After a disastrous showing in his ONE Championship debut last year, Petchtanong Petchfergus is determined to erase that memory and prove he’s worthy of a ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Title opportunity.
On Friday, 24 September, the Thai veteran has a chance to do just that.
The legendary striker will collide with #4-ranked bantamweight kickboxing contender “Muay Thai Boy” Zhang Chenglong at ONE: REVOLUTION, and he knows a victory in Singapore is crucial to achieving his goal.
“This fight with Zhang Chenglong is, for me, a stepping stone that will get me to get closer to a World Title,” #5-ranked Petchtanong says. “I really want to show everyone that I am a true contender.”
The 35-year-old Petchtanong is already a very accomplished competitor, having compiled an astonishing 356-56-1 professional record in the striking arts.
Moreover, he’s won 16 combined titles in Muay Thai and kickboxing – including a pair of WMC and WBC Muay Thai World Championships.
With that in mind, expectations were extremely high when the Thai made his ONE debut against compatriot Capitan Petchyindee Academy in September 2020.
Things did not go his way, however, as Capitan batted down his opening jab, bounced forward with a jab-cross combo, and dropped Petchtanong like a pile of bricks.
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That six-second knockout was the fastest in ONE Super Series kickboxing and Muay Thai history. In the process, Petchtanong’s hype train was totally derailed, and he found himself on the wrong side of a highlight reel.
It was a tough pill for the Thai legend to swallow, but the experience has also helped him grow.
“Everything happened so fast back then. I knew that I was quite careless and I had to pay for it. That was my great lesson,” Petchtanong says.
“Since that day, I’ve been trying to do everything to correct my flaws and improve my skills with a strong will to get redemption against Capitan.”
Following the historic knockout, Capitan defeated Alaverdi “Babyface Killer” Ramazanov in January to become the new ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Champion – and Petchtanong can’t think of a better way to earn payback than by defeating his compatriot for the gold.
The first step toward that potential showdown will take place at the Singapore Indoor Stadium next week, as the veteran will meet “Muay Thai Boy” in a three-round bantamweight kickboxing encounter.
But just like Petchtanong, Zhang has his back against the wall.
After joining the promotion, the Chinese standout earned three straight victories and the right to challenge Ramazanov for the inaugural ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Title in December 2019. Zhang ultimately fell short in that fight, however, and then dropped a pair of decisions in his next two contests.
Petchtanong has paid a lot of attention to Zhang’s journey. He believes “Muay Thai Boy” possesses immense talent, particularly in his hands, but he also thinks his own arsenal and veteran expertise will be too much for the 23-year-old Shenzhen native to handle.
“I’ve seen him fight in ONE and studied him from videos. He is a skilled rising star in kickboxing. His punch is quite impressive,” the Thai says.
“But as for other points, I don’t think he stands out or differentiates himself from other fighters in the division. I think he still lacks in tactics and techniques.
“My skills and experiences are definitely superior to him, and I already have a game plan to neutralize his punches.”
Petchtanong won’t discuss his strategy any further, but he wants to make a statement and remind fans why he’s a legendary figure in the striking arts.
And when it comes to his mindset, the Thai won’t even consider losing as a possibility. His eyes are firmly on the prize, and he’s planning to take a massive leap toward it.
“For me, Zhang Chenglong is just a pathway to my destination because right now, I’m only aiming for a rematch with Captain,” Petchtanong says.
“And in this fight, I will show my true strength and potential to make everyone believe that I’m suitable to be a real challenger for Captain.
“I want to tell Zhang that he should bring all his guts to the cage and be well-prepared. I’ll definitely beat him.”