Muay Thai legend and former ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion Sam-A Gaiyanghadao is no stranger to making history. In fact, he’s captured many world titles and garnered multiple accolades throughout his glorious career.
Sam-A is looking to add another feather in his cap this Friday night, 6 December when he faces Wang Junguang for the inaugural ONE Strawweight Kickboxing World Championship. The two square off in one of two headlining bouts at ONE: Mark of Greatness, to be held at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The 36-year- old athlete is revered as one of the greatest Muay Thai athletes not just in Thailand but also worldwide.
“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.”
As part of his preparation, Sam-A has been following some of the greatest kickboxing athletes closely.
“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.”
The Buriram native has been competing since he was nine years old, inspired by his uncle who is also a Muay Thai fighter. In his long and illustrious career, Sam-A collected a total of 367 wins in 423 matches, which includes his recent six wins out of seven bouts.
Last May has been unfortunate for Sam-A as he suffered a setback against British striker Jonathan Haggerty, who took his title by unanimous decision at ONE: For Honor. The veteran athlete wasted no time and quickly bounced back when he knocked out Daren Rolland with a powerful left-hook finish at ONE: Century last October.
“(Training) is going well,” Sam-A said.
“It has not been long since my last fight so my body is still well-conditioned. I have had multiple bouts in ONE Championship, so I am not nervous or scared.”
“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.”
Sam-A sees a formidable opponent in 24-year-old Junguang from Henan Province, China. Fighting out of the China Kodai Ken Club with a noteworthy record of 24 victories in 28 kickboxing matches, Wang is certainly no walk in the park for Sam-A.
“My opponent is fast and delivers hard punches,” Sam-A said.
“He is a good match for me and I have been training hard every day to defend and avoid his strikes. I have watched his matches and even though he is a good and strong opponent, I am also fast and more experienced.”
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 12/2/2019.