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“Heart is essential to being a fighter” - Jackie Buntan talks about surreal experience learning from the legendary Sangtiennoi

Jackie Buntan (left), Sangtiennoi (right) [Photo: ONE Championship]
Jackie Buntan (left), Sangtiennoi (right) [Photo: ONE Championship]
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Atilano Diaz

Jackie Buntan is one of the hottest tickets in ONE Super Series right now. However, the reason why Buntan is where she’s at in her career right now is heavily because of the people behind the scenes guiding her.

That would be her coach at Boxing Works in California, former fighter Bryan Popejoy and, surprisingly, the late legendary Thai warrior Sangtiennoi Sor.Rungroj.

In a recent interview with ONE Championship, Buntan talked about meeting Sangtiennoi and the impact he has had on her career, as well as the biggest lesson she learned from the legendary athlete.

Buntan said:

“I've met [Sangtiennoi] before in the past. He and my coach Bryan are like dear friends. You know, Sangtiennoi used to come to California and do seminars here at Boxing Works. I've met him here in LA many times. And I think it was just kind of surreal, being able to be in his homeland in Thailand, have lunch with the guy you know. We were actually at Brian's wife's house over there in Thailand. So Brian's family and his wife's family are very tight-knit, very close to Sangtiennoi and their family.”

The Filipino-American Muay Thai sensation continued:

“I've only been to Thailand once and I wasn't able to train at his gym when I went. I did meet up with him very briefly for lunch, but I think the biggest thing I can take away from the guy is hard work and heart is essential to not just being a fighter, but just going on and living everyday life.”

Indeed, heart is a prerequisite to becoming a world champion at the highest level of competition, which Jackie Buntan aspires to be.

Sadly, Sangtiennoi passed away last year at the age of 54, after he took his own life.


Jackie Buntan likes to keep her tight-knit circle small

Jackie Buntan knows how important it is to have the right people around to guide a fighter’s career, which is why she chooses to keep her team small and tight-knit. She says she has been working with the same people since she started training and it is the secret to her success.

“I'd say my circle is quite small. It's definitely just those people. Bryan Popejoy, Nick Curson [strength and conditioning] as my two coaches. I have the same team here at Boxing Works. That's the only gym I've ever been with starting when I was 11 years old. I've always been with Bryan and Boxing Works, I was extremely, extremely grateful and lucky to have stumbled across these people and just have them ride with me, until now.”

Buntan was last seen in action in September of 2021, winning a unanimous decision against Daniela Lopez. She’s deep in training now, preparing for her first fight of 2022, which could come very soon.


Edited by Harvey Leonard
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