BKFC Thailand 2 Preview

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Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC) Thailand is set to return for its sophomore outing, BKFC Thailand 2: Iconic Impact on Saturday, May 7, 2022, following on the success of the promotion’s debut event: BKFC Thailand 1: The Game Changer.

BKFC Thailand CEO Nick Chapman says, “Mine and my business partners’ aim is to inspire and enable fighters, coaches, and gyms of Thailand to achieve sustained competitive excellence and build additional lucrative enterprise around our activities. BKFC Thailand endeavors to bring opportunities, fun, and excitement for all.”

BKFC Thailand 2: Iconic Impact will happen live from the Pattaya Event and Convention Hall, better known as the PEACH. The event can be seen worldwide on the BKTV app and is set to start at 6:00 PM ICT/11:00 AM BST/6:00 AM EDT, but will not be available for streaming until later that evening at 2:00 AM BST/9:00 PM EDT.

BKFC Thailand 2 Preview

Main Event – Sirimongkhon Lamthuan vs. Mikhail Vetrila

The main event features an interesting clash between drastically different combatants, with the fight’s winner leaving as the inaugural BKFC Thailand Light Heavyweight Champion.

On one side of the main event is Sirimongkhon Lamthuan, one of Thailand’s most notable and successful fighting sons. The former WBA, WBC, WBU, and IBO world boxing champion known as “Handsome Divinity” has only lost five boxing bouts in 102 fights across eight weight classes. He took off the gloves to knuckle up in the co-main event at the aforementioned BKFC Thailand 1: The Game Changer. There, the 44-year-old picked up a split decision victory over Iranian karateka Reza Goodary, who held an 11-inch (27 cm) height advantage and a 12-inch (30 cm) reach advantage over Iamthuam.

Lamthuan will put his highly-technical skillset to the test against Russian dynamo Mikhail Vetrila. Known as “Street Fight Mike” around Thailand, he comes into his BKFC debut holding a 37-6-6 pro Muay Thai record on top of a 1-1 record in MMA. Training out of Tiger Muay Thai, the brash 30-year-old Vetrila will look to come into the fight guns blazing while also sporting an eight-inch (19 cm) height advantage.

Co-Main Event – Souris Manfredi vs. Fani Peloumpi

The battle in the co-main event between two European strikers is set to crown the inaugural BKFC Thailand Strawweight Champion.

Souris Manfredi returns looking to become the Queen of BKFC Thailand. The French 33-year-old is a national and European champion in Muay Thai, holding a 33-8-1 record in the sport. She also won a world title in Lethwei, which is bare-knuckle Muay Thai with headbutts included. This bout will be her third bare-knuckle boxing fight, first winning at Bare Knuckle Kingdom in Phuket last March then following that up with a dominant third-round KO victory over Saowaluk Nareepaengsri at BKFC Thailand 1: The Game Changer in December.

Standing in her way will be MTA Academy’s Fani Peloumpi. Hailing from Greece, Peloumpi has nearly 100 professional fights across three combat sports, primarily in Muay Thai. The 37-year-old has won multiple titles in the sport and sports a 67-21-1 record in fights taking place around Europe and Thailand. She will look to translate those skills into the BKFC ring for her debut.

Cruiserweight Fight – Tofan Pirani vs. Arash Mardani

An interesting clash of styles is set to take place in a cruiserweight fight that features two combat sports veterans.

Tofan Pirani has been itching to get back to action for two years. The Swedish former kickboxer has fought in some of the biggest combat sports organizations in the world for over two decades, holding wins over notable combat sports athletes such as Bob Sapp and Stefan Leko across over a hundred total professional combat sports fights. The Sipholek-trained 42-year-old fighter will come into this fight looking to make a statement in his new sport.

Venum Training Camp’s Arash Mardani comes into the fight on short notice, replacing original opponent Kristof Kirsch. The 36-year-old Iranian Mardani is more well-known for his abilities in ground fighting, having won numerous wrestling championships around the world before moving on to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, going 19-1 and picking up international championships in that sport as well. He fought for ONE Championship in his lone MMA bout, and also has a Muay Thai fight. Most importantly in this fight, however, he has the advantage of having already fought in bare-knuckle boxing, having picked up a TKO victory in his BKFC Thailand debut back in December.

