Top-ranked bantamweight Muay Thai contender Saemapetch Fairtex is not willing to cede any ground to the chasing pack in ONE Super Series.
The Thai star will face off against newly signed elite striker Rittewada Petchyindee Academy in the main event of ONE: NEXTGEN II on Friday, 12 November – and he plans on cementing his coveted spot with an emphatic victory.
“I don’t want anyone to snatch [my ranking] away from me. I’ll try my best to keep it,” Saemapetch says.
“Rittewada, you want my ranking, don’t you? You want to be number one? I won’t let you have it. There is no way I will let go of it.”
The Fairtex fighter has reason to feel confident.
Since his loss to reigning bantamweight Muay Thai king Nong-O Gaiyanghadao in a World Title challenge at ONE: EDGE OF GREATNESS two years ago, he’s defeated some of the division’s toughest competitors and earned his way back to the top.
His latest victory came when he knocked out #3-ranked “Left Meteorite” Kulabdam Sor. Jor. Piek Uthai in May, and he also scored a pivotal decision win over #2 contender Rodlek PK.Saenchai Muaythaigym last August.
The Fairtex man knows that his upcoming rival from Petchyindee Academy will pose another tough test, but it’s one he must pass in order to earn a second World Title challenge.
“This is a risky fight because Rittewada has just entered [ONE Super Series], and I am ranked number one. If I lose in this match, I’d lose my ranked position,” Saemapetch says.
“Am I nervous? I am. If I lose, I won’t be able to get a rematch with Nong-O. I’ll need to climb up the rankings again. This match is very important. I need to win.”
For his part, Rittewada is riding a hot streak of finishes, which includes seven knockouts in his last eight victories on the Bangkok circuit.
The impressive run has captured the attention of Muay Thai pundits and rivals, but while Saemapetch fears losing his prominent position in the division, he isn’t fazed by his compatriot’s dangerous arsenal.
“Rittewada has all the powerful weapons. I have to be careful because his boxing skills are not bad at all, and he has been winning continuously, mostly by knockout,” the Pattaya resident says.
“He has been winning with knockouts but, for me, he’s not scary. I’m not worried about this guy. He is not that different from other boxers who are strong and powerful and have similar weapons.
“A way to avoid [being knocked out] is once he strikes with his weapons, I need to set up stable and firm blocks and try to strike back as quickly as I can. That’s a great way to avoid [his strikes] and gain victory.”
Despite Saemapetch’s confidence, there’s no doubt that Rittewada will pose a threat in their main event clash. Still, the ONE Super Series veteran feels fully prepared to produce a third consecutive victory over a high-level foe.
In the process, he could send a clear message that he deserves another shot at ONE gold, and he’s ready to showcase all of his tools against the hard-hitting debutant.
“In my last match against Kulabdam, you could see how I had improved in terms of speed and power. I was able to knock him out,” Saemapetch says.
“In this upcoming fight, I’ll try my best to do that again. Because if I win, I will be able to have a rematch with Nong-O. I want to have the chance to win the World Championship again.”