As two of the sport’s leading stars, both men have their sights set on Nong-O Gaiyanghadao’s ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Title – and they’ll need to bring their best to the Circle in order to move closer to that goal.
Defeat is not an option if #1-ranked Saemapetch and debuting Rittewada want to stay on track. Here are their keys to victory in this crucial battle.
#1 Saemapetch To Start Fast
Saemapetch has competed on the global stage six times, so he is used to the difference in pacing between ONE Super Series and traditional Muay Thai in Thailand.
ONE Super Series rewards action from the off, instead of promoting a feeling-out process, so the Fairtex man should be comfortable with putting immediate pressure on his debuting rival.
He hasn’t typically been a fast starter, but he could utilize his experience inside the Circle to go after his foe when the opening bell sounds.
Moreover, Rittewada is new to the 4-ounce gloves, which offers up another potential shock factor if the hard-hitting Pattaya resident can land some heavy leather early on.
Taking control early and maintaining the pressure should mean Rittewada will find it difficult to acclimatize, and this will work in the top-ranked contender’s favor.
#2 Rittewada’s Distance Control
Rittewada has sharp tools to help him find some breathing space and get into his rhythm at the beginning of the bout, including his push kicks and footwork.
If Saemapetch does try to come at the Petchyindee Academy star with force in the opening round, he can utilize his push kicks to keep his rival at bay.
Rittewada also has strong teeps from both sides that can enable him to maintain range and command the space between him and his opponent.
Additionally, the 25-year-old has solid footwork that stems from his time in amateur boxing. Unlike many of his peers, he does not just move straight forward. He circles and cuts angles, and that will help him stay out of Saemapetch’s headlights.
Combining these elements will offer Rittewada the chance to fight at his own tempo while he gets used to the different setting and pace of ONE Super Series.
#3 Saemapetch’s Body Shots
A particular target for Saemapetch’s shots will undoubtedly be Rittewada’s body, especially with his punches.
The Fairtex athlete is diligent with his work to the torso, as 42 percent of his significant strikes in ONE Super Series have landed there. What’s more, his body shots have bout-ending power.
Rittewada is elusive and has good head movement, but it will be much harder for him to get his body out of the way once Saemapetch moves into the pocket.
Continued strikes to the body could slow the Isan native down as the bout wears on, and it will offer opportunities for the #1 contender to open up to the head.
#4 Rittewada’s Concussive Counters
Rittewada has weapons to keep the bout at a distance while he gets a feel for his new surroundings, but he is also incredibly dangerous in close quarters.
Saemapetch will be looking for openings for his hands. But if he chases these too much, the Lumpinee Stadium Muay Thai World Champion will have concussive shots ready for him when he enters.
Rittewada’s left elbow is one of his options. He throws it with great timing and accuracy on the counter, combining his own power with his opponent’s forward momentum.
He also has a sharp right hook and lightning-fast left kick that he uncorks in a split second when his rivals step forward.
Saemapetch will have to factor these into account when he wants to attack, but if he doesn’t, he will end up on the receiving end of his opponent’s stinging counters time after time.