Savvas Michael has addressed Rodtang Jitmuangnon’s withdrawal from tomorrow morning’s flyweight Grand Prix semi finals in an emotional Facebook post. The two men were scheduled to face off at ONE on Amazon Prime 1 in Singapore.

But Rodtang withdrew after apparently being unable to provide a urine sample for the hydration tests. Michael was devastated to see the bout fall through and thinks that the Thai might have been looking for an excuse not to fight:

Replacement opponent

Instead Michael has been matched with Panpayak Jitmuangnon, who had originally been scheduled to compete in the alternate bout. But having spent months preparing for Rodtang he doesn’t sound too happy about the change of opponent and writes,

“I am now going to be fighting a legend of Muay Thai. A completely different style. Panpayak is a better fighter than Rodtang. He is 3x fighter of the year and multiple times Thailand champion and beaten all the best names in Muay Thai.”

While Panpayak is a few years past his peak he was the best Muay Thai fighter on the planet at one stage. He is the only fighter to ever won the Sports Writer’s ‘Fighter of the Year’ award, the biggest accolade in the sport, three years in a row.

Hearts and feelings

In a cryptic Instagram post uploaded in the early hours of the morning Rodtang writes that,

“Our hearts and our feelings are the most important.”

It is worth noting that he speaks very little English, and something might have been lost in translation when the Muay Thai fighter was looking for a suitable quote. But fans could also take it to mean that Rodtang was not in the right state of mind to compete tomorrow morning.

Rodtang and Panpayak are former training partners. They both represented the Jitmuangnon camp during their stadium heyday and the latter still does.

These days Panpayak is based in Singapore where he works as an instructor at Evolve MMA. He had initially been scheduled to take on Sherzod Kabutov in the alternate bout but the latter is the odd one out and now finds himself without an opponent.