The Million Dollar Baby” Sangmanee Klong SuanPluResort is hoping to challenge for Nong-O Gaiyanghadao's ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Title.
But first, he must get past “Left Meteorite” Kulabdam Sor. Jor. Piek Uthai in the ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai Tournament semifinals this Friday, 21 August, in the main event of ONE: NO SURRENDER III.
That bout in Bangkok, Thailand, will determine who faces tournament finalist Saemapetch Fairtex, with the winner then taking on Nong-O, who's successfully defended the belt three times since claiming it in February 2019.
“The belt itself is beautiful. I saw when the other [athletes] wore it. There were applause and cheers [from the crowd],” said Sangmanee, who will be one of seven World Champions competing in ONE: NO SURRENDER III.
“I liked that moment and I want to reach that level, so I am trying to improve my skills to be there. I will improve to be my best and challenge the champion.”
In the semifinals, he will need to contend with Kulabdam, a dangerous southpaw striker with a serious knack for knockouts.
“He is a skilled boxer and an aggressive puncher,” Sangmanee said.
“It will be a challenge because the gloves are small, and a punching-style boxer will have an advantage. So, I need to prepare my body, try my best, and stay focused.”
Moreover, “The Million Dollar Baby” knows that focus is only half the battle. When the hands start flying, he’ll need to deploy the weapon he's most known for – his punishing left kick.
“I will use my agility, flee from his attacks, and try my best to block his punches,” he said. “I believe that my kicks will be faster than his. I will use this, too.”
While achieving the victory is his primary goal, Sangmanee will also be aiming for a spectacular finish.
“I need the audience to be entertained,” he said. “Even in Thailand and foreign countries, people want to see a KO. I want the KO, but I can’t let my guard down because I would be knocked out instead.”
Catch ONE: NO SURRENDER III this Friday, 21 August, in Bangkok, Thailand, live on Hotstar, Star Sports Select, the ONE Championship YouTube channel, or the ONE Super App at 6 p.m. India Standard Time (IST).
Published 20 Aug 2020, 12:01 IST