Heavyweight Rematch – Akbar Karimi vs. Steve “Panda” Banks

A heavyweight rematch six years in the making is set to finally go down at BKFC Thailand 2: Iconic Impact. In their first matchup, a Muay Thai fight back in 2016, Steve Banks picked up a second-round TKO victory over “The Dragon” Akbar Karimi. As the gloves come off for this fight, Banks will look to prove his superiority once more while Karimi will have revenge on his mind.

The 40-year-old American “Panda” Banks is a longtime veteran of combat sports, with over a hundred fights across five different combat sports and has competed in some of the world’s premier organizations, such as Bellator and Kunlun Fight. Training out of Phuket Top Team, Banks is most closely associated with Muay Thai, becoming the first American to earn the WBC World Muay Thai Championship. This is Banks’s second bare-knuckle boxing match, the first also being against a former Muay Thai opponent in Nikolay Gusev. In that fight, he picked up a first-round TKO finish. 

Fellow former WBC Muay Thai World Champion Akbar Karimi is searching for a win in his BKFC Thailand debut. The 37-year-old Iranian training out of the Muay Thai Academy also has a wealth of experience across a multitude of combat sports, earning an MMA World League World Championship to go along with the aforementioned Muay Thai championship. Although he will be giving up two and a half inches in height to Banks, expect Karimi to weigh about 20 pounds heavier.

Welterweight Fight – Keivan Soleimani vs. Paitoon “Rock” Jaikom

A recognizable name to BKFC Thailand fans gets a big test against one of Thailand’s own in this welterweight matchup.

Iran’s Keivan Soleimani is no stranger to the BKFC ring, having headlined BKFC Thailand 1: The Game Changer. On just two weeks’ notice, the 31-year-old nicknamed “K-1” scored a scorching knockout in half a minute to steal many of the night’s headlines. The former amateur Lethwei champion training out of Tiger Muay Thai also has nearly a hundred fights across Muay Thai and kickboxing. He will be looking to show the world that his debut at BKFC Thailand was not a fluke.

Known as “Rock” to most fans, Paitoon Jaikom will have the hometown advantage for this fight, training out of Paahkai Pattaya. Jaikom will have the experience advantage over most fighters, having fought well over 200 times professionally in Muay Thai, boxing, and MMA, where he fought UFC vet Ashkan Mokhtarian in Australia, where he also spends a lot of time training.

Lightweight Grudge Match – Naeem Binhar vs. Sornchai “Maseng” Kantiphong

A pair of 25-year-old lightweights from Thailand’s underground fighting circuit are set to go to battle in a grudge match that has been brewing for a few years. After a recent run-in between the two garnered millions of views on social media, the animosity has grown even more between the two, and the anticipation has grown among the fans for this rematch. 

Naeem Binhar’s street fighting videos have garnered plenty of attention for his relentlessness and ferocity. What he lacks in sanctioned professional experience, he more than makes up for in underground fighting, following in the footsteps of legends such as Kimbo Slice and Jorge Masvidal. He does have one sanctioned fight in bare-knuckle boxing, which might give him an experience advantage over his opponent.

Sornchai Kantiphong, better known as “Maseng”, is cut from the same cloth as Binhar. Another notable name on the underground scene, Maseng holds an advantage in sanctioned professional events only losing twice in ten fights between MMA and Muay Thai. Now, he puts his self-proclaimed “number-one street boxer” ranking to the test in the BKFC ring.

Welterweight Grudge Match – TJ “Hellboy” Chang vs. Fabiano Hawthorne

Originally scheduled to be the main event of BKFC Thailand 1, this rematch has turned into a true rivalry that has had Thai fight fans buzzing. 

In their first fight last year, UK-born TJ Chang faced off against Brazil’s Fabiano Hawthorne in an outdoor bare-knuckle boxing event. The all-out war was stopped short after Chang could not continue due to heat exhaustion after the fourth round. With BKFC Thailand events currently being held exclusively indoors, that should not be an issue in this rematch. 

