Saemapetch Fairtex challenges Nong-O Gaiyanghadao for the bantamweight Muay Thai title at ONE: ‘Edge of Greatness’ tomorrow night.

It will be no small task for the MTGP World Champion and former Channel 7 Purn Sua tournament champion. But Saemapetch earned his shot at the title after three impressive wins on the ONE Super Series beating Deividas Danyla, Alaverdi Ramazanov and Ognjen Topic,

The young Chiang Mai native was scheduled to fight at ONE: ‘Immortal Triumph’ but a series of pullouts left him without an opponent. Nong-O defended his title on that card but the Pattaya based fighter feels he benefited from getting some time off, instead of fighting in Vietnam,

“The rest from competition was good for me, I am feeling really good. I never left the gym. I just stayed and trained as much I could. I’ve been doing a lot of sparring to stay sharp.”

No holding back

Saemapetch is fully aware of the task at hand, having followed Nong-O’s career since he was a young aspiring fighter. He is facing one of the best Muay Thai fighters of the century and knows what his opponent’s strengths are,

“I have been watching loads of his old fights. He’s such a well-rounded fighter. I’m training for everything, he is fast and has amazing timing, so I have been working to improve both my speed and timing as well.”

However Saemapetch is eight years younger than Nong-O. He is still in his physical and athletic prime and thinks that will make the difference at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

“I’m also working on my conditioning, I think that will be my biggest asset going into this fight, as he is getting older now and I think he won’t be as strong as he used to be, I think that may be his main weakness.”

My idol

Anyone who has followed the Muay Thai scene in Thailand will know exactly who Nong-O is. Saemapetch admits he has kept a close eye on his opponent’s career for a long time and never imagined they would one day share a ring,

“Nong-O is my idol, but I can’t hold back. I have to do my job. I am going to show the world I can do this, and take the belt.”

It was only a matter of time until two Thai fighters collided on the ONE Super Series. For Saemapetch the fight is particularly significant because of the reputation that Nong-O has in their native country.

The 25 year old has won several belts and tournaments. But he has never beaten an opponent of Nong-O’s stature and feels that a win at ONE: ‘Edge of Greatness’ would be the crowning moment in his career,

“I’ve waited my entire career for this moment. Nong-O is a great champion but I’m the younger man, I’m stronger and hungrier.”