Savvas Michael returns at ONE: ‘Warrior’s Code’ tomorrow after a five month injury enforced absence. The young young Cypriot sensation was last seen clutching his arm in agony at the Impact Arena in Bangkok.
At ONE: ‘Dreams of Gold’ he faced Lerdsila Champairtour. After a fairly even opening round Michael came out in the second and threw a knee at the former Rajadamnern champion.
The Thai veteran is a master at off balancing and unsettling his opponents and caught the knee and threw Michael to the canvas. He landed awkwardly on his arm and dislocated his elbow.
Michael, who faces Taiki Naito tomorrow, says he had to dig deep mentally as he looked to recover and restart his career,
“I can’t say something went wrong in the fight with Lerdsila it was just a bad landing. No one knows what would have happened in round two or three as it only happened in the beginning of round two. I take it now as a lesson though , everything that happens to me is a lesson for me.”
Michael feels he should have started the fight faster,
“I went into round one so slow like I was fighting in the stadiums. I’m learning to adapt to this new fast style three round fights. So I picked myself up and learned the lessons from that fight and just keep learning and maturing as much as I can in this game.”
To go from the thrill of fighting for ONE Championship in Bangkok, Michael’s adopted home, to the devastation of suffering a serious injury was tough for the young fighter,
“The first two weeks after it happened, I was so depressed about it and was looking at it in the wrong way. I woke up one day and just analysed everything what went wrong, during fight camp and throughout the year and then I was on full recovery mode for my elbow. All I cared about was to heal and to get back in the ring asap.”
It was a far cry from Michael’s debut fight on ONE Super Series where he stopped former Lumpinee champion Singtongnoi Por Telakun in the opening round,
“When I got the call to make my debut on ONE against the legend Singtongnoi. Not just a legend inside the ring but a legend in life too, I was just honoured. Just fighting him and looking into his eyes and see that warrior spirit he’s got was just a beautiful experience to be honest.”
Michael started out in Muay Thai at the tender age of 6 back home in Cyprus. He was a regular visitor to Thailand before joining the Petchyindee Gym full time a year’s ago,
“I moved to Thailand once I was 17, but I was going and coming since I was 11 or 12. Moving to Thailand though was a whole different ball game. My training suddenly went up, my lifestyle changed dramatically. It was a mental warfare in the beginning. To be honest I didn’t really like it at first, it was just super hard and I didn’t think I could last this lifestyle but I always bit down on my gum shield and kept going.”
Having started at such an early age Savvas had had his eye on the same goal for over a decade,
“I have been dreaming to become the best Muay Thai fighter since the age of 6 so I wouldn’t let anything stop me. I want to go down in the history books of Muay Thai, I am blessed that I am in the era where Muay Thai is growing and the whole world is watching too. I just want to be the best I can be!”
One of the most talked about issues with fighting on ONE Championship is the smaller 4oz MMA style gloves, but Michael is unfazed by wearing them,
“With 4oz gloves, the game changes completely, that’s what some fighters don’t understand. You can’t block the same and you can’t move the same, you have to be fast and accurate. I personally don’t mind them. As long as the sport get the publicity it deserves and the fans are excited, I will wear them and excite the fans! I use small bag gloves for training some days and other days the 4oz gloves, so I am always prepared.”
Michael made a lightening fast recovery from the injury from the Lerdsila fight and has already been back in action, winning the WBC 135lbs title with a stoppage win over Dennapho Sor Thanayalak at Lumpinee stadium at the end of December and was delighted to surprise the doctors with his speed of recovery.
“It felt amazing to be back in the ring before the doctors even said I could be. Winning a world title in Lumpinee stadium has always been a dream so it was magical in a way but again I don’t let it get to my head, I made many mistakes in that fight that are being corrected at the moment. I still have a long way to go in the sport still and I still have a long way to go to climb the Thai rankings too. I am hungry and excited to be on this journey.”
Michael is hungry for success and is not scared of anyone put in his way. He has a fight with Seksan Or Wanmuang penciled in for the end of the month and says he is ready for anything,
“At the moment, there is nobody particular I want to fight. I want to fight anyone thrown at me by ONE, I don’t care who it is, my job is to always be ready and I always am.”