Tukkatatong Petpayathai, makes his return on ONE: ‘Masters of Fate’ this coming Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena in the Philippines. The former Channel 7 stadium Champion has got his international career off to an impressive start.

On his ONE Super Series debut last year he beat French star Mehdi Zatout and then went on to defeat American Ognjen Topic. He hasn’t fought in the last year but says he has been keeping busy and staying active,

“This past year I’ve been focusing on training hard and teaching at Evolve. Now’s the perfect time to get back in the cage so I’m excited. My experience in ONE has been great so far. I had two good opponents already and it was great to pick up wins. The stage ONE has is huge so I’m happy to be able to show what I’m made of to the world.”

The ONE Super Series represents a big change for a fighter used to competing in the Bangkok stadiums. The Buriram native admits he is more cautious when fighting with the smaller gloves,

“Fighting in 4 oz gloves hasn’t changed my approach too much. There are certain times you have to be a bit more careful defending, but apart from that it’s not too much of a change and I have enjoyed it so far.”

Samurai spirit

Standing opposite Tukkatatong on Friday night will be Japanese warrior Hiroaki Suzuki, a tough, determined fighter that epitomizes the Samurai spirit.

Suzuki has had three fights already for the promotion. He won his first two fights, earning a bantamweight title shot but came up short against Nong-O Gaiyanghadao, at ONE: ‘Warriors of Light’.

He has also come up against some other big name Thai fighters in the past. He scored a decision win over Bovy Sor Udomson and a stoppage win over Pornsaneh Sitmonchai on route to winning the 2014 Shootboxing S-Cup 65kgs World tournament.

Tukkatatong is under no illusions that this will be an easy fight for him. He is well aware of his opponents strengths,

“Suzuki is a great fighter. He fought my teammate Nong-O before so I know him quite well. He has good punches, is technically strong and is very durable. In his fight against Nong-O, he took a lot of punishment but was still able to keep going.”

Readiness and confidence

Although it has been a while since Tukkatatong has been in action, he spoke of his readiness and confidence going into the match,

“I’m very ready for the fight in Manila. It’s my first in a long time so I’ve had a lot of time to focus and work on my game and improve. I’m in great shape and training has been great. I can’t wait to put on a performance for the fans to enjoy.”

Despite being a veteran of over 250 fights Tukkatatong still feels he has a lot to offer the sport and is ready to face whoever is put in front of him,

“I want to keep on winning, putting on good shows for the fans, and keep rising to the top.”

However, unlike his Evolve MMA teammate Nong-O, who faces Saemapetch Fairtex at ONE: ‘Edge of Greatness’ later this month, he hopes to avoid facing any of the Thai fighters on the roster,

“I’ll fight anyone ONE wants me to but I would prefer to fight foreign opponents at this time in my career as I’ve been fighting Thai opponents since I was a child. Foreign opponents have slightly different styles and also it is a chance for me to represent Thailand and show the world that Thais can compete with the best from around the globe.”

Finally Tukkatatong spoke of what it means to fight for a promotion which has a truly international reach,

“For most of my career I fought in Thailand but ONE is giving me a chance to show my skills to a much bigger audience. I am excited to fight in places like Macau and Manila and am proud to represent the sport of Muay Thai.”