As reported earlier, Riddick Bowe's debut in Thai kickboxing ended with a thud in the second round on Friday. Wincing in pain and clutching his shins, the 45-year-old former heavyweight champion limped out of the ring in Pattaya, Thailand, and admitted: "It's much harder than boxing.”
Known as “Big Daddy," Bowe took a big beating from his 30-year-old Russian opponent Levgen Golovin, who assaulted the former champion with repeated kicks to the shins. Bowe lost his balance and fell five times before the bout was ended by technical knockout after his last fall.
"You can recover from a head shot or a body shot, but when you get kicked in the leg it lasts a long time," he said. "My leg is still hurting. I don't know how long it's been … fifteen minutes?"
Bowe's last boxing match was in 2008. He says he decided to try Muay Thai because he was bored with retirement and needs the cash. He made $150 000 from Friday's fight, organised by Thai promoters trying to increase the international appeal of Thailand's national sport.
The bout was held at an outdoor ring set up beside the beach in Pattaya, a town best known for its seaside red-light district. Bowe beat Evander Holyfield in 1992 to become the undisputed heavyweight champion. Now weighing 136 kg, Bowe was heavy and slow and barely landed a punch in Friday's fight.
Despite the pain in his legs, Bowe smiled for the cameras after the fight and mustered some optimism.
"I had a lot of fun. I'm going to do it again. Next time it's going to be different," he said. "I'll be back soon."
Bowe's opponent shook his head in disbelief when told the veteran boxer was not giving up on Muay Thai.
"It would be a big mistake. It's not for him," Golovin said. "He's too slow and a bit too old."