The 20-year-old Australian was excited to make his debut in The Home Of Martial Arts on Friday, 28 February, but he was shocked when he found out the challenge that was in front of him.
The stakes could not be higher when Ogden faces Sam-A Gaiyanghadao for the inaugural ONE Strawweight Muay Thai World Title in the co-main event at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, and he cannot wait to square off against one of his sport’s most decorated competitors.
“The ONE matchmakers said they had a massive opportunity for me and that it was a big task, but when they told me it was for the World Title against Sam-A, that was pretty crazy,” he explains.
“There wasn’t that long until the fight, but how do you say no? It’s such a big opportunity. You’ve just got to go in there, fight hard, and earn their respect.”
Despite his tender age, the man from the Gold Coast has already earned his stripes in the birthplace of “the art of eight limbs” with a ton of success on Bangkok’s stadium circuit.
He won respect from the locals and showed he has the tools in his locker to defeat the top Thais when he captured the WPMF Muay Thai World Title aged just 17. However, his first ONE match-up will be tougher than any test he has faced before.
Sam-A has an overwhelming experience advantage – he has a colossal 424 bouts to Ogden’s 42 – and has won the most prestigious accolades in Muay Thai, including the Lumpinee Stadium and ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Titles.
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Still, this does not faze the Boonchu Gym representative. He sees it as an honor to mix it up with the true elite of the sport and relishes the challenge.
“He’s a legend, and that means more to me than anything, being in the ring with a fighter like that,” Ogden offers.
“It’s always respect when you are fighting these guys that have done so much in the sport, but John [Wayne Parr, coach] tells me, ‘If you want to be a superstar, you have to beat the superstars.’ You can’t just fight nobodies and expect to be famous.”
As the freshly-minted ONE Strawweight Kickboxing World Champion, Sam-A is as strong as ever, but as much as Ogden admires his rival’s skill set, he does see a potential route to victory.
“He’s definitely strong. As a southpaw, his left kick is his most famous shot. He’s quick, he’s got good eyes, and good counters with a nice muay femur style,” he adds.
“But I think my age definitely helps. I will be fit, and I’m hungry. If I can get in there and stay on him, I think I can be sharper and quicker. I’m not taking him for granted – he is still competing at the top level – but I think my hands will be better. I also want to move around and mix it up, get in and out, and not stay right in front of him.”
The Queensland native is more motivated than ever, with the biggest bout and the biggest prize of his career at stake inside the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
There comes a time when the new generation breaks through and ushers in a new age, and Ogden believes this could be his moment to take over the strawweight division’s mantle.
“This would mean everything to me. It’s such a big thing in my career,” he says.
“I’ve seen the belt in real life and it’s pretty cool – I want it so bad! All respect to him but I’m coming to win this thing. I’m coming to fight hard, using my style and using my heart.
“We will have a good fight, but of course, a nice knockout would be the best outcome!”