'Brothers' Saemapetch, Tawanchai face off

'Brothers' Saemapetch, Tawanchai face off

Thai fighter Tawanchai PK Saenchai Muaythaigym.
Thai fighter Tawanchai PK Saenchai Muaythaigym.

There’s been a shake-up to One Championship’s first event of 2022 — One: Heavy Hitters at the Singapore Indoor Stadium tonight.

The original co-main event clash between One light-heavyweight kickboxing world champion Roman Kryklia and Marat “The Butcher” Aygun has been cancelled because of Covid-19 protocols.

Now, taking their place will be two of Thailand’s top Muay Thai fighters — No.1 bantamweight One Saemapetch Fairtex and Tawanchai PK Saenchai Muaythaigym.

Both men have history, but truth be told, their history lies outside of the ring.

Saemapetch and Tawanchai are friends who often confide in each other and train together.

Having said that, both fighters know that this bout was inevitable.

“We can’t escape this fight. The path leads us to face each other,” Tawanchai said.

“I feel like it is just a sport. We fight each other in the ring and hug each other when the job is done. We are still brothers.”

Saemapetch echoed similar sen-timents.

“It’s inevitable,” he said. “We’ll do our best as fighters.”

Saemapetch has been a staple in One’s all-striking league, One Super Series, having racked up an impressive 6-2 record.

He already defeated almost all the top-ranked bantamweights and challenged divisional king Nong-O Gaiyanghadao.

Tawanchai had a successful debut, stopping Sean “Clubber” Clancy before temporarily moving up to featherweight to challenge Sitthichai “Killer Kid” Sitsongpeenong but coming up short.

The winner of this bout could get a crack at Nong-O sometime this year.

With so much riding on the line, how do these two separate competition and friendship? A simple shift in mindset.

“This is just a game. We each have a goal, and we have to go for it. Don’t worry — neither of us will hold off as long as we are in the circle,” Saemapetch said.

Tawanchai was equally as confident but assures they will still be friends when the dust settles.

“We talked about fighting each other. I said to him, ‘It’s okay, bro. If we have to face each other in the circle, we will do our duty. Outside the ring, we are always brothers’,” Tawanchai said.

Today’s programme will be shown live on AIS Play at 6.30pm while Thairath TV will air it at 9.30pm.

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