City Kickboxing coach Eugene Bareman calls for 'coward punchers' to be charged with murder

Renewed calls have gone out for anyone 'coward punching' someone that dies to be charged with murder.

Rising mixed martial arts star Fau Vake - a training partner of Kiwi UFC superstar Israel Adesanya at Auckland's City Kickboxing gym - needs a medical miracle, after he was allegedly punched in the back of the head at the weekend

Vake is just 25 years old - a rare talent in the prime of his life, with the mixed martial arts world and the stardom that brings with it all in front of him. 

But for the fourth night, he lies in critical condition, after allegedly being hit from behind.

"He's hanging on by a thread," says City Kickboxing coach Eugene Bareman. "He needs nothing short of a miracle to get through this." 

On the day of the alleged attack, Vake had sparred with Adesanya and got the better of the middleweight world champion.

"For me, that round told me everything about his talent and possible future," Bareman adds.

On Tuesday, Adesanya issued a statement, saying: "I am distraught. My gym brother may die, because of the gutless actions of these men."

Bareman is adamant such an act deserves to be punished beyond the current letter of the law.

"There is no excuse, it should be considered attempted murder or murder," he says.

"Your intention is to cause as much harm as you can. That's what you're trying to do."

Vake was waiting for a taxi on Auckland's Symonds Street, when the alleged attack happened just before 3am Sunday. 

Fau Vake.
Fau Vake. Photo credit: Instagram/@FauVake

Four men have been charged and appeared in court on various assault charges. They have name suppression and will be back in court next month.

In Australia, king-hit attacks have led to tougher laws, which were introduced in 2014. 

In New Zealand, a National Party members bill, which had its first reading last year, was voted down by the Labour-led coalition government.

That's not going to change, with Justice Minister Kris Faafoi saying: "We believe current law gives courts appropriate options, and allows for such acts to be appropriately prosecuted and punished." 

Bareman is baffled by the approach.

"From where we're sitting, we can't understand where the opposition to a law like that came from," he questions.

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