“The Baby Shark” Petchdam Petchyindee Academy is ready to get back to work after a whirlwind few months.
The Thai superstar has hardly had a moment to rest since he joined ONE Super series, but following a few weeks of rest after he won the inaugural ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Championship, he is ready for his next challenge.
It was an incredible battle between two of the best young martial artists on the planet, as each man showed incredible speed, stamina, and technical ability as they battled back-and-forth.
What made it even more impressive was the fact that the contest almost came to an anticlimactic end after just 10 seconds when Mahmoudi landed an illegal elbow to his rival’s temple.
“I felt like he was trying to knock me out. It was a clean shot and nearly took me out,” Petchdam says.
“Even though we use elbows in Muay Thai, I wasn’t prepared for that, because it was a kickboxing match. I was pretty out of it after that, too.
“But I’m a fighter, and fighters fight, so I had to get up and keep going.”
“The Baby Shark” took a couple of moments to compose himself and recover, but then continued with the match as if nothing had happened and went toe-to-toe with the French-Algerian.
Unfortunately, the match was cut short for good when Mahmoudi absorbed an inadvertent low blow and could not continue. As a result, the judges had to render a technical decision to decide the winner.
“I didn’t intend to hit him with the low blow, I was going for a leg kick. He was moving around a lot, it was just an accident,” Petchdam says.
“At first, I was worried it would be declared a no contest. However, I was confident that if it went to the scorecards, I would win.”
He waited nervously for the verdict, and erupted with joy when his name was announced.
To celebrate, Petchdam hit the road – literally. Right after his historic bout, belt in hand, Petchdam laced up his sneakers and took off directly from the arena.
With his team from Petchyindee Academy by his side, he ran more than 12 miles to the King Rama V Monument in central Bangkok. It was a way for the young athlete to pay homage to the late monarch, who was known as the founder of modern Muay Thai, and his country.
In the days that followed the new World Champion finally got a chance to unwind as he returned to his roots among the rice fields.
Petchdam headed home to his village in Ubon Ratchathani province, where he ordained as a monk at a local temple.
“I ordained as a monk for my parents for 15 days. I’m really grateful to have gotten to do that for them,” he adds.
“I also got a lot of rest – nearly a month off. I usually just take seven days off, so this was a big deal.”
After an extended break to rest, recover and reflect, Petchdam is back in Bangkok and in the gym.
Though he does not have a date for his first World Title defense, he is busy helping his teammate Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy prepare for his main event rematch against Giorgio Petrosyan at ONE: MASTERS OF DESTINY on 12 July.
He has also got a head start on his work for his next kickboxing contest, in which he hopes to show some new dimensions to his game and start to build a long reign with the gold around his waist.
“I am training with Petchmorakot, and am here to help keep him motivated,” he says.
“I’ve been back at the gym for over a week now. I am really excited to be back – I want to be training. I’ve got a new motivation to train and compete.
“I am happy to be a World Champion with ONE. I really want to get back in there again and show what I am capable of.”