Saemapetch Fairtex will have a golden opportunity to earn some redemption on his way to another ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Championship bout.
That clash will also be a semifinal match-up in the ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai Tournament, with the eventual winner getting a crack at the division’s reigning titleholder, Nong-O Gaiyanghadao.
Saemapetch, an MTGP Welterweight Muay Thai World Champion, enjoyed a phenomenal start to life in The Home Of Martial Arts.
The Fairtex product made his promotional debut in July 2018, as he defeated Deividas “The Lithuanian Savage” Danyla in thrilling fashion. He then continued to impress on the global stage, beating future ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Champion Alaverdi “Babyface Killer” Ramazanov and Ognjen Topic.
Those victories earned Saemapetch a World Title match in November 2019 against Nong-O – his compatriot and longtime sports hero.
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Though he put up a worthwhile effort, Saemapetch was ultimately knocked out by his idol in the fourth round. The match would later be ranked at the #2 spot in the Top 10 ONE Super Series Bouts Of 2019 list.
“During the fight, we spent our full power to fight against each other like we were strangers. I focused on doing my best, and that was the result,” the 25-year-old Pattaya resident says.
“Because he has more experience than me, that fight ended with my TKO loss. But I was proud to fight with him.”
The Fairtex representative also gained some valuable wisdom in the match-up with his hero.
“I learned many things from him and adapted it to my style, such as attacking, punching style, heavy strikes, counterattacks, and tactics,” he says.
Saemapetch will try to implement that knowledge in his upcoming tilt, which will come against a compatriot and longtime rival in Rodlek.
These athletes have previously shared the ring three times, with the PK.Saenchai Muaythaigym representative leading the series 2-1.
“He is like a tank. He keeps attacking by kicks and knee strikes and going forward to keep the pressure on his opponents,” Saemapetch says of Rodlek.
“[His best weapons] would be his fists, elbows, and knees – especially knees because he has mastered knee techniques.”
Rodlek has also moved forward like a tank in ONE Championship.
Since making his promotional debut in June 2019, the Thai has defeated three consecutive opponents in Chris Shaw, Saemapetch’s teammate Andrew “Maddog Fairtex” Miller, and #4-ranked bantamweight kickboxing contender Liam “Hitman” Harrison.
Even though Rodlek has both momentum and the upper hand in their rivalry, Saemapetch has learned from his previous mistakes and is eager to even the score.
When he fought his countryman in the past, he was inexperienced and didn’t incorporate some crucial techniques – like his own knee strikes – into his game plans.
Come 14 August, he plans to use all eight of his limbs and the new tools he’s added to his repertoire.
“This time is different, and I also trained for additional skills as well,” the Fairtex standout says. “I have an ample amount of fighting experience, and I will use my new style to fight with him.”
Saemapetch knows the danger his adversary presents, and he also has a simple request before event day.
“Whatever happens, we are still a family as Thai people,” he says. “But in the boxing ring, we need to do our best.”