Tawanchai PK.Saenchai Muaythaigym wasn’t lying when he said he would put his friendship with his opponent aside to get the job done when the Circle door closed on Friday, 14 January.
The Thai phenom knocked out his friend and compatriot Saemapetch Fairtex in the opening round of their 66.45-kilogram catchweight Muay Thai bout at ONE: HEAVY HITTERS inside the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
The striking dynamos traded stinging low kicks at the start of round one, but it was Tawanchai who quickly found a way to control the range. Knowing Saemapetch was a big puncher, the PK.Saenchai Muaythaigym representative stuck out his jab and stabbed his opponent’s midsection with strong push kicks.
Every time Saemapetch – the top-ranked bantamweight Muay Thai contender – tried to set himself to advance with his boxing, his younger opponent stopped him in his tracks and pushed him backward. When the Fairtex man reacted to the teep, Tawanchai dropped in punches and elbows.
It was the Bangkok resident’s ability to get his foe on the back foot that opened up his chance to finish. Tawanchai pushed Saemapetch to the Circle Wall, scored with a high kick, and then knocked down his veteran rival with a stiff jab as he tried to reply.
After the Fairtex star sprung back to his feet and waited out the eight-count, Tawanchai turned up the heat and moved forward with punches.
Saemapetch ate a jab and tried to swing back, but the 22-year-old was already out of the way. With his opponent still in the firing line, Tawanchai then dropped him with an inch-perfect straight left counter.
The #1-ranked bantamweight Muay Thai contender was on rubber legs when he tried to stand up, and this prompted the referee to call off the action with five seconds remaining in the opening stanza.
With the victory, Tawanchai extended his career record to 126-31-2.
But despite his big win over a highly regarded bantamweight, he said he’d be moving up a weight class after having some issues with the scales this past week.
“For this weight division, I think I am not quite ready, but I am really ready to challenge for the World Title at featherweight,” Tawanchai told Mitch Chilson in his post-bout interview.