Saemapetch Fairtex is elated about his chance to make history in his next bout, but he knows he will have to overcome the greatest test of his career.
If he can get his hand raised, he will be the first man to defeat the legendary World Champion in ONE Super Series, following the Evolve representative’s near-flawless performances in The Home Of Martial Arts.
While the task of facing a four-time Lumpinee Stadium Muay Thai World Champion is a daunting one, Saemapetch is mostly excited about the chance to share the ring with the man he respects more than any other.
“I am so grateful for ONE for giving me this opportunity,” he says.
“If I lose, I won’t really lose because he is a yodmuay (highest level of Muay Thai athlete) and my idol. If I can win this fight, it will be my life’s greatest honor!”
When Saemapetch joined The Home Of Martial Arts, he was regarded as one of the most exciting and dangerous stars of “the art of eight limbs” thanks to his aggressive style, exceptional record, and MTGP Welterweight World Title.
He has lived up to all the hype with three phenomenal performances on the global stage. Deividas Danyla, Alaverdi Ramazanov, and Ognjen Topic have all struggled to contain his power, and the man from Pattaya has earned victories on the judges’ scorecards on each occasion.
However, the Chiang Mai native will face the toughest challenge of his career against a man with a phenomenal record of 259-54-1. Nong-O is known for his flawless technique, and the way he uses feints and impeccable timing to break through his opponents’ guard to land his powerful right kick.
- How To Watch ONE: EDGE OF GREATNESS – Nong-O Vs. Saemapetch
- Ev Ting Explains Why Now Is The Perfect Time To Face Amir Khan
- Amir Khan Believes He Has Something To Prove In Singapore
The reigning World Champion may be eight years older, but since he came out of retirement to join ONE, he has looked as good as at any time in his career. The 33-year-old has built a perfect 5-0 record in the world’s largest martial arts organization to win the greatest prize of his career and defend it twice.
In anticipation for their bout, Saemapetch has studied old tapes of Nong-O and taken his training up a notch to prepare for everything he brings to the Circle, and try to find ways to overcome him.
“He’s such a well-rounded fighter. I’m training for everything,” he says.
“He is fast and has amazing timing, so I need to improve both my speed and timing as well. I’m also working on my conditioning – I think that will be my biggest asset going into this fight.”
That final point, Saemapetch explains, could be key to exploiting the only possible vulnerability in his legendary rival.
“I think his age might be his weakness. As he gets older, age becomes a factor,” he adds.
“I think he won’t be as strong as he used to be. This is probably his only weakness.”
There may not be a stronger and better-conditioned athlete in the bantamweight division than Saemapetch. He has shown how he can maintain his power and work rate for as long as a bout lasts, and step up a gear to take control of a match.
He may not have competed since he overwhelmed Topic, but he says that time away from the Circle has not had any adverse effect. In fact, it may have helped him be better prepared than ever.
“The rest from competition was good for me,” the 25-year-old says.
“I am feeling really good. I never left the gym. I just stayed and trained what I could. I’ve been doing a lot of sparring to stay sharp.”
With no stone left unturned at the Fairtex Training Center, Saemapetch is ready for his greatest challenge on the biggest stage of his life.
He is under no illusion that he may have to execute the perfect performance to triumph, but he has faith in his ability to deliver when the pressure is on and make his dream come true.
“Nong-O is my idol, but I can’t hold back. I have to do my job,” he says.
“I am going to show the world I can do this, and get the belt from Nong-O and become a superstar just like him.
“Nong-O, win or lose I will be bringing my best. With all my might, I will try to defeat you.”