“The Million Dollar Baby” Sangmanee Klong SuanPluResort wants to exit the semifinals of the ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai Tournament with a bang.
There’s only one problem – so does his opponent, “Left Meteorite” Kulabdam Sor. Jor. Piek Uthai, who Sangmanee will meet in the semifinals of the tournament at ONE: NO SURRENDER III in Bangkok, Thailand, this Friday, 21 August.
The winner will advance to the tournament final to face Saemapetch Fairtex, and the tournament champion will then get to challenge the division’s reigning king Nong-O Gaiyanghadao for his ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Title later in 2020.
“I need the audience to be entertained,” Sangmanee said. “Even in Thailand and foreign countries, people want to see a KO. I want the KO, but I can’t let my guard down because I would be knocked out instead.”
Sangmanee didn’t reveal the strategy he will use to accomplish the feat, but he did hint at the tactics he’s going to use to stifle his hard-hitting compatriot.
“I will use my agility, flee from his attacks, and try my best to block his punches,” he said. “I believe that my kicks will be faster than his. I will use this, too.”
The Thai is well-aware of Kulabdam’s prowess. “Left Meteorite” once earned nine straight wins in Bangkok’s Channel 7 Stadium, with seven of them coming via knockout.
“He is a skilled boxer and an aggressive puncher,” Sangmanee said.
“It will be a challenge because the gloves are small, and a punching-style boxer will have an advantage. So, I need to prepare my body, try my best, and stay focused.”
If “The Million Dollar Baby” stays the course, he will take one step closer to his ultimate goal of becoming a ONE World Champion, and he is already envisioning the strap around his waist.
“The belt itself is beautiful, and I saw when the other [athletes] wore it. There were applauses and cheers [from the crowd],” Sangmanee said.
“I liked that moment and I want to reach that level, so I am trying to improve my skills to be there. I will improve to be my best and challenge the champion.”
Catch ONE: NO SURRENDER III on meWATCH, the ONE Championship YouTube channel, or the ONE Super App at 8:30 p.m. Singapore Standard Time (SGT). Also, Channel 5 will broadcast the event on a next-day delay at 1 a.m. SGT on Saturday, 22 August.
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