Sittichai Sitsongpeenong was not expecting to return to Muay Thai. Having reached the very top in the more lucrative world of kickboxing the former Glory lightweight champion has no need to switch codes.

But if there is one thing that Covid-19 has taught us it is to expect the unexpected. When Tayfun Özcan withdrew from their kickboxing contest with an injury Sittichai was offered a Muay Thai fight and he didn’t hesitate to accept.

Sittichai’s last Muay Thai fight was in 2015 but the former Lumpinee welterweight champion had no hesitation in accepting the unexpected offer,

“I was a bit shocked and excited when I found out my opponent decided to discontinue. But I’m more excited when I get to come back (to) Muay Thai.”

Heavy weapons

Although it is a long time since Sittichai last used his elbows the 29 year old is confident he has the skills required to beat Tawanchai PKSaenchaigym who is a top fighter on the current stadium scene,

“Winning over Tawanchai is going to prove that I am a Muay Thai fighter who can apply the art of Thai boxing better than other Muay Thai boxers. I (will) prove that I’m a Muay Thai boxer who is not only good at kickboxing,” he said.

One factor in Sittichai’s favour will be the weight with Tawanchai originally booked to compete at bantamweight,

“I’ve been in this weight range, and I’m sure I have more forceful weapons. He might not be able to stand my strikes, while I could stand his strikes. I’m heavier with heavier weapons.”

Rising star

With Tawanchai agreeing to the featherweight fight at relatively late notice Sittichai is understandably confident that size will be on his side. But Tawanchai is seven years his junior and he will be wary of his opponent’s speed,

“Tawanchai is a smart boxer with beautiful and fast strikes. He is a young, healthy rising star. The most dangerous weapon from Tawanchai would be his neck kick and his left kick, and also his elbow strikes. His elbows are deadly.”

Sittichai might be making an unscheduled foray back into the world of Muay Thai. But if he beats Tawanchai the 29 year old won’t be in a hurry to return to kickboxing.

Sittichai is already dreaming of winning the featherweight Muay Thai belt,

“That would be a great opportunity if I win over this match and get to fight with Petchmorakot for the championship. That would be a great chance for me to snatch the belt from him.”

No surprises

The smaller gloves should favour the bigger man and Sittichai says he was already expecting to fight Ozcan in MMA gloves so there are no surprises there,

“I have expected already that I would get to fight in small gloves so I’m very happy.”

And while the opportunity to compete in Muay Thai again was sudden and unexpected Sittichai said that the opportunity to try different styles was part of the ONE Championship attraction,

“I’m glad. I wanted to be a part of it because ONE Championship has many types of boxing, such as Muay Thai and kickboxing.”

Having lost to Superbon Banchamek any ambitions Sittichai harboured of challenging for the featherweight kickboxing title are surely on the backburner. Muay Thai might provide a more direct route to a ONE Championship belt and he knows a win over Tawanchai would potentially put him in pole position for a shot at Petchmorakot.