Sundell v Diachkova: Keys to victory
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Sundell v Diachkova: Keys to victory

Smilla Sundell, right, during her fight against Allycia Hellen Rodrigues last year.
Smilla Sundell, right, during her fight against Allycia Hellen Rodrigues last year.

A world title firefight sits atop a stacked ONE Fight Night 22: Sundell v Diachkova this weekend.

Divisional queen Smilla Sundell defends her ONE strawweight Muay Thai world title against Russian power puncher Natalia Diachkova tomorrow.

Neither fighter is known to take a backward step, so here is how each can get the job done at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium.

Sundell's body work

Throughout her unbeaten four-fight run in ONE, Sundell has left her opponents' faces bearing the marks of battle. But perhaps the most underrated part of the Swede's game is her body work.

"The Hurricane" uses punishing left hooks to the body that she expertly times to ensure it hits the target. The 19-year-old phenom also mixes in step-up knees to enhance her attacks downstairs.

It's through her diligent body work that Sundell can then land shots to her opponents' heads and, ultimately, close the show.

Against Diachkova, this approach will be key again if the Fairtex Training Center representative can time her body attacks to whiz under her foe's headhunting punches.

Diachkova's power punches

Diachkova's ferocious punching power will cause the most danger for Sundell.

"Karelian Lynx" has finished three of her four ONE opponents inside one round with punches, and she plans on making the ONE strawweight Muay Thai world champion victim No.4.

Diachkova's straight right hand has done the damage on each occasion. After the punch, she often swarms her stricken foes with a volley of punishing blows until the referee intervenes.

That very weapon is the key to slowing down the onrushing Sundell. And Diachkova's power punches will likely deter the champ if she can land often and early.

Swede's clinch

Sundell's height makes her a tricky proposition in the clinch.

The Swedish sensation can fire off knees in close quarters with relative ease and pinpoint accuracy. But she'll have to cross through Diachkova's punching range to get there.

If Sundell can do that safely, then she can get her hands on her rival and break her down with smothering clinch work and breathtaking knees.

This ploy could be especially effective in the opening round if she wants to negate the early onslaught that Diachkova typically brings.

Russian's composure

Sundell's previous opponents have been unable to deal with her relentless pressure, but it's in this chaos that Diachkova thrives.

The 29-year-old challenger is an expert at goading her foes into a punching exchange, and she'll need to do the same to get her hands on Sundell.

Once fists start flying, Diachkova is outstanding at keeping her wits about her and placing shots perfectly to turn the tide in her favour.

With her undeniable power, all it takes is for one punch to land, and then we could have a new strawweight Muay Thai queen.

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