Jacob smith finally gets the chance to showcase his skills on ONE Championship when he faces Rodtang Jitmuangnon in the quarter final stage of the Flyweight Muay Thai Grand Prix on Friday. The bout was originally scheduled to take place a year ago but the Englishman was unable to travel due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Smith has had to wait over a year but is excited to finally get his chance to fight for ONE Championship and was pleased to see the offer to face Rodtang was still on the table,

“Last year was frustrating on a whole but I’m so happy things are normalizing now and I finally get the chance to fight Rodtang as I wasn’t sure I would get the chance again for a while, so to have it so soon is amazing.”

Jacob Smith in a Muay Thai fight

Frustrating year

Although it was a frustrating year for Smith he also feels it could be an advantage as he has had more time to work on his skills,

“People say everything happens for a reason and it couldn’t have worked out better really because, even though I was confident when I was first scheduled to fight Rodtang, I’m a completely different fighter now. I have trained for an extra 12 months with the Bad Company and four corners lads.”

It is the same camp in Leeds that Liam Harrison fights out of and he has spent some time sparring with the ONE Championship star,

“All the pads, tweaking, tactics and going over game plans for specific opponents with Richard Smith, John Gillies and Andy Howson and all the sparring with Liam Harrison and James France as well as all the lads from my own gym, ThaiFist, has taken me too the next level. I feel I’m now a very well rounded fighter.”

Jacob Smith in a Muay Thai fight

Tune up

Smith has managed to get one fight in back in March when he beat experienced Spanish fighter Ricardo Alvarez for the WMO title. He thinks this was perfect preparation for Rodtang,

“I have had a chance to fight before hand which is a massive bonus too, against a good experienced Spaniard in Ricardo Alvarez. It was great to get five rounds under my belt and gave me a chance to show I’m not just a one dimensional fighter, show some new skills and show I can adapt during a fight if needed.”

He says that the preparation he has received is ideal and leaves him perfectly positioned to pull off what would go down as a major upset,

“Prep for this fight has been perfect and I am 100% confident. I came straight out of a fight camp into this one. Richard Smith has been making trips to me too as well as me going up to Bad Company to see him there, which had been a huge help for me. John Gillies at four corners has given me all his time and I believe has not only taken my boxing to the next level but my timing, power and overall output to the next level, I can’t tell you how much he’s done for me this fight camp.”

Jacob Smith before a Muay Thai fight

Full English

While Superlek and Rodtang are the two favourites for the tournament the fight Smith is dreaming of is against fellow Englishman Jonathan Haggerty,

“I think the hardest fight in the tournament is probably Superlek but if I could pick someone to fight in the final it would be Jonathan Haggerty. Just imagine what that does for Muay Thai in the UK? It would make history, two lads from the UK fighting in the final of the biggest tournament in Muay Thai history.”