The War Rages On: Sangmanee And Kulabdam Sound Off Ahead Of Rematch At ONE Friday Fights 2
ONE Championship’s second show at the iconic Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, is headlined by a highly anticipated Muay Thai rematch that’s been nearly three years in the making.
In the main event of ONE Friday Fights 2 on January 27, “The Million Dollar Baby” Sangmanee PK.Saenchai and “Left Meteorite” Kulabdam Sor. Jor. Piek Uthai will meet in a bantamweight clash that’s destined to produce fireworks.
The Thai superstars first met in the ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai Tournament semifinals in August 2020.
While both men entered that contest riding a wave of confidence, it was Kulabdam and his thunderous left hand that closed the show in the final seconds of the first round, sending the PK.Saenchai Muaythaigym representative crashing to the canvas and handing him what still stands as his only ONE Championship loss.
This Friday, Sangmanee will look to even the score with a knockout of his own, but “Left Meteorite” will do everything in his power to once again end his compatriot’s night in dramatic fashion.
Kulabdam Remembers The Doubters Before First Fight
As a two-time Lumpinee Stadium Muay Thai World Champion, Kulabdam is no stranger to the bright lights of Thailand’s most famous venue.
So when he makes the walk for his rematch with Sangmanee on Friday, it should feel like a homecoming for the 24-year-old knockout artist. And if history is any indication, fans can expect to see “Left Meteorite” in top form.
Just days before his main event showdown, he said:
“I haven’t fought at Lumpinee Stadium for three or four years. I’m glad to be able to fight here again because it feels like I’m back home where I made a reputation in Muay Thai. Lumpinee is the nation’s legendary stadium. Not every fighter would be eligible to fight here. You need to have a fan base and be well-known as the best fighter, so you are chosen to be here. And most importantly, from my previous fights at Lumpinee, I always did a good job. No matter if I won or lost, I felt like I could perform well here at Lumpinee.”
Looking back on their initial bout, Kulabdam remembers being labeled an underdog against the significantly more experienced Sangmanee – a criticism “Left Meteorite” took as an insult.
But perhaps entering that fight with a chip on his shoulder was a good thing, as that spectacular knockout was arguably the biggest one of his already illustrious career.
“Before my first fight at ONE, most people thought that I couldn’t fight with Sangmanee. I kept those criticisms to myself and concentrated on my training. I was determined to beat him because I was underestimated a lot. And for this upcoming fight on Friday, January 27th, I am super ready to face Sangmanee again. Let’s see who will perform better in the Circle.”
Sangmanee Is Out For ‘Revenge’
Naturally, the man known as “The Million Dollar Baby” is dying to erase the memory of his devastating loss to Kulabdam. After all, as a four-time Muay Thai World Champion and with well over 180 career victories, losing is not something the 25-year-old striker is accustomed to.
It makes sense, then, that Sangmanee has spent the past two and a half years replaying that defeat in his head, hoping to correct his fateful mistake.
“For me, this is a good opportunity to get revenge. That loss has been on my mind for a long time. I watched that fight when I was KOed over and over to find out what mistakes I made. I take everything that happened in that fight as a big lesson, and I’ve tried to fix it. In this upcoming fight, I am confident that I am good enough to go against Kulabdam, for sure.”
A fierce competitor to his core, Sangmanee has adjusted his training and preparation to ensure he doesn’t make the same mistake twice.
And even though he acknowledges that Kulabdam has continued to evolve, Sangmanee believes both his startling improvements and the strategy his coach has devised will lead him to victory in the high-stakes rematch.
“Many of my weaknesses in the game have been fixed. I’ve been training more on my speed and self-defense, as well as my other weapons. My trainer has also watched that clip to see how to adjust the game plan, and we got a plan for better defense and counterattacks. I admit that Kulabdam has made a lot of improvements in his skills as well. His punch is absolutely dangerous, but now, I see that he has added leg kicks and other weapons that are just as scary. So, I won’t be careless.”