Tawanchai PK.Saenchai Vs. Jamal Yusupov: 4 Keys To World Title Victory At ONE Fight Night 7
The World Title contest between reigning ONE Featherweight Muay Thai World Champion Tawanchai PK.Saenchai and Turkish-Russian powerhouse Jamal Yusupov has all the makings of an unforgettable firefight.
And fittingly, this clash of elite strikers will go down at the iconic Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, as the co-main event of ONE Fight Night 7: Lineker vs. Andrade II on Prime Video this Friday, February 24.
At just 23 years old and riding a dominant three-fight winning streak, Tawanchai has established himself as a true superstar of the sport.
However, #2-ranked Yusupov is undefeated in ONE Championship and has emerged as a legitimate threat to claim the throne.
Here are the biggest keys to victory for each combatant in this five-round Muay Thai battle.
Tawanchai’s Punishing Push Kicks
The defending World Champoin possesses one of the most potent and dynamic striking arsenals on the planet, as evidenced by his three spectacular knockouts in four ONE Championship victories.
While Tawanchai is capable of ending the fight with his legs, hands, or even elbows, he sets up those concussive weapons with his seemingly unstoppable push kicks, which he throws with both his lead and rear legs.
The Thai superstar’s push kicks work in two ways. First, they cause genuine, rib-crunching damage to his opponents, often sending them flying across the Circle after eating a piston-like shot to the gut.
Second, and perhaps most important, Tawanchai’s push kicks set up his other strikes. By keeping his foes at a longer distance, he forces them into mistakes as they try to attack, leaving openings for his thunderous strikes.
Yusupov’s Feared Left Hand
The hard-charging challenger likely owns the division’s best boxing game, which is highlighted by his devastating left hand.
In each of his ONE Championship appearances, Yusupov has scored a knockdown with that powerful strike, and he’ll certainly look to do the same against Tawanchai.
More than just a strong punch, the Turkish-Russian’s left hand is supremely dangerous because he can throw it from a variety of angles and in a variety of situations.
Whether it’s following a jab with a classic one-two combination, a bombing overhand as he moves forward, or a straight counter as his opponent attacks, look for Yusupov to employ his single most dangerous weapon.
The Champ’s Endless Gas Tank
Tawanchai fought for five full rounds at a blistering pace in his most recent World Title-winning performance. That showing not only secured him 26 pounds of gold around his waist, but it also displayed his incredible endurance and cardio.
On Friday, the divisional king will square off with a man 16 years his elder, so he’d be wise to press the pace throughout, weaponizing his gas tank as the fight wears on.
Indeed, Yusupov showed signs of fatigue late in his last bout, a decision win over Jo Nattawut. Tawanchai, meanwhile, hardly ever seems to break a sweat until the championship rounds.
The 23-year-old should look to capitalize on his cardio advantage and keep his foot on the gas pedal throughout – particularly if the fight reaches the fourth and fifth frames.
The Challenger’s Crafty Defense
The man known as “Yeniceri” might be the hardest fighter to hit in the featherweight Muay Thai division – a skill that he’ll lean on against Tawanchai’s incredible knockout power.
Unlike many Thai competitors who rely on forearm blocks and checks to defend strikes, Yusupov instead utilizes unconventional upper-body movement, evasive movement, and all-around crafty maneuvers to keep his opponents missing.
The 39-year-old’s unique style of defense often frustrates his ultra-aggressive foes, forcing them into mistakes they wouldn’t otherwise make.
Against a proven knockout artist at ONE Fight Night 7, the challenger must make the featherweight Muay Thai king miss, and miss often. And if Tawanchai becomes frustrated, that will be Yusupov’s time to pounce with his own power-laden strikes.