At the end of Phai Ngoen Alley near Bangkok’s upscale Sathorn district is PK.Saenchai Muaythaigym, which is home to some of ONE Championship’s top strikers including ONE Strawweight Muay Thai World Champion Prajanchai, #2-ranked bantamweight Muay Thai contender Rodlek, and #4-ranked Tawanchai.
That night, he squares off against #5-ranked Alaverdi “Babyface Killer” Ramazanov in a ONE Super Series Muay Thai bantamweight showdown, which will serve as the co-main event.
“I’ve been training [hard],” Pongsiri says. “My body is almost perfect.”
Against Ramazanov, he’ll need to be.
The Russian is a former ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Champion who is fighting for the first time since losing his strap this past January.
Ramazanov owns a 61-6 professional record and holds wins over the likes of Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy – who coincidentally defeated Pongsiri in February 2020 to capture the inaugural ONE Featherweight Muay Thai World Title.
But that was a different time, and a different weight class, for Pongsiri.
Since then, the PK.Saenchai Muaythaigym standout dropped to bantamweight – a more fitting division for the stocky brawler – and shook up the weight class with a thrilling performance against Sean “Clubber” Clancy.
“That fight was exciting and impressive. It wasn’t easy at all, but it wasn’t too hard either,” says Pongsiri, who holds an astonishing 154-34-11 career record.
“Fighting in [the bantamweight division], I consider this a good weight class. It’s a good fit for me. The opponents aren’t much bigger than me.”
When Pongsiri first entered ONE, he competed at featherweight, which presented many challenges for the Thai, who often found himself the shorter man inside the Circle.
At the heavier weight class, he was always up against taller and more powerful opponents. And with a blindingly wild style like his, it was too hard to defend against the bigger men’s weapons in the pocket, a place where he likes to nestle into in the thick of the battle.
Now at bantamweight, Pongsiri can play a more strategic game in addition to his usual aggressive approach.
With that said, the Thai has kept a close eye on Ramazanov, another tall and powerful foe with the strength to dominate the action. But this time, Pongsiri believes he has it figured out.
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“I watched his latest fight where he got knocked out by Capitan. Then, I found that I should do something to his lower body – walk forward fast and [throw a] low kick,” the 31-year-old Thai says.
“I will gas him out and damage him as much as possible, and I will get up close on him quickly.”
Dangerous words from a man who fights like he’s been doused with water after midnight. But that is Pongsiri’s game, as he admits when rattling off his greatest attributes.
“My weapons are my strength, endurance, craziness, and aggressiveness. These are my advantages for this fight. These things will bring me to victory. I will not give up,” he says.
“It would be great if I defeat him by knockout. I hope the match will be exciting and entertaining as well.”
Coming from a gym that produces some of the most entertaining athletes in ONE, whether they be poised like Prajanchai, tacticians like Tawanchai, or ruffians like Rodlek, fans can expect Pongsiri to put on a showstopping performance once again when he steps inside the Circle.
However, entertaining ONE Super Series fans is only half the mission for Pongsiri. The other half is eliminating Ramazanov from the bantamweight Muay Thai top five, so he can squeeze into the mix.
“My goal is the same as other fighters – wanting to be a champion. But I have to climb up the rankings. If my performance is good, I would like to earn a shot at the title,” the Thai says.
“But I must win this fight to get a step closer to my goal of going from being the challenger to being the champion.”