The fight was booked for BKFC Thailand’s debut back in December, but a Hawthorne injury delayed the fight. Chang would eventually face Keivan Soleimani, losing by KO. With Hawthorne now healthy, the rematch is set once again.

Training out of Venum Training Camp, the 34-year-old “Hellboy” Chang is a former Royal Navy Regional boxing champion and Ringstar amateur boxing champion. He is also one of the few fighters on BKFC Thailand’s roster with two bare-knuckle boxing fights under his belt, and will be looking to get revenge in this rematch.

The owner of Hawthorne Fight Team, Fabiano Hawthorne has held national Muay Thai championships in both Brazil and Malaysia, and was also an ISKA Borneo Kickboxing Champion. Alongside his Muay Thai and kickboxing experience, he also has eight MMA fights and has also fought in boxing and Lethwei.

Lightweight Fight – Pongpisan “Ton” Chunyong vs. Sudan “Sitpholek” Kulubon

An interesting fight between contrasting fighters is set to take place in the lightweight division.

Training out of Luktupfah Muay Thai Gym, Pongpisan Chunyong will come into the fight with an extensive boxing background. The 35-year-old holds a 71-16-2 record in the sport. More importantly for this fight, however, “Ton” has the advantage of already having fought with BKFC Thailand, picking up a third-round stoppage over Victor Booty at BKFC Thailand 1.

On the other hand, Sudan Kulubon will come in with the youth advantage, at 23 years of age, as well as a vast Muay Thai background, sporting a 159-27-4 record and is a winner over two eight-man tournaments and the Wako Championship in Thailand. “Sitpholek” also has experience in boxing, going 5-2 there.

Flyweight Fight – Thanatorn Kamwan vs. Thodsaphon “Jhoy” Wannahat

A pair of intriguing Bangkok-based flyweights will take center stage in the third fight of the night at BKFC Thailand 2.

The youngest fighter on the card, 20-year-old Thanatorn Kamwan already has made a name for himself in Thailand’s Muay Thai scene. Holding a record of 90-30-2, the Silk Muay Thai-trained fighter has fought in some of Thailand’s biggest stadiums and served as a headliner on some of Bangkok’s biggest Muay Thai events. His experience under the bright lights could serve him well in this fight.

Thodsaphon Wannahat trains out of the Elite Fight Club gym in Bangkok. At 33 years old, “Jhoy” also has spent a lot of time fighting professionally in Muay Thai, fighting 78 times for a record of 59-15-4 overall.

Lightweight Fight – Sadudee Srimueang vs. Phatiphan “Tiger” Krungklang

Two young Thai boxers will battle in the early part of the BKFC Thailand 2 card.

Fighting out of Marrok Force MMA, Sadudee Srimueang is set to make his BKFC Thailand debut. Serving as a boxing coach at the aforementioned gym, he also holds a 10-1 record in boxing overall and is a former WBA, PABA, and ABF champion. The 28-year-old has a dream of fighting in Las Vegas, USA, and an impressive showing here could help him along that journey.

Phatiphan Krungklang will be Srimueang’s opponent. The 24-year-old “Tiger” representing Singh Manasak has a 6-2-1 record in boxing, with half of those wins coming by knockout. According to BoxRec, he is the sixth-ranked super welterweight boxer in Thailand.

Women’s Opening Fight – Benjamat Phakra vs. Usanakorn Thawinsuwanwang

Two experienced and talented female boxers will kick off a historic night of action at BKFC Thailand 2: Iconic Impact.

Benjamat Phakra has made it clear that she is ready to take on all comers. A veteran of over 50 professional boxing bouts, Phakra is now ready to take off the gloves and toe the line in the BKFC ring.

Usanakorn Thawinsuwanwang will hold a five-inch height advantage over Phakra. As an amateur boxer, she was a gold medalist in the Southeast Asia Games. When she moved to the professional ranks, Thawinsuwanwang became the interim WBC super flyweight champion and undisputed WBC bantamweight champion. She will look to continue that success in bare-knuckle boxing.

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Nate Freeman is from Birmingham, AL, and has been an MMA fan since 2013 after buying UFC Undisputed 2009 for $2 from a second-hand electronics store.

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