‘A Big Inspiration’ – Smilla Sundell Says Stamp Fairtex Motivated Her To Become A World Champion
Smilla “The Hurricane” Sundell gets to work alongside one of her biggest idols every day at Fairtex Training Center in Pattaya, Thailand.
The reigning ONE Women’s Strawweight Muay Thai World Champion was inspired to chase her dreams in the sport by Stamp Fairtex, and the superstar athletes are now both preparing for high-profile World Title bouts at ONE Fight Night 14 on Prime Video on Friday, September 29.
Stamp will headline the U.S. primetime card against Ham Seo Hee in a battle for the ONE Interim Women’s Atomweight MMA World Title, while Sundell will defend her strawweight Muay Thai gold for the first time against atomweight Muay Thai queen Allycia Hellen Rodrigues.
This scenario was nothing more than a pipe dream when Sundell first watched Stamp on television back in June 2019. But seeing the former ONE Women’s Atomweight Kickboxing and Muay Thai World Champion in action was the catalyst for the teen phenom to chase greatness.
“The Hurricane” recalled:
“When I saw Stamp defending the [ONE Women’s Atomweight Muay Thai World Title] against Alma Juniku, we were eating dinner and watching that fight. Just seeing that fight, I was like, ‘Wow, I want to do that too.’
“I was training in Ko Samui, an island down south [in Thailand]. I trained there for three years, but I lacked opponents and had to move.
“Stamp has been a big inspiration for me all these years. That’s why I moved to Fairtex, because I saw that she made it, and I wanted to do the same.”
Sundell would relocate from Ko Samui to Pattaya in 2019 at just the age of 14, taking a chance in hopes of achieving great success in “the art of eight limbs.”
Stamp’s status as a two-sport World Champion was a major factor in that decision, and now, “The Hurricane” has developed a personal relationship with one of her sporting heroes.
Along with the rest of the athletes and coaching staff at Fairtex, the Thai sensation welcomed Sundell with open arms – and the 18-year-old Swede says she feels at home as part of the legendary team:
“We have a friendly relationship. We joke around in the gym, and we see each other outside, but after training, we are all so dead. So the main thing we do is go and eat together with some of our friends.”
Sundell Enjoys Helping Rising Stars, Just Like Stamp Did For Her
As well as being an early inspiration for Smilla Sundell from a distance, Stamp Fairtex helped the teenage prodigy improve inside the gym when she moved to train in Pattaya.
It was enough just to see Stamp working diligently every day, but the three-sport megastar also gives her younger teammate advice when they train together.
“Seeing [Stamp] kick pads every day and train hard makes me want to train hard too. Sometimes she gives me advice. When we do boxing together, she tells me stuff.
“She’s always told me to use my jabs and long knees. She tells me that I have to make use of my long legs. Everyone tells me that, and I’ve always done it too.”
Just as Stamp influenced Sundell, the latter will be doing the same for the next generation of young women’s fighters who see her in action on the global stage.
The Swede has been fortunate to receive firsthand guidance from somebody she looks up to, so she would willingly play that role for young upstarts now that she is the ONE Women’s Strawweight Muay Thai World Champion.
“Yes, for sure [I’m open to being a mentor to others]. I like it when people ask me for advice. First, I get a bit shy about it, but I think it’s very cool that they want advice from me.
“Anyone can talk to me, and I will gladly answer back to the best of my abilities. If you want to know something, just ask me and I will try to help you.”