‘A Chance To Redeem Myself’ – Thongpoon Ignoring His Critics Ahead Of Pivotal Showdown With Timur Chuikov

Ellis Badr Barboza Thongpoon PK Saenchai ONE Fight Night 17 63

Thai fan favorite Thongpoon PK Saenchai is determined to prove he belongs on the biggest stage of martial arts.

This Friday in U.S. primetime, the 26-year-old scrapper will take on promotional newcomer Timur Chuikov in a pivotal strawweight Muay Thai clash that kicks off ONE Fight Night 19: Haggerty vs. Lobo on Prime Video.

Set to air live to more than 190 countries around the world, that bout in Bangkok will be Thongpoon’s shot to bounce back. 

After reeling off a trio of impressive victories in the ONE Friday Fights event series, the explosive striker earned a coveted six-figure contract with ONE and a spot on the organization’s main roster.

However, he stumbled in his first U.S. primetime appearance at ONE Fight Night 17, suffering a stunning loss to Ellis Badr Barboza. Even though that fight was subsequently ruled a no contest when Barboza tested positive for a banned substance, Thongpoon is determined to erase memories of his performance.

He told onefc.com:

“This will be a chance to redeem myself. I am confident that this time I will succeed. I’m sure I’ll perform better than last time. I try to think like my back is against the wall.

“All I can do is fight like my life depends on it.”

Known for his brash and flamboyant personality, Thongpoon’s first loss in ONE was accompanied by plenty of criticism, as some fans were quick to label him as all-talk and no-show.

The PK Saenchai product won’t let those comments get to him, though.

Instead, he’s listening to those who know him best and choosing to recognize the negativity as a good thing – it means people are paying attention:

“After that fight, I received quite a lot of negative criticism. But I try to ignore these negative comments. I try to focus on the comments of the people who love me. 

“The best way to shut the critics’ mouths is to show them I can really do it. It’s nice to have people criticize me because it’s a wake-up call for me to work harder. If there is no negative criticism, I won’t know my own flaws and have no opportunity to develop myself.”

Given his last outing, Thongpoon is feeling both the pressure to get back on track and grateful for another big chance on the global stage.

He said:

“[Making a strong impression is] very important to me. I feel like I’ve been given the opportunity to come back and perform for the fans around the world again. I’m sure this time I’ll give them a good performance.”

Thongpoon Targets Early Knockout Of Chuikov

Thongpoon PK Saenchai’s sophomore appearance in U.S. primetime will come against 21-year-old rising star Timur Chuikov.

The Thai says he’s done his homework on the hard-charging Kyrgyzstani athlete, and while he recognizes his foe’s massive punching power, he also sees a lack of conditioning and overall striking.

He said of Chuikov:

“His strength is his boxing. His weaknesses are his fragile body, and he comes from boxing, so he may not have much Muay Thai experience.”

For his part, Thongpoon has done plenty to earn his reputation as one of the sport’s hardest punchers, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t skilled in all aspects of Muay Thai.

He explained:

“For those who think I’m only good at punches, I want to say that I am an all-rounder in Muay Thai. I can use all Muay Thai weapons, but when I fight ONE, I focus on using my fists as my main weapon, because it is most dangerous in small [4-ounce] gloves.”

Ultimately, Thongpoon believes he can defeat Chuikov the same way he began his ONE tenure – with a quick first-round knockout.

Training alongside reigning ONE Strawweight Muay Thai World Champion Prajanchai PK Saenchai, the Thai will enter Friday’s contest loaded with confidence:

“I expect to knock him out in the first round because I think now my weapons are faster and more deadly after being sharpened by Prajanchai and my coach.”

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