belt. Liam was kind enough to take time out of his training to talk to us about his upcoming bout with Justin Greskiewicz for the WBC Welterweight Title at Warriors Cup XII in New Jersey.

MTL: First off Liam, thank you for taking some time out of your busy training schedule to answer a a few questions for us at Muay Thai is Life. For those poor souls that don’t know who you are, tell our readers who you are, where you train, and some of your recent accomplishments in the sport.

Liam: My name is Liam Harrison, I’m from the Bad Company Gym in Leeds, England. I’m 4x world champion and have a record of 77 fights 65 wins 37 KOs and have mixed it up with some of the best fighters around Europe and Thailand including Saenchai, Anuwat, Saggetdao, Namphon PK Stereo, and many more.

MTL: You have never fought in the U.S. before, are you excited about the opportunity of fighting stateside on July 23rd in New Jersey?

Liam: Yes, I’m really looking forward to visiting the States. I can’t wait!

MTL: The WBC in Bangkok recently raised the stakes of your fight by making this fight for the WBC International Welterweight Title. How does that affect you in the lead up to the fight? Does your training change at all? How about mentally, does hearing that this fight is for a title, motivate you even further?

Liam: Not really. I’m always motivated for fights, the motivation is to win for me. The belt will be nice on my mantle piece but I have never lost to a non-Thai fighter before so that’s all the motivation I need right there.

MTL: Your opponent for your U.S. Muay Thai debut is Philadelphia’s Justin Greskiewicz, have you ever seen any of Justin’s fights, and if so what problems do you think you will run into when facing him?

Liam: There’s quite a lot of videos on Youtube, but I’ve not watched them, just glanced to see if he was southpaw or orthodox. I don’t really watch any videos as nobody fights the same fight twice. I’ve heard Justin is a very game and tough guy, so I’m sure it will be a great fight.

MTL: The Muay Thai scene in the U.S. is really starting to pick up steam, an example of it’s growth being your participation at this upcoming event. What is your opinion about the U.S. Muay Thai scene and it’s current fighters? Any American nakmuays that you have seen that have really impressed you?

Liam: Of course there is Justin, also my good friend Mark Deluca is a real tough guy with a nice traditional Thai style, then also fighters like Kevin Ross have made big names for themselves too over the last few years.

MTL: Moving away from your upcoming fight for a second, as you know American nakmuay Kevin Ross is set to face off with Saenchai whom you have fought on two occasions. What advice, if any, do you have for Kevin. What is your opinion about the fight?

Liam: It’s hard to advise someone about how to beat Saenchai, unless you are without a doubt one of the few best pound for pound fighters on this planet you’re not going to even get close, personally I don’t think anyone outside of Thailand can beat him at the minute.

MTL: So we American’s always love to ask fighters what there predictions are for their own fight, as if they would predict anything other than a win. But to follow that cliche line of questioning, what is your prediction for your fight with Justin?

Liam:Nothing other than a win for myself will happen on July 23rd.

MTL:Thank you Liam very much once again for taking the time out to speak with us. Before we go are there any sponsors, trainers, and/or training partners that you would like to thank for helping you prepare for this fight?

Liam:Yes, I would like to thank my sponsors Yokkao & all the fighters and guys at Bad Company and of course my trainer Richard Smith and Dan Green for organizing the fight for me.