Living in Thailand for the past 7 years and being the owner/operator of Phuket Top Team Martial Arts Training Camp, I have seen the growth of combat sports throughout Asia.
While Mixed Martial Arts has grown leaps & bounds in Asia with promotions like One Championship, Road FC, and Rizin FF, the most impressive growth in Asian combat sports would have to be the kickboxing boom in China.
Promotions like Kunlun Fight, Hero Legends, WLF have grown to hold very regular shows with the top names in the Kickboxing world. Smaller promotions are everywhere in China and events are held across the entire country on a weekly basis.
Going back five plus years the reputation was a little “dodgy” with non-Chinese fighters struggling to get decisions against local fighters. In recent years, this situation has been mostly if not entirely eliminated (at least on the major shows).
K-1 (Japan) was previously considered the number one Kickboxing promotion in the world. Recently Glory would most likely be considered to have taken poll position as the biggest Kickboxing promotion in the world, but unsettling financial rumors regularly surround Glory & the recent loss of the Spike TV deal is a bit of a shot to the liver.
Moving into 2016 I would have to say based on the number of shows, the talent being brought in and the pays on offer, that Kunlun Fight is likely the front runner to become the No.1 Kickboxing promotion in the world.
While Chinese kickboxing shows like Hero Legends & WLF are going strong, the lack of international media seems to prevent them from taking the next step in popularity.
Boyd Clarke is also the creator of Phuket Dreaming, you can check out the trailer below.