Smilla Sundell Claims Strawweight Muay Thai Gold, Makes History As Youngest ONE World Champion
Smilla “The Hurricane” Sundell made history with a blistering performance against Jackie Buntan for the inaugural ONE Women’s Strawweight Muay Thai World Title at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Friday, 22 April.
The 17-year-old Swedish phenom became the youngest-ever ONE World Champion by defeating the surging American in the co-main event of ONE 156: Eersel vs. Sadikovic.
Sundell made the most of her reach advantage with a long jab in round one. The Swede found success with it, but Buntan quickly started to time her counterstrikes and fired back with flurries of punches.
“The Hurricane” pressed forward regardless and walked her rival down. Buntan, however, remained composed under the pressure, and she moved and countered when she got the opportunity.
The game plans became further entrenched in round two.
Sundell pushed forward with long jabs and crosses, while the American slipped and returned fire with hard right hands down the middle. Buntan also looked to counter the taller fighter’s kicks with catches and sweeps.
The Boxing Works product did initiate some exchanges with her jab and lead hook, but Sundell’s thudding right cross was always lying in wait.
Buntan’s counters found their mark again in round three, specifically with a cross-hook-low kick combination that stung her opponent. The California native also drove her right hand into Sundell’s body to mix up the levels of attack.
Nothing could stop the Swede from stepping in, however, and in close, she found a new effective strategy. “The Hurricane” clinched with Buntan and used her reach to overcome her foe’s knee guard, which allowed the teen to blast the American with punches, knees, and elbows.
Sundell didn’t slow down in the championship rounds, and she added more right body kicks into her output behind the long jab.
Buntan was happy to wait for the Fairtex representative to step in so she could unload her boxing combinations, but the Swede’s pressure was a good look for the judges.
The American tried to work in her spinning elbows, but Sundell was savvy to the threat and scored well with elbows and punches of her own when they tied up.
The teen star looked as fresh in the fifth frame as she did in the first, and she came out with a cracking right kick to the body. Still, despite wearing the scars of the battle, Buntan did her best to fire back with counters when the Swede came forward.
The American swung with bad intentions, but she didn’t have the same zip. This made “The Hurricane’s” offense even more relentless, and she continued to land hard and often with her jab and right cross until the final bell sounded.
Though it was never a blowout, Sundell’s relentless pressure earned her a unanimous decision, the 33rd victory of her career, a US$50,000 performance bonus, and her slice of history as the youngest ONE World Champion ever at 17 years, 5 months, and 10 days old.
Read more: ONE 156: Eersel vs. Sadikovic – Results And Highlights For Every Fight