Petchmorrakot Petchyindeeacademy faces one of the biggest tests of his career this month. He puts his featherweight Muay Thai title on the line against Yodsanklai Fairtex at ONE: ‘No Surrender’.

Their paths to the title have taken very different directions. Petchmorrakot had spent virtually his entire career in the Bangkok stadiums before signing with ONE Championship while Yodsanklai has been an international star for nearly a decade.

In preparation for the fight Petchmorrakot says has been working hard at Petchyindee Academy in Bangkok.  The 26 year old has fine tuned his game by sparring in western boxing against a professional southpaw.

He says it is an honour to be fighting an opponent of Yodsanklai’s status and reputation,

“I am really pleased I have got the chance to fight Yodsanklai, he is a fighter I really looked up to when I was younger and starting out in the sport. It is an honor to get the opportunity to face him.”

Smaller gloves

Yodsanklai comes into the fight on the back of a shocking second round stoppage defeat to Jamal Yusupov at ONE: ‘Age of Dragons’ last November. He will be desperate for a win and it is a fight that puts him right back in the limelight.

The use of the smaller MMA style gloves in the ONE Super Series match ups bring a totally different dimension to the fight. But Petchmorrakot says he isn’t worried about his opponent’s punching power,

“I am not scared at all to face Yodsaenklai, I know he is a dangerous puncher and with the small gloves I will need to concentrate throughout the fight as one small mistake could be very costly. I am going to just fight my fight and slowly build up the pressure on him and try to wear him down.”

He also expects Yodsanklai to fade down the stretch if the fight goes the full five rounds,

“I have age on my side so hopefully that will help me, as I don’t think he will be able to keep as fast a pace as before. I will have to be very careful though not to make any mistakes in the first three rounds.”

Strong team

Petchyindee Promotions has set up a strong team to make sure Petchmorrakot is in the best possible shape. He has been hitting pads with former boxing world champion Chatchai Sasakul and a strength and conditioning expert has been brought in to make sure he will be at his peak on July 31st.

The owner of Petchyindee Academy, Nuttadej Wachirarattanawong, says he has conflicting emotions about this fight,

“It will feel a little strange for Petchmorrakot to fight Yodsanklai because he first became famous fighting as Yodsanklai Petchyindee and won his first Lumpinee title fighting for Petchyindee. But it is a sport and win or lose we will always do our best.”

Living legend

He sees this an opportunity for Petchmorrakot to register a high profile win over a living legend,

“It is also a great opportunity for Petchmorrakot to build on his legacy by beating one of the legends of the sport. Yodsanklai is still a dangerous fighter so we cannot afford to take him lightly,”

However ‘Boat’ acknowledges that the smaller gloves are a factor in the veteran’s favour,

“The small gloves also make things very dangerous. Petchmorrakot has youth on his side though and he is taller which will help a lot. I am confident he will get the win.”

Last year ONE Championship put on a featherweight kickboxing tournament. The division has since been bolstered by the arrival of fighters like Sittichai Sitsongpeenong and Superbon Banchamek, who will face off on July 31st.

Featherweight king

Petchmorrakot participated in the last tournament and thought he had beaten eventual winner Giorgio Petrosyan, only for the eventual decision to be overturned. He confirms he would be willing to participate in another kickboxing tournament,

“I am happy to fight whoever is put in front of me, I still don’t have too much experience yet fighting kickboxing, but if the opportunity comes I will fight anyone under either Muay Thai or kickboxing rulesets.”

But for now Petchmorrakot has his sights set on a man who has already achieved much in the world of both kickboxing and Muay Thai. At ONE: ‘No Surrender’ he is on a mission to defeat a legend and underline his status as the best fighter in the featherweight division.