After nearly two decades of hard work, English Muay Thai prodigy Amber “AK 47” Kitchen is set to make her debut on the global stage for martial arts and she promises not to disappoint in her first ONE Championship appearance.
This coming Friday, 6 September, the Cornwall native will step into the ring to face WMF Muay Thai World Champion Viktoria Lipianska at ONE: IMMORTAL TRIUMPH, which takes place in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Raised in a famous martial arts family, fans and industry insiders have always expected a lot from the rising star, and Kitchen now has an enormous platform to showcase her skills to the world.
“I can’t wait. I just hope I can put on a really good performance for everybody on the night,” she says.
“I don’t know if there’s anything that can prepare you for a show of this size — it is so much bigger than anything I have fought on before. But once I’m in the ring, I won’t be thinking about anything else — just my performance.”
Kitchen, a WBC England Muay Thai Champion, is no stranger to taking on top opposition in unfamiliar surroundings. In fact, she thrives on difficult challenges.
The 20-year-old will have her hands full with Lipianska at the Phu Tho Indoor Stadium, but that is what keeps her motivated through the tough training sessions.
“We’ve both been in this sport for a while now, and it’s a very even fight. Skill-wise, I think we’re at the same level,” the Cornwall resident offers.
“I get more drive from having these kinds of big opportunities, knowing I’ve got to go out and give my best. I think I work better under pressure anyway.”
The Brit has looked at the 22-year-old Slovakian’s skill set to formulate a game plan with her father and coach Nathan Kitchen, and she predicts an interesting clash of styles.
Both athletes have a world-class Muay Thai arsenal, but it could be speed versus strength when they meet in the middle.
“She looks really tough and strong, especially her boxing and her elbows, and she’s quite aggressive,” the Touchgloves Gym representative explains.
“I think my speed is my biggest advantage. She’s good at timing her strikes and goes for power, but I’m probably a lot faster than her.
“She’s got a lot more experience than me, so that’s a big advantage for her, but it’s not anything new to me. I think it’s a very good match.”
“AK 47” also brought a secret weapon into her training camp to help overcome the experience differential.
With one of her main coaches and sparring partners, Vicky Church, out of the gym on maternity leave, her mother — 14-time Muay Thai World Champion Julie Kitchen — has jumped back into the ring to help her daughter prepare for the biggest bout of her life.
“My dad has helped me with my pad work, fitness, and speed, and my mum has come in to help me with my sparring,” she says.
The young Kitchen has left no stone unturned, and her family has rallied to help get her in the best shape possible for the ONE Super Series Muay Thai women’s strawweight bout at the promotion’s inaugural Vietnam event.
Kitchen’s objective is to entertain the thousands in attendance, and the millions tuning in around the globe, but she also knows victory will put her on the right track to achieving her lofty ambitions in The Home Of Martial Arts.
“The main goal is [to win] the ONE Championship belt. That would be like a dream come true,” she says.
“On the night, I think my speed will put a lot of pressure on her, but it would be nice to both be Thai-style, trade shots, and use our skills to put on the best fight we can.”
Ho Chi Minh City | 6 September | 5.30PM | ONE: IMMORTAL TRIUMPH | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/oneimmortal19