After a stellar performance against one of the brightest Muay Thai stars in ONE Championship, #4-ranked featherweight kickboxing contender Sitthichai “Killer Kid” Sitsongpeenong is ready to remind the world why he’s long been considered one of the top pound-for-pound kickboxers in the sport.
On Friday, 15 October, the Thai superstar will meet #5-ranked contender Tayfun “Turbine” Ozcan in the ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix quarterfinals at the all-kickboxing event, ONE: FIRST STRIKE.
“This comeback is a big opportunity to prove myself,” the 30-year-old Bangkok resident says.
“I want to perform well and win this time. I want to prove to my fans that I’m the same old Sitthichai – the Sitthichai who is known as the best fighter in the world. And in this fight, I will prove that I am truly the best fighter in the world.”
Last year, “Killer Kid” entered the world’s largest martial arts organization as an eight-time Muay Thai and Kickboxing World Champion with 123 victories under his belt.
Many expected him to rip through the featherweight kickboxing division, but in his promotional debut, Sitthichai fell to his longtime foe – #2-ranked Superbon – in their highly anticipated trilogy bout at ONE: NO SURRENDER.
Though Sitthichai impressed in the three-round affair, his compatriot’s kicks, counterstriking, and ability to land cleaner strikes overall earned him the unanimous decision nod.
As he looks back at the difficult defeat, “Killer Kid” acknowledges that he wasn’t in his best form.
“When I lost to Superbon in my debut last year, I think it was probably because I was slower and Superbon was bigger,” he says.
Fortunately, Sitthichai bounced back in a major way this past August.
The Thai was originally scheduled to fight Ozcan, but the Turkish slugger broke his hand and was forced to withdraw from the fight. So instead, he switched sports and squared off against his compatriot, #4-ranked featherweight Muay Thai contender Tawanchai PK.Saenchai Muaythaigym, in the main event of ONE: BATTLEGROUND III.
Although he barely competed in Muay Thai during the past seven years, “Killer Kid” defeated his countryman and proved that he is one of the best featherweight strikers in any sport.
Sitthichai enjoyed a successful return to “the art of eight limbs,” but following his big win, he made it clear that his focus lies elsewhere.
“Well, my style is normally kickboxing. However, Muay Thai is always in my heart,” he said following the split-decision victory. “However, my goal is still aiming to be the Kickboxing World Champion.”
Now, Sitthichai’s road to the kickboxing gold starts with Turkey’s finest featherweight in the Grand Prix quarterfinals.
The 30-year-old Ozcan brings quite the reputation into this contest. He owns an impressive 83-8-3 professional record and was a two-division Enfusion Kickboxing Champion. What’s more, he is riding a 13-bout winning streak.
“Turbine” is best known for his pressure-fighting style, his tight boxing combinations, and for punctuating those punching combos with smashing low kicks.
But while the Thai respects his Turkish-Dutch foe, he sees some glaring holes that can be exploited.
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“Tayfun and I have never met before, but if you let me analyze him from watching his fight videos, I see him as a strong, hard hitter who can sting you all the time. And his roundhouse kick is quite dangerous,” Sitthichai says.
“But I still can see his weaknesses. His attacks may be quick, but not powerful, and he has a glass chin, too.
“Moreover, I am a southpaw. This can be my advantage over him because he has never fought with a southpaw fighter before. He probably wouldn’t be able to handle a southpaw.
“As for my game plan to handle Tayfun’s boxing, I wouldn’t have to fight him straight, but I’d wait for him to follow up and seize the opportunity to attack faster than him.”
To ensure that he stays razor-sharp, “Killer Kid” has been polishing his skills at his longtime training ground, Sitsongpeenong Muay Thai Camp, in Bangkok, Thailand.
Aside from getting into tiptop shape, Sitthichai has been concentrating on building his power and improving his speed.
“My current physical condition is 100 percent good,” he says.
“In training, I’ve been focusing on rehabilitating my agility level and developing my punches to hit harder and faster than before.”
Though Sitthichai is confident that he possesses the tools to beat Ozcan on 15 October, he also feels pressure to constantly perform at an elite level.
The Thai has a stellar reputation to uphold, and he intends to deliver the goods every time he competes on the global stage – starting with Ozcan in the ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix quarterfinals.
“As for the next goal in ONE Championship, I will continue to maintain my performance and give it my best in every fight whether I win or lose,” Sitthichai says. “I will do my best.”