In just under 24 hours, ONE Championship will officially resume its flagship event schedule with ONE: NO SURRENDER from Bangkok, Thailand.
Aside from two explosive ONE World Title clashes, the event will also feature a ONE Super Series kickboxing contest between top featherweights “The Killer Kid” Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong and his longtime rival and compatriot, Superbon.
This is a trilogy bout that has been nearly four years in the making.
When the two warriors first shared the ring in January 2016, Sitthichai won via second-round knockout. Superbon would gain some redemption eight months later, defeating “The Killer Kid” via unanimous decision.
Now, just hours away from their highly-anticipated third encounter, the athletes’ coaches talk about their fighters’ preparations and what they expect to unfold in the Thai capital.
Jakkit Sitsongpeenong On Sitthichai
Jakkit Sitsongpeenong knows his fighter very well, as he has overseen Sitthichai’s training at the Sitsongpeenong Camp for nearly six years.
In that time, the Bangkok-based coach has witnessed the 28-year-old’s transition from Muay Thai to kickboxing while playing a key role in his rise to superstardom.
“What’s special about Sitthichai is that he is very disciplined. He is very obedient and hard working. He is very well-behaved and has never once been involved with drinking or drugs,” the coach says.
“He is very accurate and strong, especially with his left kick – it’s very sharp and accurate. The most important thing is that he is hardworking and disciplined.
“When I first trained him, he wasn’t much of a striker. He was not striking forward and always stepped back. But now, he’s improved on it and he takes the risk to rumble forward. He is not backing down anymore. That is especially important in kickboxing – if you keep stepping backward or backing down, you’ll never be able to win.”
Jakkit Sitsongpeenong On Superbon
While Jakkit knows his pupil’s skill set inside and out, he is also quite familiar with Sitthichai’s longtime rival.
“Superbon is also a very hardworking boy,” the coach says. “We met quite often when there were tournaments abroad. He is a nice and well-behaved boy.”
The Sitsongpeenong trainer also notes the similarities between the two elite strikers.
“Just like Sitthichai, he is very disciplined,” Jakkit says of Superbon. “He has also improved [in his skill set] and he is very fast in kickboxing. He’s even a little better than Sitthichai regarding the speed.”
Recently, Jakkit watched the film from the athletes’ previous two battles to see what “The Killer Kid” did well and where things went wrong.
He’s also checked out Superbon’s recent matches to see what holes Sitthichai could exploit and to create a game plan.
All things considered, Jakkit is feeling quite confident about his fighter’s chances.
“Superbon may be fast, but we have all the endurance,” the Sitsongpeenong coach says. “Superbon’s high kick and knee may be scary, but we have something prepared for that. Superbon better be ready because Sitthichai is at his best.”
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Gae On Superbon
Unlike his opponent, Superbon does not have a longstanding and established relationship with his coach.
In fact, this is the first time he’s worked with Suthat Muangmun, better known as Gae, but that could be a good thing. The trainer has offered a fresh set of eyes and can analyze his new student’s tools.
“Superbon’s specialty is his speed skill. He is what we call, ‘hard to beat,’” Gae says. “He is hard to beat because he is strong and can be threatening. He’s fully equipped with tricks. He is also very witty.”
Though Gae has not worked directly with Superbon in the past, he is quite familiar with his background. The world-renowned trainer used to watch the fighter compete in Muay Thai bouts on the Bangkok stadium circuit.
Over the years, he’s watched Superbon develop into an even more skilled athlete, which he credits to dedication and work ethic.
“He is very focused on every fight,” Gae says. “He really focuses on the training, finds himself a coach, and is very dedicated to improving himself.”
Gae On Sitthichai
Like many other folks across the planet, Gae has followed Sitthichai’s career very closely, both in kickboxing and Muay Thai, and he has nothing but praise for the megastar.
“Sitthichai is considered one of the great Muay Thai fighters,” the coach says. “He has powerful southpaw weapons. His weapons are quite dangerous for any opponent.”
However, there are two weapons in particular that he singles out. “His left shin and his left knee are powerful,” Gae says.
Gae has made sure to do his research leading up to Friday’s fight. He’s been watching Sitthichai’s footage, including the two previous battles that took place with his own pupil.
Between training Superbon for the past several weeks and seeing “The Killer Kid’s” weak points, the coach knows what his 29-year-old combatant must do to achieve victory.
“We need to utilize long-ranged weapons like punching and kicking. He needs to throw them faster. He needs to throw combinations and act fast,” Gae says.
“I am confident in Superbon because he is really focused. He is focused, he is very willing, and he is self-disciplined. That’s the most important principle for athletes – they are half winning when they are self-disciplined.
“I think he is going to win this fight with his blocking and countering back quickly. It’s not a one-time impact, but like a continuous combo. If he can do that – and fast enough – it might turn out well.”