Modern-day striking legend Sitthichai “Killer Kid” Sitsongpeenong expected to face a kickboxing contender in his high-stakes return to the Circle, but a last-minute injury pushed the Thai megastar back into “the art of eight limbs” – and he couldn’t be more excited about it.
On Friday, 27 August, Sitthichai will square off against his good friend and pound-for-pound great Tawanchai PK.Saenchai Muaythaigym in a featherweight Muay Thai showdown at ONE: BATTLEGROUND III in Singapore.
Though “Killer Kid” has rarely competed in the sport over the past seven years, he views this short-notice bout as an opportunity to make a huge statement.
“Winning over Tawanchai is going to prove that I am a Muay Thai fighter who can apply the art of Thai boxing better than other Muay Thai boxers,” the 29-year-old says. “I’d prove that I’m a Muay Thai boxer who is not only good at kickboxing.”
Sitthichai comes from a Muay Thai background and originally became a star on Bangkok’s stadium circuit, even winning a prestigious Lumpinee Stadium World Title in 2014.
But after claiming the gold, “Killer Kid” sought a new challenge and made the switch to kickboxing.
Over the next seven years, the Thai standout almost exclusively concentrated on his new sport – and achieved tremendous success.
He became a seven-time Glory Lightweight Kickboxing World Champion and was considered by many as the top pound-for-pound kickboxer on the planet.
- Xiong Turning ‘Fear Into Motivation’ Against Dangerous Nicolini
- Ritu Phogat Rejoins World Grand Prix, Full ONE: EMPOWER Card Revealed
- Zhang Lipeng Challenges Shinya Aoki, Receives Cryptic Warning
Sitthichai intended to carry that success over to ONE Super Series and work his way toward the inaugural ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Title.
However, he didn’t have the greatest start to his promotional tenure, as he dropped a close decision loss to #2-ranked contender Superbon.
“Killer Kid,” who is currently the #4-ranked contender, was hoping to bounce back against #5-ranked Tayfun “Turbine” Ozcan at ONE: BATTLEGROUND in July, but a broken hand forced Ozcan to withdraw from the contest.
At that point, it seemed like Sitthichai would have to wait on the sidelines, but an opportunity opened up when top-ranked bantamweight Muay Thai contender Saemapetch Fairtex – Tawanchai’s original foe for ONE: BATTLEGROUND III – was forced off the card after his cornerman tested positive for COVID-19 before traveling to Singapore.
“I was a bit shocked and excited when I found out my opponent decided to discontinue,” Sitthichai says. “But I’m more excited when I get to come back for Muay Thai.”
Sitthichai knows this main event clash will be quite the challenge.
It marks the first time he will officially compete in Muay Thai since 2015, and it’s the first time ever that he’ll wear 4-ounce mixed martial arts gloves.
But that doesn’t intimidate him. In fact, the opportunity to switch over was another motivating factor in “Killer Kid’s” decision to sign with ONE last year.
“I’m glad and impressed. I wanted to be a part of it because ONE Championship has many types of boxing, such as Muay Thai and kickboxing,” he says.
“I have expected already that I would get to fight in small gloves [for] Muay Thai, so I’m very happy.”
Of course, the challenge will be even greater due to his world-class opponent. Tawanchai is the #4-ranked bantamweight Muay Thai contender and is widely considered one of the sport’s best practitioners.
The 22-year-old has already defeated some of the best warriors in the game, including ONE veteran “The Million Dollar Baby” Sangmanee Klong SuanPluResort twice and #3-ranked “Left Meteorite” Kulabdam Sor. Jor. Piek Uthai three times.
He then showcased that brilliance in his promotional debut this past May, knocking out Sean “Clubber” Clancy with an impressive head kick in the third round.
For his part, Sitthichai acknowledges his compatriot’s immense skill and knows he must be extra careful in their matchup.
“Tawanchai is a smart boxer with beautiful and fast strikes. He is a young, healthy rising star,” he offers.
“The most dangerous weapon from Tawanchai would be his neck kick and his left kick, and also his elbow strikes. His elbows are deadly.”
Still, “Killer Kid” believes he will have an advantage because Tawanchai is moving up a division to face him at featherweight.
This weight class has been the Sitsongpeenong Muay Thai Camp representative’s home ever since he joined ONE, and with his countryman usually competing lower down, he thinks it will make a big difference.
“I’ve been in this weight range, and I’m sure I have more forceful weapons,” Sitthichai says. “He might not be able to stand my strikes, while I could stand his strikes. I’m heavier with heavier weapons.”
Should “Killer Kid” use those weapons to defeat Tawanchai, it may redirect him toward an unexpected ONE World Title shot.
He’d been focusing on kickboxing gold, but a victory could open the door for him to challenge ONE Featherweight Muay Thai World Champion Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy. And if he earns that chance and then takes the strap from his compatriot, it would solidify his reputation as one of the best Muay Thai boxers ever.
“That would be a great opportunity if I win over this match and get to fight with Petchmorakot for the championship. That would be a great chance for me to snatch the belt from him for my own honor,” Sitthichai says.
“That international belt would bring me much more fame and more people would know my name.”