‘Happy, Sad, Proud’ – Mixed Emotions For Jackie Buntan As She Shares Card With Janet Todd For Final Time

Jackie Buntan Diandra Martin ONE Fight Night 10 16

Jackie Buntan has been fortunate to have the perfect role model during her journey to the top of the Muay Thai world.  

When the 26-year-old phenom returns against Martine Michieletto at ONE Fight Night 20 on Prime Video this Friday, she’ll do it on the supporting card of her teammate Janet Todd’s main event retirement fight against “The Queen” Phetjeeja.  

The 38-year-old Todd has been there for her younger teammate every step of the way at their Boxing Works gym in Southern California.

But whether she wins or loses this ONE Women’s Atomweight Kickboxing World Title unification clash, “JT” will leave her gloves on the canvas at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok and officially walk away from her competitive career. 

It’s a huge moment for Todd, but it will also have a massive impact on Buntan as she prepares for a new era without her senior comrade on the front lines.

Buntan said of the atomweight kickboxing queen: 

“I started this so young. I was 11. Going into high school, I took a little break just because I wanted to have a social life. In my senior year when I was just about to graduate, I was still training, but not competing. Meanwhile, I’m training with Janet, and she’s fighting regularly, winning, getting belts, just having crazy success. 

“That really inspired me. If someone that I train with, someone that I know closely, is able to do all of this, then I’m able to do the same. It’s like the saying, you can’t be what you can’t see. She really sparked that drive and motivation for me to see myself taking this to a higher level. 

“Going into every fight, it’s almost like I’ve had a secret weapon being able to train with one of the best, if not the best, strikers in the world.” 

Although Todd will still be there for support, there will certainly be a dynamic shift following her retirement.

However, rather than thinking about it solely as a loss, Buntan is thankful for the opportunities her close friend has provided and the path she’s opened up for the next generation to follow. 

The Filipino-American said:

“Janet retiring is a bunch of feelings. It’s emotional, happy, sad, proud. Everything really. It’s almost as if it’s the end of an era, but not really, because she’s solidified her name in the world of Muay Thai, especially for the females and for the U.S. athletes. And that won’t be forgotten. 

 “So, it’s a bittersweet moment, but it’s a moment that comes for everyone.” 

Buntan Confident Of Victory Over ‘Well-Rounded’ Michieletto 

Jackie Buntan would love to set the stage for a Boxing Works clean sweep when she faces Martine Michieletto at ONE Fight Night 20 on March 8.

The pair will clash in a 130-pound catchweight bout that could determine the next challenger for Muay Thai gold in the women’s strawweight division. 

Buntan knows it won’t be a gimme against the four-time ISKA Kickboxing World Champion and expects a tough battle when they come to blows in Thailand:

“She has a kickboxing background. You can see it in her style as well. Obviously, it stood out to me that she’s a lefty. She looks good with the hands. She has quick, snappy punches, and she can clinch as well. So I think she’s well-rounded.” 

Still, Buntan believes she is well-equipped to deal with anything her opponent has to offer.

With coach Bryan Popejoy and teammate Janet Todd by her side, the rising star feels fully prepared to get her hand raised on Friday.

They’ve already taken notes of areas to exploit, and Buntan can’t wait to put all of the research into practice. 

She added: 

“The weaknesses I see are more foundational type of things, being upright and her stance and her footing, stuff like that. 

“I’m very confident in my smarts, my technicality, my power, and my adaptability. 

“But all of this always goes back to Bryan as well with his game plans and with Janet’s past kickboxing fights. So I think it all comes together with them two in my corner.” 

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