Two-sport ONE World Champion Sam-A Gaiyanghadao knows there is a bullseye on his back, and one of the top-ranked ONE Super Series Muay Thai and kickboxing athletes in the strawweight division is taking aim at the reigning king.
Sam-A, who claimed the inaugural ONE Strawweight Kickboxing World Title in December and the inaugural ONE Strawweight Muay Thai World Title in February, has established himself as the premier striker in the weight class.
Currently, the Singapore-based Thai does not have a set challenger for either of his belts, but Josh “Timebomb” Tonna believes he deserves the first crack at the legend’s gold.
Tonna, who trains out of MuayU in Canberra, Australia, recently sent shockwaves throughout the martial arts world when he knocked out multiple-time Muay Thai World Champion Andy “The Punisher” Howson with a spectacular knee strike to the head at ONE: WARRIOR’S CODE.
Even Sam-A was impressed with the effort.
“I watched his fight with Andy,” the 36-year-old Evolve representative says. “I didn’t concentrate [on his techniques too much], but I know he is one good fighter.”
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Also, because of that magnificent win, “Timebomb” thinks he has earned the right to challenge Sam-A for World Championship gold.
From the sounds of it, the living legend is not opposed to meeting him and defending either of his coveted titles. In fact, he welcomes the challenge in both sports.
“I am still sure that I have more experience than him. With 400 fights, I think experience is my advantage. Also, my technique and speed, too. I competed against many good fighters in my life, so nothing scares me. If he comes fast, I will train to be faster,” Sam-A explains.
“I can meet Tonna in a Muay Thai or kickboxing match, but I would suggest we fight in Muay Thai first because if he loses, he can still have a kickboxing fight with me.”
Though Sam-A did not fully concentrate on Tonna’s movements and striking techniques in his victory over Howson, he is familiar with the Canberra native’s style and can already envision how a match between the two would play out.
“I know how to combat his technique. I will stop him from his first punch [before he combines other punches],” the Thai icon begins.
“I will have a long teep to create the distance, and I will try to confuse him and then unleash my strikes. He won’t even know what will come at him.”
Nothing is official, but it is clear that the strawweight king is confident and prepared to defend both of his ONE World Titles against all comers – especially the “Timebomb.”
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