Nattawut is keen on One world crown
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Nattawut is keen on One world crown

‘Smokin ’Jo Nattawut.
‘Smokin ’Jo Nattawut.

“Smokin” Jo Nattawut is gearing up for what could be his last chance to cap his career with the coveted ONE world title.

The Thai veteran challenges ONE featherweight Muay Thai world champion Tawanchai PK Saenchai for the latter’s crown in the ONE 167 main event on June 8.

The highly anticipated rematch takes place at the Impact Arena.

The Atlanta-based striker occupies the No.3 slot in the divisional rankings.

After Tawanchai defeated No.1 contender Superbon Singha Mawynn in his most recent fight, and with second-ranked Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong booked to face Masaaki Noiri at ONE 167, Nattawut knew that the road had been cleared for his chance at glory.

“I thought I was going to get the fight. I looked at the rankings — they have rankings for a reason, right? So, we all knew it was coming, and also the fans of ONE wanted to see it,” he said.

“And Tawanchai just beat Superbon, too, so it’s a perfect time for the fight to happen.”

Nattawut and Tawanchai went to war this past September under kickboxing rules in what was one of the most action-packed fights of 2023.

After taking the fight on short notice in place of the injured Superbon, Nattawut exceeded many fans’ expectations when he pushed the featherweight Muay Thai king all the way. Ultimately, however, he came up short in a razor-thin unanimous decision.

Fans have been clamouring for the second instalment of the all-Thai rivalry, and Nattawut simply sees it as an extension of their first encounter.

“This is just like the next round to me. The plan is not complicated. We just go in there and see what’s going to happen and figure it out from there. Going with the flow would be the best way, for me,” he said.

“There’s going to be a lot of kicks, a lot of hands exchanged. That’s all I can see, but if it’s anything else, we will have to see in the ring. Things always change, things always happen in the moment. All I can say is this is going to be a fun fight.”

Nattawut has amassed a slew of titles across his storied 83-fight career.

Along the way he has won the WMC Muay Thai world title, as well as titles in two divisions under the Lion Fight banner in his adopted home of the United States.

But the 26-pound ONE Championship belt has eluded the 34-year-old, and he desperately wants to add the biggest prize of all to his decorated trophy cabinet.

“Tawanchai, he’s the king of the division. If you want to beat him, you have to be really, really good. Really clever,” he said.

“The world title would mean my work has been successful. I’m at the end of my career. Everywhere I go, I always get the title. So this is another belt to prove that I am really a champion.”

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