‘I’ve Come Back To Be The Same Legend’ – Sam-A Motivated To Reclaim World Title Gold In Return From Retirement
Following a brief retirement, Muay Thai icon Sam-A Gaiyanghadao is determined to recapture his past form inside the ring – beginning at ONE Friday Fights 9 on March 17.
The 39-year-old Thai struggled with injuries as he juggled coaching at Evolve MMA in Singapore and competing in ONE.
But with his ailments now in the rearview mirror, Sam-A wants to prove he can still compete with the planet’s top strikers when he returns against Irish rising star Ryan Sheehan in a strawweight Muay Thai clash in Bangkok.
Returning to the iconic Lumpinee Boxing Stadium – the place where he made his name in “the art of eight limbs” – the former two-weight, two-sport ONE World Champion feels refreshed and ready.
Sam-A said of his motivation to compete once again :
“When I saw my brother-in-law, Superlek [Kiatmoo9], perform in ONE, I felt some energy in me that urged me to come back to fight. After I retired, I have always been following my friends in ONE. And I just felt like maybe I should come back to fight again.
“I am delighted and honored to return to fight in ONE Championship again. And also to come back to fight at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium after eight years. I built my reputation and became a World Champion at Lumpinee.”
After taking inspiration from his friends and compatriots, Sam-A reached out to ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong, who served as another catalyst for this return to competition.
The veteran striker revealed that he was spurred on by Sityodtong and felt valued, cementing his decision to step back into the ring this Friday.
“Chatri told me that he wanted to see me in the ring again so that I can earn a lot to take care of my family. He wishes my family to live well even after I have retired. He cares about me, too. What he said touched me.
“I’m getting older. I do not have much time left in this career. But now, I have a second chance. I want to offer my family a good life with no struggles. So, while I’m still able to fight, I will fight. My family is my number one driving force for me to come back.”
Sam-A Breaks Down Opponent Ryan Sheehan
While Sam-A Gaiyanghadao is inspired by his family, he’s also motivated to reach great heights once again in ONE Championship.
The former ONE Strawweight Muay Thai and Kickboxing World Champion knows that he’ll have to go through the top contenders to get there, and that starts with a tough battle against skilled Irishman Ryan Sheehan this week.
He said of the 25-year-old WBC Muay Thai World Champion:
“I’ve watched Ryan Sheehan’s fights on YouTube. He fought with many elite Thai fighters. This man is something. He is an all-around fighter. His strengths are his punches, kicks, and swift attacks.
“But I think I have more attacking power. And of course, I have more Muay Thai experience than him.”
Along with his personal goals, Sam-A also has broader ambitions when it comes to his return to action.
Above all, the longtime star wants to inspire others to keep chasing their dreams – no matter their age or situation.
“I’m back. I intend to do my best and become a champion again. Even though I’m nearly 40, I will show everybody that age is just a number. If you have great preparation and take care of your body well enough, you can still go on and on.
“I’ve come back to be the same legend Sam-A. I will give it my all in this fight to claim victory.”