For Saemapetch Fairtex 2020 ended on a high with back to back wins. But the record does not tell the whole story, he should have been fighting in the final of the ONE bantamweight Grand Prix but missed out after suffering an injury.

He booked his spot in the final with a win over Rodlek PKSaenchaigym and was set to face Kulabdam Sor Jor Piek U-Thai in what would have been a title eliminator. But Saemapetch was forced to pull out due to injury,

“I hurt my hand back when I fought Nong-O for the title and it became worse after the semi final fight with Rodlek. It was really disappointing as I wanted a chance to avenge to loss to Nong-O. It has healed up fully now though and I am not worried about it for this fight,” he explains.

Some weaknesses

On Friday he finally faces Kulabdam at ONE: ‘Full Blast’ He got to test the hand out last November when he faced Pongsiri PKSaenchaigym at the famed Channel 7 stadium but it was Saemapetch’s left elbow which did the damage that day,

“Before the Pongsiri fight I wasn’t 100% sure I would be able to get the win, he is very experienced and aggressive and very tough. I didn’t expect to finish the fight so quickly and I was very pleased to get the KO,” he said.

Saemapetch was preparing for the fight with Kulabdam last year but was forced to withdraw on doctor’s orders. He knows what to expect from the 2017 Sports Writer’s ‘fighter of the year’,

“Kulabdam is a very dangerous fighter, his two best weapons are his hard punches and his low kicks, he can be a little unpredictable form wise though and I have seen some weaknesses in his game in his last couple of fights.”

Early ending

Kulabdam was well beaten by Rodlek in the final of the bantamweight tournament. This gives Saemapetch a lot of confidence heading into Friday’s fight,

“I have a decision win over Rodlek who managed to beat Kulabdam clearly, scoring two knockdowns. I know Kulabdam is very dangerous, but my gameplan will be to deal with his hard punches and low kicks. He is also slower than me that will give me an advantage, I am happy to trade with him, but I will try and fight smart and use more weapons. If I get the chance to end the fight early, I will.”

Saemapetch challenged Nong-O Gaiyanghadao for his bantamweight title at ONE: ‘Edge of Greatness’ in 2019. He was stopped in the fourth round but it was an entertaining fight and the 27 year old would love to run it back,

“If I get the chance to fight Nong-O again for his title I would happily take that fight but If I can beat Kulabdam I would like to try fighting under kickboxing rules and face Captain Petchyindeeacademy.”

Aggressive style

Kulabdam was the number one pound for pound fighter in the sport a few year’s ago. But Saemapetch sees signs that his opponent is starting to slow down,

“There’s nothing for me to be scared of. He can be unpredictable when he is in top form, and it will be very difficult to beat him, but from his last couple fights, he’s shown a lot of weak points.”

Saemapetch is aware his opponent has a few tricks up his sleeve but does not think Kulabdam is fast enough to catch him,

“Kulabdam has an aggressive style he likes to move forward and act crazy in the fight. He is well-known for his good combinations, low kicks, and heavy punches, but I think he is slower than me, which means I can block his weapons.”

Saemapetch certainly isn’t taking Kulabdam lightly. But having seen Rodlek knock him down a couple of times he is confident he will enjoy similar success,

“I will not underestimate him but if Rodlek beat him so clearly, I think I can beat him, too.”