This Friday, 6 September at the Phu Tho Indoor Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City, the 24-year-old from Pattaya, Thailand will take on Azize “The Magician” Hlali in a bantamweight clash.
It will be Saemapetch’s fourth ONE Super Series match-up, and he expects he will be one of the leading contenders for the gold if he can maintain his perfect record in the world’s largest martial arts organization.
Saemapetch is known for his ability to step up a gear and take control of a match thanks to his supreme conditioning that is unmatched by most in his division.
In April, though, it was his superior boxing and aggressive approach from the first bell that took him to a thrilling victory over Ognjen Topic. The pair went toe-to-toe, but the Chiang Rai native’s hands were too fast and powerful for the Serbian-American.
The MTGP Welterweight Muay Thai World Champion now holds an impressive 120-15-1 record, and is set to take on his most high-profile bout yet in the co-main event. While he is humbled by the opportunity, the former soldier will treat it like another day in the office.
He is also unfazed by the prospect of facing Hlali, who courageously stepped up to the challenge on just two weeks’ notice.
“The opponent change isn’t a big deal for me. I’m always ready,” Saemapetch says.
“I don’t need to change my style. My previous opponent and new opponent have similar styles. For me, it is just about focusing on what I need to do in there.”
“The Magician” is a decorated veteran with ample experience against elite competition – including living legend, Buakaw Banchamek. He is a two-time World Champion with an impressive 99-17-1 record.
Despite having barely any time to prepare for his new Moroccan rival the Fairtex representative has had time to scout him, and while he will not underestimate Hlali, he believes he has the strategy that will take him to another victory.
“Just fight hard, and watch for punches. That’s my plan,” he adds.
“I don’t think he can take a body shot, so I will be changing levels with my boxing, from body to head. I am going to think fast, move fast, and keep busy in there. I’m not really worried about him, I just need to defend his punches.”
A victory could also lead Saemapetch into a life-changing opportunity, which has made him even more motivated.
Only ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Champion Nong-O Gaiyanghadao – who will defend his belt in the ONE: IMMORTAL TRIUMPH main event – and his former challenger Han Zi Hao can boast as many ONE Super Series wins as him in the bantamweight division.
That means he will have a strong claim to be the weight class’ leading contender for the gold. However, because he would prefer not to face a fellow Thai, he has his eyes on another, vacant belt.
“I think if I can win, there might be a chance for me to fight for the World Title,” he explains.
“Nong-O has the Muay Thai World Title, so if I get a shot, it would be for the kickboxing World Title.”
Even without his ultimate goal just beyond the horizon, fans in the Phu Tho Indoor Stadium can expect nothing but the best from Saempaetch once again.
He is humble in his quest for greatness, and just happy to be able to put on a show on the global stage for martial arts.
“My style is perfect for ONE. I’m an aggressive fighter, and think this will be another exciting match!” he says.
“This is amazing to be part of ONE, and to get to display Muay Thai on an international level means a lot to me.”