Reigning ONE Strawweight Kickboxing and Muay Thai World Champion Sam-A Gaiyanghadao of Thailand will soon make his much-anticipated return to the ONE Championship Circle.
Sam-A is set to face top contender Josh “Timebomb” Tonna of Australia in the main event of ONE: REIGN OF DYNASTIES, scheduled for Friday, 9 October. Up for grabs will be Sam-A’s Muay Thai World Title. Venue and location for this event have yet to be confirmed and announced by ONE Championship.
In his next world title defense, the legendary Lumpinee and Rajadamnern Stadium World Champion plans to showcase the fighting spirit of Thailand.
“To all my Thai fans, thank you for the support. It means a lot to me. I have been training during Covid-19, always working hard. I am a hundred percent ready for this fight and I will do my best as usual,” said Sam-A.
Thailand has emerged as one of the best countries in the world with regards to Covid-19 response, which was highlighted by the UN as a shining example of resilience and solidarity. Sam-A himself is not the least bit surprised, attributing Thailand’s success against the coronavirus to his fellow Thai people.
“The Thai people are very strong and we have a warrior mentality. We will continue to fight this pandemic,” said Sam-A.
Dealing with Covid-19 while in Singapore, where he lives while training and instructing at Evolve MMA, Sam-A says he acknowledges how difficult the past few months have been during the nationwide “Circuit Breaker,” but that he also feels very fortunate to be able to return to doing what he loves.
“It has been a bit uncomfortable. We all had to stay in our homes and basically live life on the same daily routine. Sometimes I would keep myself active by shadow boxing, or do some light sparring with a friend in the same area as me. But generally, I’ve missed normal life when I could meet my students, friends, and also my family. I haven’t seen my family for so long,” said Sam-A.
“But I’m really glad to get the chance to compete again, especially now that the world is slowly starting to recover from the effects of Covid-19. At first, I really didn’t expect I would be able to compete again this year.”
After first losing his flyweight world title to England’s Jonathan Haggerty in early 2019, Sam-A bounced back with two spectacular performances, knocking out Daren Rolland last October, and then capturing the inaugural ONE Strawweight Kickboxing World Title with a victory over Wang Junguang in December.
Earlier this year, before Covid-19 ravaged the world, Sam-A added the inaugural ONE Strawweight Muay Thai World Title to his mantle with a dominant decision over Rocky Ogden.
Now, Sam-A welcomes the challenge from Tonna, the number one contender to his Muay Thai belt. Needless to say, being back in the gym, Sam-A feels right in his element.
“I’ve just been training hard in the gym. It’s a good way to relieve stress, especially after all the lockdowns. The gym is where I love to be,” said Sam-A.
“This event is very important to me, as well as all the athletes competing. I’m glad I am the world champion, and I still have my belts. Fans and media all over the world recognize me and they know me. I’m very proud that I can be an athlete who brings Muay Thai to the world stage.”
ONE: REIGN OF DYNASTIES also features a slew of compelling mixed martial arts and ONE Super Series contests. Confirmed to see action are top flyweight contenders Reece “Lightning” McLaren of Australia and Aleksi “The Giant” Toivonen of Finland. More bouts will be announced at a later date.