Sam-A Gaiyanghadao will be fighting for ONE Championship for the first time since 2021. The former strawweight kickboxing and Muay Thai champion will be taking on Ryan Sheehan at Lumpinee Stadium.
Sam-A never lost his kickboxing strap in a fight. The belt was made vacant after he moved back to Bangkok and started fighting in the stadiums there.
Jonathan Di Bella faced Zhang Peimian for the vacant belt at ONE 162 last year with the Canadian running out as winner. But Sam-A will be looking to recapture the title he never truly lost.
The 39 year old takes the first step on that journey on March 17th when he takes on Sheehan who is 14 years his junior. The Irishman is coming off a split decision win over another veteran, Jomhod Eminentair, that earned him the WBC 122lbs title.
But Sam-A has an impressive collection of titles of his own. He has held the ONE Championship flyweight Muay Thai title, strawweight Muay Thai title and strawweight kickboxing title.
Before that Sam-A held two Lumpinee titles and four Thailand titles, During his brief stint away from ONE Championship he captured the True4U featherweight title.
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Back to back
Sam-A is coming off back to back wins over much younger opponents in Bangkok. But there were no $50,000 USD performance bonuses being handed out on these shows and the allure of ONE Championship was clearly too great for the veteran fighter.
At ONE Friday Fights 1 Nong-O Gaiyanghadao beat Alaverdi Ramazanov. Sam-A’s former teammate picked up a performance bonus for this victory and he would surely have been watching the fight.
Nong-O is three years younger than Sam-A but has never lost a ONE Championship fight. It will be interesting to see where the latter decides to train for his upcoming fight at the Petchyindee camp refuses to allow its fighters to compete on Chatri Sityodtong’s cards.