After hundreds of professional bouts, former ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion Sam-A Gaiyanghadao will embark on a new journey when he competes in kickboxing for the first time against China’s Wang Junguang at ONE: MARK OF GREATNESS on 6 December at Axiata Arena, Kuala Lumpur.
Excited to showcase his kickboxing skills, the Thai legend has been working hard in the gym in preparation for his next bout, which includes studying a handful of kickboxing legends.
“I am so grateful for this opportunity,” he said.
“I have always wanted to know how I will fare in kickboxing because it is different than Muay Thai. I always have to remind myself to not use my elbows. I have been observing Giorgio Petrosyan and Yodsanklai Fairtex’s games.”
Muay Thai and kickboxing may share some universal techniques, but the implementation and rules vary.
To mention a few, kickboxing has a four-point striking system, while the “art of eight limbs” has an eight-point striking system.
Rules in clinching also differ. The clinch in kickboxing is a means of tying up an opponent for a positional reset, while Muay Thai allows for a full clinch for as long fighters keep striking.
“(Training) is going well,” Sam-A said.
“It has not been long since my last fight so my body is still well-conditioned.”
Sam-A is regarded as one of the best strikers in the world. He started at the tender age of nine with no formal training. Sam-A, known for his strong defense and counter offense, then embarked on a 25-year long journey to greatness.
“I have had multiple bouts in ONE Championship, so I am not nervous or scared,” he said.
“I also know that if you can compete for this organization, you are definitely a fighter worthy of attention.
“Every walk in the stadium is an amazing experience. The atmosphere of having fans and people calling your name is unlike any other. It feels great.”
Seven years ago, the hero from Buriram was victorious in his first professional match. As one of the best athletes in Muay Thai, Sam-A is thrilled to have this opportunity and will look to deliver a stunning performance for the audience in Kuala Lumpur.
“It will be my first time in Kuala Lumpur and also my first time competing in kickboxing,” Sam-A said.
“I have even more to prove and I want to make this a memorable experience. I believe the fans will be excited to see and root for me.”