Winning the Fight, Losing the Hearts
There was a lot of hype last weekend for the fans of fights, where Manny Pacquiao headlined his return with a WBO title win over Jessie Vargas, and in Asia, the much anticipated second fight between Buakaw Banchamek and the Shaolin warrior Yi Long.
If you've watched the fight, especially from a Muay Thai perspective, it would be damningly clear that the judges got it wrong, and the decision should have gone to Buakaw. I am not sure what the Wu Lin Feng (WLF) fight rules are, but it is clear that it is sort of a hybrid kickboxing rule.
I do know that at one point, one of the commentator pointed out that sweeps and throws (which are awesome in Muay Thai) are "allowed, but awarded no points".
It is also important to guess how WLF scores their fight. For example, do kicks and knees score better vis-a-vis punches? Were the judges irritated with the constant sweeps from Buakaw?
But the fight's done and dusted. Buakaw expressed regret that he should have KO-ed his adversary to secure the win, and thanked the fans for supporting him. We will perhaps never understand the mystical ways of WLF judging. Like always, never leave it to the judges.
But it was good entertainment. It wasn't exactly "boomz" or "WOW", but it was well marketed, and solidly presented on various platforms. Both fighters would probably have walked home with good fight purses (reportedly around RMB 1 million each ~ S$200,000).
Many netizens cry foul, and lament that Buakaw should have won, and it was a fluke fight to restore the Chinese pride in China martial arts, in the representative of a monk, by the name of One Dragon (literal translate of Yi Long), even though there has been much reports of Yi Long's fake Shaolin persona, and that it was created as a marketing gimmick.
Despite the actual fight results, Buakaw won. The social media reactions from even China's own illusive social media grounds turned their backs on their country man and openly supported the Thai.
The biggest loser of the night then, was WLF. It is crucial to note, at this juncture, that there are two major organisers/promoters in China, WLF, and Kun Lun Fight, which also has Buakaw on it's fight cards. KLF also does similar styled fights (hybrid kickboxing rules), but is known to be a little more transparent and slightly sharper in their execution of fights.
The seemingly wayward judgement of Yi Long vs Buakaw 2 has sent fight fans, especially the Chinese ones, alerting KLF not to make the same mistakes that WLF did with Buakaw, and has automatically given the KLF the title of "the better promotion". And of course, KLF's marketing team sneaked a sucker punch at WLF:
The biggest winner of Yi Long vs Buakaw 2: Kun Lun Fight Promotions.