Tawanchai Retains ONE Featherweight Muay Thai World Title With Razor-Thin Win Over Jo Nattawut

Tawanchai Jo Nattawut

If anyone questioned Tawanchai PK Saenchai’s durability before his rematch with Thai compatriot “Smokin” Jo Nattawut at ONE 167, he surely made them reconsider.

Tawanchai defeated the division’s #3-ranked contender to retain his ONE Featherweight Muay Thai World Title in the main event, which aired live in U.S. primetime from Bangkok’s Impact Arena this past Friday, June 7, but he had to descend to depths he hadn’t yet visited.

For most of the first and second rounds, Tawanchai fired blistering left kicks at Nattawut who, for his part, struggled to find his range or employ an effective counter game. And so it went for the first six minutes, one left kick after the next careened into “Smokin” Jo’s right arm.

The ONE Featherweight Muay Thai World Championship fight didn’t look anything like their first kickboxing encounter – until the third stanza, that is.

Midway through the scheduled five-round contest, Nattawut began to lay into the defending titleholder’s lead leg with low kicks. Those lower extremity attacks set up “Smokin” Jo’s straight right punches, and Tawanchai started to wear the damage on his left eye.

With Tawanchai’s vision reduced to half and Nattawut’s arm reduced to rubber, both men had to dig deep in the championship rounds.

The PK Saenchai Muaythaigym representative kept the pressure on with his left kicks, but he began adding elbows and punches into the mix. Nattawut, on the other hand, maintained his aggression, as he pummeled his compatriot with low kicks and punches.

It was grueling – not just for these two world-class Muay Thai fighters, but for the judges as well, as they were forced to declare a winner in this high-stakes battle.

In the end, the judges gave the majority decision to Tawanchai.

With the victory, he improved his combined Muay Thai and kickboxing record to 133-31. Also, he bagged his third World Title defense in the process.

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