In his ONE Super Series debut, the 22-year-old scored a clear unanimous decision victory over Portugal’s Rui Botelho after a thrilling flyweight encounter.
Regarded by many as the best pound-for-pound Muay Thai stylist of his generation, Panpayak is the only man in history to win Muay Thai’s prestigious Sports Writer’s Award three years in a row – from 2013 to 2015.
Muay Thai World Champion Panpayak put on a SHOW in his ONE debut 🥊Download the ONE Super App now 👉 http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp
Posted by ONE Championship on Monday, December 10, 2018
“The Angel Warrior” showed why as looked at ease for much of his debut on the global stage for martial arts, and hit a decisive head kick, which knocked his opponent down in the second round.
That put the bow on a unanimous decision for Panpayak, but he admits he was not satisfied with his performance.
“I was concerned about the small gloves and didn’t fight to my full potential,” he says.
“I was focused on the victory and didn’t want to engage in a risky fight.
“I used my long techniques and fought to protect myself. I was really focused on winning the fight and didn’t want to show off too much.”
Panpayak instead utilized the phenomenal ring IQ he has accumulated over a decade of professional competition. The Thai used his signature left kick to both neutralize and damage his heavy-handed opponent.
The only cause for concern came when “The Angel Warrior” hit the canvas in the third round off a Botelho left hand, but the referee ruled it as a slip.
That was the right call, according to Panpayak.
“He threw the punch when I was off balance. It was just a slip. The punch did not fully connect,” he explains.
That moment had little effect on the young debutant, who maintained his composure to see out the remainder of the round and cruise to his 244th career win.
His first appearance in The Home of Martial Arts also doubled as his first time traveling abroad to compete. It was a fascinating new experience for the young Thai, and one that was made easier by the support he received from the fans in the Axiata Arena.
“There were people at the event that had come to train at Jitmuangnon before,” he says.
“They were from Malaysia and had come to cheer me on. It was a really cool experience.”
Although Panpayak was not 100 percent happy with his performance, he believes he can make up for it in his next contest.
Following the bout with Botelho, Panpayak took some well-earned rest and treated his family to a trip to the picturesque mountains of Phetchabun Province in Northern Thailand.
This week, however, Panpayak will return to training at his home, Jitmuangnon Gym in Nonthaburi, just north of Bangkok, in anticipation for his next assignment in the world’s largest martial arts organization.
“I’m excited to return to ONE Championship,” he says.
“I want to improve my skills against foreigners and to be accepted by the international martial arts community.”
“I’m still really new to the promotion and am happy to fight anyone in my weight class.”
Despite his incredible record and status as a two-division Muay Thai world champion in both the Lumpinee Stadium and Rajadamnern Stadium, Panpayak’s match at ONE: DESTINY OF CHAMPIONS was his first outside Thailand.
He says he is grateful for the opportunity to compete on such a huge platform, and he is looking forward to traveling across Asia in search of a ONE Super Series World Title in 2019.
“It is really exciting to compete abroad. I want to travel as many other countries as I can,” he says.
“I am grateful to ONE Championship for allowing me to see the world.