Combat sports never ceases to amaze. Just when fans think they’ve seen it all some new surprise worms its way out of the woodwork and leaves all and sundry shocked.
At one time it was Anthony Pettis and his showtime kick. Then there was Yair Rodriguez and his up-elbow. Back in 2002, Roy Jones Jr. delivered a knockout right hook to Glen Kelly with his hands behind his back. Everyone from Anderson Silva, to Demetrious Johnson to Prince Naseem Hamed and James Toney have found ways to dazzle audiences with their fistic prowess.
Has bare-knuckle boxing finally found it’s first great highlight of pugilistic craft?
Bare-knuckle boxer gets TKO’d by loose shoe at BKFC 54
BKFC has emerged as the premiere bare-knuckle boxing promotion around the world, hosting a steady stream of events all over the globe and attracting a wide range of talents both from the boxing world and from mixed martial arts. This week the promotion has a pair of European events, with BKFC 54 going down on Friday, November 17th in Sofia, Bulgaria—followed by BKFC 55 on Saturday in Leeds, England.
It’s down on the BKFC 54 undercard, however that we got our taste of the truly absurd, when light heavyweight MMA fighters Kaloyan Kolev & Amer Abdulnabi squared off in what appeared to be the boxing debut for both men. Scheduled for five 2-minute rounds, the bout didn’t even make it out of the first.
That’s not because the obviously more dangerous Kolev was dominating, however, but instead because Abdulnabi couldn’t find a way to stand upright. The Lebanese fighter’s shoes were so slick that he couldn’t throw a strike without tumbling to the mat. After just a minute of action, the referee stopped the bout to try and find a solution, but when tape didn’t seem to help he called the whole thing off.
As a result, Kolev picked up his first ever TKO win in the boxing ring, taking him to 11-1 in MMA and 1-0 in bare-knuckle. Kolev may be a recognizable name to hardcore UFC fans, having faced off against Armen Petrosyan on the 2021 season of Dana White’s Contender Series. Kolev lost that bout via KO in round 1. To date, the only defeat on the 31-year-old’s record.
BKFC holding tryouts in New Mexico
With no real amateur circuit to speak of, limited legality across the US, and a low enough level of events and popularity to stop most fighters from making a full time job out of it, it’s worth wondering how bare knuckle boxing organizations continue to find new talent to fill out their cards. The secret, it seems, is open tryouts.
Fighters interested in testing their skills in the BKFC ring will get their chance to audition on Saturday, December 9th, in Albuquerque, NM. At an event hosted by longtime UFC action-fight legend Chris Lytle. ‘Lights Out’ delivered some information about the event in a post to his Instagram feed.
Buakaw beats Saenchai at BKFC Thailand 5
Perhaps the best showcase of BKFC’s growing foothold in the combat sports industry came just earlier this month in Pattaya, Thailand. There two Muay Thai legends—Buakaw Banchamek and Saenchai Saenpong—faced off for 5-rounds of bare knuckle Thai boxing action.
Buakaw opened the bout with a heavy dose of kicks to Saenchai’s legs and and body, along with several kick catches to dump/trip takedowns (despite the technique apparently being disallowed for the contest). As the fight wore on Buakaw opened with more of his punching arsenal, eventually cruising to a comfortable decision.
Fans can check out the whole thing here:
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