Features

Jo Nattawut Targets A Muay Thai Legend Next

August 02, 2018

Two-time Lion Fight World Champion “Smokin” Jo Nattawut found out rather quickly the difference between punching in ten-ounce gloves and much smaller ones.

In mid-July, the 28-year-old Thai strapped on four-ounce gloves for the first time, when he made his second appearance in ONE Super Series.

He collided with France’s Yohann Fairtex Drai in a Muay Thai featherweight bout at ONE: PURSUIT OF POWER in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and earned a first-round KO.

Evidently, the four-ounce gloves played a crucial role in his strategy.

“They make your punches really hard, and it feels so fast,” Nattawut explains.

“I knew if I landed first, then I could make something happen. The plan was just to move forward.

“When I fight, I always go forward first. Last time, when I fought Giorgio Petrosyan, I started slowly to see what he had. So this time, when I landed, I saw that Drai got hurt, and I knew I could not let him rest. I had to keep going until he was stopped.”

Nattawut, who trains out of Bangkok Boxing in Atlanta, Georgia, lit the Frenchman up with his phenomenal combinations.

The Thai knocked down Drai nearly two minutes into the contest, and then he knocked him out with a series of left hooks and right crosses. He earned the victory with just one second remaining in the opening stanza.

“I knew he was gone already,” he says about the initial knockdown.

“I caught him really cleanly. He got back up, and I knew he was not 100 percent there, so I knew I had a good chance to put him down.”

Now, three weeks removed from his highlight-reel finish, Nattawut is excited to see what ONE Championship has in store for him next.

To hear him say it, he is open to anything — including more kickboxing bouts.

While he fell to Petrosyan under the kickboxing rule set in his promotional debut back in April, the Thai is motivated to compete under both rule sets, and challenge himself against the world’s best.

“I’d like to go for both (kickboxing and Muay Thai). It is good for me,” Nattawut assures. “Not being able to clinch in kickboxing can be good for me, too, so I would like to do both.”

However, in a perfect world, the “Smokin’” athlete would like to make his promotional return at ONE: KINGDOM OF HEROES on Saturday, 6 October, in Bangkok, Thailand.

The card will feature boxing superstar Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, who is already scheduled to defend the WBC Super Flyweight World Championship in the main event.

Nattawut would love nothing more than to appear on that show, and square off against a Muay Thai icon for one of the inaugural ONE Super Series World Titles.

“ONE Championship has a big event coming up in Bangkok this October,” he begins.

“If you ask me, Yodsanklai [IWE Fairtex] is a champion under Muay Thai rules. If no one deserves to fight him, then I would like to face him for a belt. I want to get a title shot in this promotion, too.”

Following nearly a year-long retirement, Yodsanklai — a two-time Lion Fight World Champion — decided to put the gloves back on.

The modern-day legend made his ONE Super Series premiere in May, where he defeated Chris Ngimbi in a catch weight kickboxing bout via unanimous decision.

Nattawut loves the idea of challenging the icon, especially under Muay Thai rules.

Although that is his dream match-up, his ultimate goals are to hold a pair of ONE Super Series World Titles in both the Muay Thai and kickboxing disciplines.

“When I competed in Lion Fights, I won two titles, and now that I compete in ONE Championship, I want the same thing,” he explains. “If I keep working hard like this, it is possible.”