Sam-A Gaiyanghadao will attempt to add one more belt to his trophy cabinet this Friday when he takes on Australia’s Rocky Ogden for the inaugural ONE Strawweight Muay Thai World Championship.
The pair’s clash will form the co-main event of ONE: King of the Jungle, which is set to take place inside the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Sam-A currently holds the ONE Strawweight Kickboxing World Championship and is a Muay Thai legend with over 400 fights under his belt. However, he is not planning on hanging up his gloves anytime soon.
“After winning the title, it simply reaffirmed that my heart is still 100% committed to the sport, be it in kickboxing or Muay Thai. I will continue fighting for a long time,” Sam-A said in an interview with Lowkick MMA.
“Other people might think 36-years-old is old, but I don’t see it that way at all. I believe I still have a lot of fight left in me. I know my body and myself best, and I know how far I can take my body in this sport. I want to continue to show the world what authentic Muay Thai from Thailand is,” Sam-A said in an interview with Lowkick MMA.
“I want people to get to know the sport, and I believe I’m a good representation for that reason. I will not stop or give up for as long as I’m healthy and strong. Age is irrelevant.”
At 20-years-of-age, Australia’s Ogden will have youth and raw physicality on his side, and he has made it clear he is not flying into Singapore, to make up the numbers. For a veteran like Sam-A, Ogden presents an interesting challenge as he knows he will need to be weary of the young Australian.
“Rocky Ogden is a strong opponent. He’s younger than me and has a lot of power in his punches and knees.
“I know I need to go in and pace the fight well and be good and sharp at defending and reading his movements. He’s a good match, and it will be a good fight. I am looking forward to it.”
Now based in Singapore and training out of Evolve MMA, the 2011 Lumpinee Fighter of the Year, is supported by a team of top-notch trainers, nutritionists, and sparring partners. When you combine the elements above with Sam-A’s own considerable expertise, it goes a long way to explaining why the Thai is still able to compete at a high level.
“I’m always focused on keeping my body strong for every match. Training alongside the world champion instructors at Evolve MMA will help keep my technique, combination, and timing sharp. It’s the same no matter the opponent.
“If you know your opponent is strong, you need to train harder. I also know that by the time I meet my opponent in the cage, he could have changed his game. I take it round by round. You learn after each round, and you adjust, knowing how much you have to give.
Sam-A’s ONE journey has been unexpected, coming as it has at the twilight of his career, and he is making the most of every opportunity the promotion sends his way.
“It’s been amazing, and I’m so thankful for everything that has come my way since I started my journey in ONE Championship. At the very beginning, I just wanted to compete for the organization after seeing ONE Strawweight World Champion Dejdamrong and ONE Atomweight World Champion Angela Lee fighting in Singapore.
“I wanted to fight in the cage at the stadium, but I never thought about competing for a belt. After my first fight, I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to compete for a title.”
Friday’s bout will be a classic battle between youth and experience, Ogden’s power could prove to be too much for Sam-A, but after so many years inside the ring, it would not be surprising to see Sam-A adding one more title to his already impressive c.v