At a Rizin 42 press conference this week, a surprising kickboxing fight was announced. In a fight that represents the old school vs. new school, the Muay Thai kickboxing legend Buakaw will take on former K-1 super lightweight champion Rukiya Anpo. During the press conference Rizin CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara said about Buakaw, “I flew to Thailand to meet with [him]. We’re both under the same impression that we will be working together in a long run.”
Buakaw vs Rukiya Anpo
Buakaw is a Muay Thai champion and is considered by kickboxing experts to be one of the best if not the best at his sport. He most recently signed with bare-knuckle league BKFC and won in his fight at BKFC Thailand 3. An incredibly active fighter despite being 40, he still competes in kickboxing and has fought in shootboxing. Among his many accolades include being the 2004 and 2006 K-1 World MAX Champion.
“I’m glad to be back in Japan. I haven’t fought here in a while but I’m excited to fight in Rizin. I am confident in my victory,” Buakaw said. “My plan is to work with Rizin in a longer term and want to bring my young prospects to Japan. I feel that it is my duty for the next generation.”
Rukiya Anpo was one most popular fighters in K-1 before leaving the organization in December last year. The 26-year-old is currently ranked #6 in Beyond Kickboxing’s super featherweight rankings. His most recent fight was on the incredibly popular Mikuru Asakura promotion Breaking Down. Anpo knocked out Cyril Abidi in the third round.
“Buakaw is a legend. The first billboard you see when entering Thailand is him. But with that said, I need to knock him out and have him pass the torch. He will be surprised with my power.”
You can watch the full press conference here: