On Friday, 6 September, the WPMF Muay Thai World Champion will face “Left Meteorite” Kulabdam Sor. Jor. Piek Uthai at the Phu Tho Indoor Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
This is a clash that guarantees fast-paced action as the 31-year-old Frenchman is keen to make his mark against the Thai superstar.
“You have only one chance to give a good first impression,” says Sacko.
“Signing for ONE Championship is like a [reward] for all my hard work, and the sign of a new journey that starts now.”
“The Panther” is one of Muay Thai’s elite athletes, and he can count some all-time greats on his list of wins, including ONE stars Rafi Bohic and Liam “The Hitman” Harrison, as well as the most decorated competitor in the sport’s history, Petchboonchu FA Group.
He boasts an incredible 72-5-1 record, and sees his new platform in The Home Of Martial Arts as the perfect opportunity to cement his place among the best strikers on the planet.
There are few better athletes to prove himself against than his world-class adversary. Sacko has the utmost respect for Kulabdam – a two-division Lumpinee Stadium Muay Thai World Champion and winner of the coveted Sports Writers Association Of Thailand Fighter Of The Year award – and he is exactly the kind of opponent he wants to face on the global stage.
“The first thing I said when my manager and coach told me [about this match] was, ‘Let’s do this!’” the Teambilos Muaythai Gym representative reveals.
“Combat sports and martial arts are about challenges. You can’t hide from those challenges and pretend to be a champ, or let people think you are one. You have to take those challenges and show what you have inside your stomach – like we say in France, ‘Show your guts.’”
“Left Meteorite” earned his moniker thanks to his powerful boxing – particularly his crushing left hand – that tore through the Bangkok stadium circuit in his homeland.
Sacko is well aware of the threat posed by the Sor. Jor. Piek Uthai representative, but he is confident in his ability to neutralize it thanks to his history of wins against many other big hitters in his career.
“His main strength is his punch, but I have faced many fighters with this style. At this level, you can’t avoid it,” says “The Panther.”
“With experience and work, I learned how to face them. Sometimes, it also helps [when] some fighters only focus on [their power] and forget so many aspects of the fight. I’m not afraid of getting close to him. I worked all my life until now to read these fighters, adapt, and impose my style. It’s like a chess game.
“We have two different styles, and those fights are the most interesting. You can never know who will impose his style, and what’s fun and exciting is that sometimes the one who imposes his style gets caught in his own game.”
The Parisian also has a slew of knockouts on his résumé that any opponent must take seriously – even an aggressive power-puncher like Kulabdam.
Both men have the skill and physicality to finish in devastating fashion, and this means fans can expect an all-action battle in Vietnam, with the potential for a highlight-reel finish at any moment.
However, Sacko is reluctant to make any bold predictions about a knockout, but he does promise to lay everything on the line to claim the victory.
“I don’t expect a knockout or a victory by decision, I don’t think about that,” he reveals.
“In a perfect world, we will give the fans a true war, and I will win. Sometimes Earth seems to be a perfect world when the stars are aligned!
“I will bring my heart, that’s the main thing, then everything else follows.”
Ho Chi Minh City | 6 September | 7PM | ONE: IMMORTAL TRIUMPH | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/oneimmortal19