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Why Yodsanklai Is Cautiously Confident Ahead Of World Grand Prix

April 27, 2019

“The Hero” Yodsanklai IWE Fairtex’s quest to become the undisputed king of ONE Championship’s featherweight division begins at ONE: ENTER THE DRAGON on Friday, 17 May.

The icon of Muay Thai has delivered three stunning performances so far in The Home Of Martial Arts, but now he has gold in his sights as part of the epic ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix, which will begin with all four quarter-final matches at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

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Yodsanklai will kick his campaign off against a familiar opponent, Samy “AK47” Sana.

The pair met once before in  Thailand in 2013, and though Sana was able to hold his own against the multiple-time Muay Thai World Champion, Yodsanklai won the bout via a clear unanimous decision.

However, six years have now passed since then, and the 33-year-old from Pattaya does not believe he will have things easy against the Frenchman this time around.

“He’s an aggressive fighter and will have a height advantage on me. He’s got a Muay Thai background, and has good knees. I know he has trained in Thailand extensively as well,” Yodsanklai explains.

“Even though I am familiar with Sana, it has been a long time since we last fought. A lot has changed for both of us. I’ll need to wait and see what happens in the fight. I don’t really have a plan – I’ll figure it out once I am in there.

“I like to let my opponents strike first, and see what their plan is while moving forward, ready to counter.”

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Flash: Muay Thai legend Yodsanklai's highly-anticipated ONE Super Series debut Singapore | 17 May | 7:00PM | Watch on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onedragon19

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Both Yodsanklai and Sana come from a Muay Thai background, but will compete under kickboxing rules in the World Grand Prix. Yodsanklai is fluent in the discipline – his ONE Super Series debut was a kickboxing bout against Chris Ngimbi – but he will have to get reacquainted with the boxing gloves that will be used for the tournament.

Since his debut on the global stage for martial arts, “The Hero” has shown how dangerous he can be in 4-ounce mixed martial arts gloves. His punching power has been amplified and taken him to one wide unanimous decision, as well as two awesome knockouts.

A change in equipment will require a change in approach.

“You need to hit harder when wearing bigger gloves. It is going to be much harder to get a knockout finish, so because of this, I have to be a lot more strategic,” Yodsanklai explains.

“I need to think about scoring points, and can’t just be looking for the knockout.”

As the owner of more than 200 career victories, however – many of them wearing traditional boxing gloves – the transition should not be too hard for “The Boxing Computer,” who is riding a seven-year winning streak.

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90-SECOND REWIND Yodsanklai's craziest knockout yet! Singapore | 17 May | 7:00PM | Watch on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onedragon19

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Having said that, he faces a stiff challenge from Sana – a WBC and A1 Muay Thai World Champion who has 133 wins on his record.

He showed how dangerous he can be when he dominated Armen Petrosyan en route to a unanimous decision last November that earned him a slot in the World Grand Prix bracket.

In fact, every competitor in the tournament is world class, with multiple World Titles on their résumés and a legitimate chance of going all the way and becoming recognized as the best featherweight kickboxer on the planet.

More than any other entrant, Yodsanklai wants to face Giorgio “The Doctor” Petrosyan, but the only way they will meet is if both men progress to the final.

Even if that match does not materialize, the Fairtex Gym representative is delighted to be part of a tournament that cannot be matched for talent and prestige in the recent history of martial arts.

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“The Grand Prix is going to be amazing,” he says.

“It is great to see so many Thais in the tournament. I think it will create a lot of interest for all the athletes, but especially the Thai ones who don’t usually get to compete outside of Thailand.

“Even though it is kickboxing, I think it will help Muay Thai become more famous and well known. It will help draw more people to Thailand to come train as well.

“I’m proud of myself and honored for this opportunity to be in this World Grand Prix amongst eight of the best fighters in the world.”

Singapore | 17 May | 7:00PM | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Ticketshttp://bit.ly/onedragon19