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Post Script ´It's Showtime´



‘It's Show time' in Netherlands post script and foot notes
Tyrone Spong prevails as Kraus ‘slides' through

Just like how a school boy leaves home for a boarding house, Buakaw Por Pramuk who went out of his way (literally) to keep his commitment to ‘It's Showtime' copped what most critics call a ‘robbery'. It was a decision which is contentious to say the least but different in terms of what a home crowd would have reacted to. In the face of undeniable fact emotions seemed to be over ridden by a very intelligent Dutch crowd.


Let's get one thing straight: this is not the first and certainly won't be the last time contentious decisions take place. Buakaw and Kraus are high profile prize fighters who draw record crowds who pay good money to see them. Therefore it is logic enough that all parties, fighters and fans deserve the best decisions in an openly professional fight era.

It was a well choreographed and Austin Powers like entrance by Kraus, where a ‘mini' Kraus attired in his suede leather, old school styled trunks led the way through hazy smoke machines to a rapturous crowd. Buakaw for his part arrived in less obvious, traditional black Thai trunks. The post fight reaction couldn't have been a complete opposite as fans were un-nerved by a questionable decision.

So why the noise about this decision, which was fought under K-1 rules? Buakaw and Kraus are both K-1 Max veterans and know the game inside out. So unlike when Yod Fairtex fought Andy Souwer on Slamm 4 early this year where a debate occurred that Yod under the scoring system had done the work but not enough damage on the score cards. As usual Fairtex peppered the arms of Souwer which didn't score on with judges. Souwer in fact won the fight fair and square under K1 rules.

Buakaw who did plenty of work showing glimpses of his former self-kicking to the body and outside thigh of Kraus who retaliated with boxing of his own didn't have the judge's favour. This caused an outcry and instant reaction from the crowd who booed at it when announced over the PA system. How and why it was scored in favour of Kraus, we may never know. What we do know is that under the circumstances as a crowd favourite, Kraus earning the decision didn't sit well with these paying customers and millions of viewers from across the globe. Subjective decisions and its ugly head rose itself again in what should be the most professional of codes.

Winning for these guys means everything. Sure, they get paid to perform but pride of place and peer recognition means everything to them. As the kick fighting enters an ultra professional era with it must develop the fundamentals and officiating to significant levels, matching the professionals who perform as sport entertainment brands. Buakaw and Kraus are too such ‘brands'. If the sport is to compete with other unarmed combat codes such as Mixed Martial Arts and promotions like UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), then the transparency and professionalism of decisions must be paramount. In a fully and openly pro era leaving little doubt if the scoring was done correctly and uniformalized, we would avoid much trouble.

Kraus as usual being the optimist raised his hand before the verdict was read. He has been criticized on many online forums for his ‘hand raising' behaviour which is largely unjustified, as it is not him who made the decision but merely playing to the crowd and hoping he would have snuck home. He did, albeit under much debated circumstances with an unhappy crowd and a disappointed opponent, wondering what he would have needed for a win. Without taking the gloss off Por Pramuk's performance a knock out would have not troubled the three wise men at ring side.


In reality fighters can't be blamed for judging decisions for it is beyond their control. He arrived in earnest and fought the way he did, albeit it was a far from convincing performance. Fighters cop bad decisions from time to time and like the gentleman he is Buakaw accepted it and moved on. How much of this happens in the future will determine how well kick boxing will compete with the likes of MMA which is on a steady global rise.

The Thai contingent and especially Buakaw knew that he was hard done by, the immediate post result reaction from Por Pramuk and Kraus summed it up. Albert was conscious that he had just got out of jail and Buakaw wondering how it at gone against him. A picture they say, says a thousand words. When Por Pramuk headed back to the change rooms fans that mobbed and patted him on his shoulder were sympathetic of the fact that a fight which should have gone to BPP hadn't. That's gold...

