Petchdam “The Baby Shark” Petchyindee Academy knows he is preparing for the biggest match of his professional career.
On Friday, 31 July, Petchdam will challenge his longtime foe and compatriot, ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon, for the gold in the main event of ONE: NO SURRENDER in Bangkok, Thailand.
“I think Rodtang is a superstar. I am so happy that I have a chance to fight with this superstar,” the 22-year-old says.
“We fought each other two times before, so I know him well. He is good, and he doesn’t have any weak points, plus he has very strong punches. Since we are fighting with 4-ounce gloves on, I have to be careful.”
These two Muay Thai warriors first went toe-to-toe at a Petchyindee Promotions event inside Rajadamnern Stadium back in May 2017. After five rounds of action, Petchdam emerged victorious.
“I won by decision with my kicks,” he says.
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However, when the two met for a rematch at a Jitmuangnon Promotions event inside the same historic venue in February 2018, the result was very different.
“I got hit so hard by Rodtang and showed my weakness,” Petchdam confesses. “The referee didn’t [administer a] count, but I could not walk straight and lost to him by decision.”
Since that bout, both athletes have joined ONE Championship, where they’ve taken diverging paths to World Title gold.
Petchdam knocked out his first three opponents in highlight-reel fashion before switching sports and defeating Elias “The Sniper” Mahmoudi for the inaugural ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Championship in May 2019.
Although he dropped the belt in his first title defense three months later, “The Baby Shark” returned to his Muay Thai comfort zone and beat Kohei “Momotaro” Kodera this past January.
Meanwhile, Rodtang has been unstoppable since joining The Home Of Martial Arts.
Following a successful promotional debut in September 2018, he rattled off three additional victories on the global stage to earn a shot at then-reigning ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion Jonathan “The General” Haggerty.
“The Iron Man” narrowly defeated the Englishman to begin his World Title reign in August 2019, and he’s since made two successful defenses, beating Brazilian heavy-hitter Walter Goncalves last October and convincingly finishing Haggerty in their rematch this January.
As Petchdam now readies for his shot at Rodtang’s belt, he’s been sharpening some of his strongest weapons, including the powerful left roundhouse kick that has knocked out stars like Josh “Timebomb” Tonna and Kenny “The Pitbull” Tse.
At the same time, “The Baby Shark” has been working with a pair of coaches to ensure his skill set and techniques are well-rounded.
“My trainer ‘Boonberkfah’ trains me hard about protecting myself and footwork, so I can avoid Rodtang’s hits or get hit as little as possible,” Petchdam says. “My other trainer, Chatchai Sasakun, trains me specifically on my boxing.”
Between his elite skills, his past experiences with “The Iron Man,” and the instructions from his coaches, Petchdam believes he has all the tools needed to defeat his old rival in their trilogy bout and earn the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Championship.
“I am confident that I can win this fight, but not by walking forward and backward [like Rodtang would want],” he says. “The point is, I will not play his game. That is for sure.”