Buakaw Knocks Out Opponent In Exhibition Match

Buakaw vs. Malik Watson

When Buakaw had his fall out from Por. Pramuk in 2013 he was not allowed to fight for a while. To get around this he participated in some exhibition matches.

One of these exhibition matches took place at Max Muay Thai’s first event in 2013. American Malik Watson was the fighter pegged to compete with Buakaw in the exhibition. Apparently, either Buakaw doesn’t know what exhibition means or Watson pissed him off, because the exhibition bout quickly turned into a real fight.

Everything seemed to start off fine as the fighters engaged in some pre-fight showmanship kicking pads and giving the fans in attendance a show. The first round seemed to be going as expected, Watson taunted Buakaw a bit, but everything looked like it was in good fun. Buakaw seemed to be having a good time, but when the second round started it didn’t seem like he was playing anymore.

Buakaw was not playing anymore in the second round.

Watson should have sensed something was wrong as soon as the second round started. He went out touch gloves and Buakaw doesn’t, instead, he punches him in the face. Buakaw then turns up the intensity and it is very clear he is no longer playing.

Watson has no option but to try and fight back, but despite his efforts, Buakaw starts to pour it on. A big right hurts Waston and in a regular fight the referee would have likely stepped in and gave him a count as he was clearly hurt. With this being an exhibition that can’t happen so the fight continues and Buakaw hurts Watson again. This time he backs away to let him recover before he continues his onslaught. A left from Buakaw finally levels Watson and it is over.

Talk about thinking you are going to have someone fun with a legend and instead he ends up knocking you out. I guess to some that might be an even better memory.

It started up with nothing but respect.

Wai Kru before the exhibition bout.

It really is difficult to figure out who to blame here. Did Buakaw go too far in the exhibition match? Some might say he did because this wasn’t the only time he has knocked out an opponent in one of these matches. Does this make his a bad sportsman or just really competitive?

As for his opponents, they might go in thinking it is all fun but as soon as it gets serious they need to be ready. As soon as they saw this was no longer fun for Buakaw they should have been ready. Then again was are you going to do when Buakaw is trying to KO you? It’s not like they could just stop the exhibition match. The only option becomes to stand your ground and fight. Unfortunately deciding to do that against Buakaw will probably mean things don’t end well.


  1. Ok Buakaw did not turn it on first. Malik is known to be a dirty fighter. In the first round, he threw a few hard sneaky kicks trying to get a cheap shot in on Buakaw. Buakaw stepped it up accordingly, but it is easy to see he was still holding quite a bit back.

  2. Wow, where do I start? If you are going to fight in Thailand with a Thai fighter it’s an outstanding idea to learn about their culture. Just because the first thing you see on arriving in Bangkok is McDonalds, KFC and Dairy queens all over the place, THIS IS NOT AMERICA. Firstly the head is the “highest” point of the being and sacred, do not touch the head or shoulders. This is a fight, yes, striking at the head with fist, elbow, knee or even kick is part and parcel, but Watson here isn’t striking, he isn’t jabbing, he is touching and he is doing it a lot in the first round. This is highly disrespectful and this is not showboating for demonstration anymore. Secondly, The disrespect is in front of Buakaws countrymen and friends, he is now obliged to “save face”. A KO is now inevitable. If I had the honor to be in Watsons place and when trying to touch gloves Buakaw struck me, I know I’ve pissed him off. Before he weaves my head into the canvas I would have backed off and given Buakaw a wai (place hands together and bow head) This is not a sign of submission in Thai, it’s an everyday greeting, in this case it would be seen as an apology and sign of respect, since he now knows my offence was not intentional the bout would have carried on in the lighthearted manner of a demonstration. Bear in mind though a demo in Thai can still be quite full on.

    • That is a great analysis of what happened. Some very good insight. It can all be in good fun but remember where you are. Cultures are different.

    • Alan shut your gay ass up, you wouldn’t even be able to fight Buakaw you little bitch. It’s a fight but you probably wouldn’t know anything about that.

    • This is some good insight on what happened Alan. I didn’t know that about the head and shoulders in Thai culture. I would also note that, this was a very difficult time in Buakaw’s life, so maybe he had a lower tolerance to disrespect at the time.

  3. It’s hard to remember because this was a while ago now but Malik nearly caught him or kind half glanced off him with that head kick at one point, he would have put him away same as he did anyone to probably, but Buakaw’ll have seen a lot of things over time and many guys who do that thing, after that one he seems to have the measure of it.
    They clearly encouraged him to showboat and they clearly told him what they wanted from that whole thing before, they booked him because that is how he performs, and as for these “countrymen” or whatever other drivel, they won’t even have payed full price, it’s people like Malik who sell tickets to their countrymen and other tourists at proper money, and people want to have some kind of atmosphere. Do you think it’s tradition to bust out tunes in between rounds? If you’re doing that you really lose the moral high ground about anything after.
    The crowd loved to see him and I bet many people went home having seen muay thai just that one time on holiday, they probably don’t even know his name, but you can bet they remember that one guy who put on a show.


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