Thailand’s Saemapetch Fairtex is gearing up for the biggest bout of his life this week. The 25 year-old Muay Thai athlete is set to challenge for the ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Championship. Saemapetch’s title shot takes place this Friday in Singapore, at ONE: Edge Of Greatness.
Standing in Saemapetch’s way is reigning champion and fellow Thai Nong-O Gaiyanghadao. The 33-year-old Nong-O is a Muay Thai legend with not one but four Lumpinee Stadium championships to his name.
Nong-O became the division’s inaugural champion after comprehensively defeating China’s Han Zihao in February at ONE: Clash Of Legends. A powerful striker with superb timing, Nong-O has looked seemingly a step ahead of his competition since he arrived at ONE in 2018. However, in his most recent outing against France’s Brice Delval, the Thai showed signs that age might finally be catching up to him as he retained his title only by the slimmest of margins, when he won via split decision.
Saemapetch is aware of Nong-O’s in-ring ability. But after watching Nong-O’s bout with Delval, Saempetch feels confident that he will be leaving Singapore with the belt.
“I now know more of his fighting style and know how to beat him. This is my first ONE Championship Thai vs. Thai bout, and I’m against someone who happens to be my idol. I feel glad and excited at the same time,” Saemapetch said to LowKickMMA.
It was apparent from the very beginning of his ONE career that Saemapetch would eventually be competing for a title. In his debut bout, he defeated the highly-rated Serbian Ognjen Topic, confirming his status as one to watch.
Training out of Thailand’s world-famous Fairtex Gym, Saemapetch is surrounded daily by some of the planet’s most gifted strikers.
“I’m glad to be in Fairtex, it’s also like a family, they treat me very well, I feel I’m so lucky to be here and to get a chance to compete in Muay Thai and represent Fairtex,” Saemapetch said.
Saemapetch, along with stablemate Stamp Fairtex and fellow athletes such as Rodtang Jitmuangnon, represents a generation of Muay Thai fighters who are arriving at ONE when they are nearing or are at, the peak of their powers. The Singapore-based promotion’s ONE Super Series is shaping up as a viable option for Muay Thai fighters looking to earn a living from craft.
“I think there are huge numbers of Muay Thai athletes who want to sign to ONE Championship,” Saemapetch said.
If Saemapetch is right, then the ONE Championship fan-base can look forward to plenty exciting Muay Thai bouts.