Decisions should never taint a show nor should it cause controversy unless a fight was peerlessly close. Sadly this fight wasn't and seemingly on all accounts and angles, Por Pramuk would have won but not on the three cards which mattered most. So did the judges suffer ‘hometown' sickness or was it a case of Buakaw falling victim to  ‘grand theft auto'.... If only Jesse James was alive.

Tyrone Spong V Zabit Samedov

US Air Force pilots risk night blindness from various occupational hazards when they flew sorties during Desert storm... Zabit Samedov and Tyrone Spong risked some form of blindness as they got in to a stern staring match at the press conference, day before in Eindhoven. This set the perfect platform for a war which would settle the score. Less talk and more action, even though it was as dramatic as opposed to how Badir Hari and Peter Graham coming to blows in Auckland at a K-1 press conference, back in 2005!

In any event both fighters marched in to the main event and soon it was obvious that Spong was panel beating Samedov. His own post fight admission suggested that he was happy to go full five rounds and ‘needed the work out'. The way he went about taking apart Samedov was impressive. Keep in mind that Samedov has secured frequent K-1 GP appearances and a most note worthy win over an aging Ray Sefo. Given that he served a six month suspension from Nevada State Athletic Commission after losing a decision to another New Zealander, Doug Viney in Las Vegas K1 GP final in 2007 (suspension wasn't upheld on other locations) it is a very notable victory from Spong.

Analysing what skills and qualities Spong and Samedov have, it is clear as day that Spong was always going to win, if he performed to a satisfactory level. He did better than that and for five rounds driving home the advantage. Therefore Samedov who is talented fighter in his own right and a man who loves to stare people down at press conferences, suffered the same fate as most fighters do, except being KO'd by arguably the best emerging talent on global kick boxing.


The importance of Spong is high. He is the sort of fighter most fans and purists want to see. True performer and entertainer who is becoming a cult symbol for fast and the furious as opposed to over sized ‘freak show' fighters, he has certainly put sexy back into kick boxing. Samedov for his part was in outstanding physical shape and looked the part and was a perfect opponent, young and exciting in style and execution. There post fight pleasantries were professional in every sense and the pre fight stare was all part of the bravado which was live up to during the fight.

Spong, even made time to have a candid chat with media amongst a frenzied celebration from his fans and friends back stage, the sort of guy who is a journalists darling and could do no wrong.  

If Spong is to be really tested, there are two men in the Oceania region. Namely Nathan ‘Carnage' Corbett and perhaps this time next year... Shane ‘Choppa' Chapman....Spong will clearly be favourite against both, backing himself on his record and recent form. However even more than Corbett, Chapman will be a tricky customer (not because he is a fellow Kiwi) but sheer experience in Full Thai rules and his ability to come from behind. He is probably the only guy capable to box Spong on an even keel and use the ring to a fuller extent.

A spanner has been thrown to the works, Spong and performance artistry has well and truly arrived. Moreover we don't have to now rely on Kimbo Slice or Bob Sapp to look for morbid entertainment. In theory watching ‘Phantom of the Opera' or a guy like Spong in action for a fight fan is more or less the same. The practice will of course come when kick fighting gets so exciting that royalty will pay for a box office seat.  

Closing upon a perfect year despite a motorcycle accident, his win sent a clear cut message that he wants a crack at K-1, in an almost poetic fashion... sooner rather than later. Just like how Samedov's staring didn't work which only delayed the inevitable. Reminiscent of the famous line from the ‘Phantom of the Opera', "Seal my fate tonight. I hate to have to cut the fun short, but the joke's wearing thin. Let the audience in. Let my opera begin!". That's how Spong rolled in and rolled out with hardly a scratch on his body.



From: RogueMagazine  Pics: Ben Pontier


Post new comment
Pablo (795 posts)
Posted: 2008-12-01 at: 06:19
I agree fully with this opinion about the Kraus vs Buakaw matter
Ronnie (101 posts)
Posted: 2008-12-01 at: 10:20
Well me too....
let them fight for a 5th time!

Why not
Post new comment


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