5 Takeaways From ONE Friday Fights 46: Tawanchai Vs. Superbon
Although that epic ONE Featherweight Muay Thai World Title showdown would have been enough, 10 additional fights thrilled the audience at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium, including Thailand Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin.
The lasting impression from the blockbuster show left a lot to digest. Here are five big takeaways from the magnum opus that was ONE Friday Fights 46.
Tawanchai And Superbon Cap Off Historic Year For Muay Thai
With ONE Championship holding weekly events at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium and a number of Muay Thai athletes emerging as global superstars, 2023 might go down as the most pivotal 12 months in the history of the sport.
On Friday, Tawanchai and Superbon put a capstone on the incredible year with pristine technique that truly showcased the martial art.
It was brilliance personified by both men. They threw their trademark strikes with accuracy and power but showcased their impeccable defense and ability to adapt in real time. It was near perfection from start to finish.
The tightly contested tussle could have gone either way, but it was reigning ONE Featherweight Muay Thai World Champion Tawanchai who got the nod on two scorecards to win via majority decision.
As the new year arises on the horizon, a new standard has been set for the sport. And after a 2023 that featured some of the most exciting and sensational battles – including Rodtang vs. Superlek – the final fight was a perfect illustration of “the art of eight limbs.”
Prajanchai Completes His Road To Redemption
Lasiri was brimming with confidence for the World Title unification rematch. He smiled, shimmied, and danced as if there was nothing to worry about. However, the Thai superstar changed that mood with one crushing elbow.
As the Italian-Moroccan crumpled to the mat, holding his face, Prajanchai knew his work was complete. When the referee waved off the match, the 29-year-old’s emotions took over, and he celebrated to the roar of the crowd.
From the moment he lost the belt last year, Prajanchai dedicated himself to earning another shot. That opportunity could not have ended more emphatically.
Prajanchai did his dancing after the final bell and left Lumpinee as the new undisputed ONE Strawweight Muay Thai World Champion.
‘The Queen’ Earns Her Crown
ONE Friday Fights 46 marked the coronation of “The Queen” Phetjeeja Lukjaoporongtom.
The 21-year-old phenom sparkled like a diamond in 2023 as she blitzed through her competition in Muay Thai before venturing into unfamiliar territory on Friday. Not one to shy away from a challenge, the Thai striker took on Anissa Meksen for the ONE Interim Women’s Atomweight Kickboxing World Title.
Meksen has long been considered the pound-for-pound GOAT in women’s kickboxing. However, Phetjeeja never appeared fazed and took the action right to the French-Algerian icon from the opening bell.
The Team Mehdi Zatout representative put together clean combinations, and when she connected with her boxing, Meksen’s head rocked back each time. The decision was unanimous.
The five-round showcase was a breakout moment for Phetjeeja, who showed she is more than just raw power. She also has the technique to stand toe-to-toe with all-time greats and come out victorious.
Phetjeeja can now put atomweight kickboxing queen Janet Todd in her crosshairs for a World Title unification contest, while also eyeing an opportunity for two-sport glory in Muay Thai.
Carrillo Emerges As Top World Title Threat
Stepping up against a legend could wilt even the best of the best, but 25-year-old Nico Carrillo thrived under that pressure and showed his mettle against former ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Champion Nong-O Hama.
The Thai got off to a bone-rattling start with leg kicks that echoed off the walls of Lumpinee Boxing Stadium. At the end of the first round, Carrillo limped noticeably back to his corner.
Knowing his leg was compromised, the Scottish rising star threw everything he had into the second frame. After rocking Nong-O and seeing his foe was reeling, Carrillo stunned the crowd and left their hero on the canvas when he connected with a brilliant step-in elbow.
The career milestone elevated Carrillo into a prime position to target the gold, and he made sure to put ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Champion Jonathan Haggerty on notice in his post-match interview.
If he meets the English superstar in 2024, the United Kingdom will witness the biggest Muay Thai bout in its history.
Seksan Completes Perfect 2023
It did not come easy, but Seksan Or Kwanmuang finished his first full year in ONE with a perfect 8-0 mark.
To extend his streak, “The Man Who Yields To No One” had to survive a stiff three-round challenge from Australia’s River Daz. Although Daz went on the offensive from the opening bell, Seksan returned in kind to take the bout by split decision.
Across the last 12 months, the 34-year-old Thai took control of every opportunity and made a name for himself around the globe as one of the most exciting martial artists in any discipline.
And by producing a flawless promotional record against the most talented strikers on the planet, Seksan made a compelling case to be considered among the top Muay Thai athletes of 2023.