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Sam-A Speaks On The Strawweight Muay Thai Division’s 5 Contenders

Jun 30, 2020

Sam-A Gaiyanghadao is one of the most decorated martial artists in ONE Championship history.

In May 2018, the 36-year-old claimed the inaugural ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Title. He then moved down a weight class and became the strawweight king in both Muay Thai and kickboxing.

Both of those World Titles still belong to Sam-A, but five other strawweight competitors are looking to take his Muay Thai gold.

The two-sport ONE World Champion is quite familiar with the five names behind him in ONE’s Athlete Rankings. Now, he reveals his thoughts on every ranked strawweight Muay Thai contender.

#1-Ranked Contender Josh Tonna

Australian Muay Thai sensation Josh Tonna punches Andy Howson

Sam-A Gaiyanghadao: He is similar in age to me, so I don’t have to worry about his freshness or young power. He is quick and has good combinations.

What I have to beware of are his punches, which are quick and come naturally. I think my experience will be my advantage, and help me control the fight with him.

#2-Ranked Contender Rocky Ogden

Australian Muay Thai athlete Rocky Ogden makes his ONE debut

SG: I fought with him once [since becoming the inaugural ONE Strawweight Muay Thai World Champion], and I know that this young man is dangerous for his age and he has a very brave heart.

He will be more dangerous, for sure, if he gets more experience in the ring, which I know he will. He is already well-rounded, but the only thing he needs is more experience.



#3-Ranked Contender Daren Rolland

Daren Rolland kicks Sam-A in Japan

SG: He is tall and slim, which makes the fight difficult already because of his range. More than that, he is unpredictable.

I fought him [winning by knockout in October 2019], and I have to accept that in the first round, I couldn’t even catch him or [figure out] his plan. I didn’t know what he would do, so I could only react to what he would bring.

Anyway, he still doesn’t have too much experience, so that would be my advantage over him.

#4-Ranked Contender Andy Howson

Britan's Andy Howson kicks Josh Tonna in his ONE Championship debut

SG: I think he is the most dangerous among all five contenders in this division. He has had some tough experiences, and that’s important for fighting sports. All of his weapons are quick and sharp.

When he fought with Josh Tonna, he did well. If it would have gone to three rounds, I think he might have won by a point.

#5-Ranked Contender Rui Botelho

Rui Botelho is ready for Muay Thai action

SG: He fought at flyweight before, and then he went down to strawweight, just like me. He can fight, and he knows how to fight.

He fought with some good Thais who are “Fighters Of The Year,” like Superlek Kiatmoo9 and Panpayak Jitmuangnon, and that was tough for him and good experiences for him. I think he would give me a difficult fight as well.

Read more: Sam-A Gaiyanghadao Answers Josh Tonna’s Challenge