Tawanchai claims SWAT's Fighter of the Year award
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Tawanchai claims SWAT's Fighter of the Year award

Muay Thai star Tawanchai PK Saenchai has been sensational in the ring.
Muay Thai star Tawanchai PK Saenchai has been sensational in the ring.

The prestigious 2023 Sports Writers Association of Thailand awards were handed over on May 21, and Tawanchai PK Saenchai bagged the Fighter of the Year trophy at the ceremony.

The ONE featherweight Muay Thai world champion received the accolade in the non-traditional Muay Thai category, which the Sports Writers Association created last year in response to the rise in popularity of three-round Muay Thai.

Tawanchai competes in ONE Championship and, with the exception of five-round world title fights, the promotion hosts three-round Muay Thai contests in 4-ounce gloves.

The Thai superstar earned his latest piece of silverware with a bumper campaign over the last 12 months during which the 25-year-old reeled off four victories against elite opposition.

Tawanchai's remarkable year began in February when he needed just 49 seconds to successfully defend his featherweight Muay Thai crown with a crushing leg kick that rendered Jamal Yusupov unable to continue.

He then surged into the featherweight kickboxing top five with a pair of wins under the other striking rule set that ONE offers.

At ONE Fight Night 13, Tawanchai claimed another limb when he broke the arm of Georgian veteran Davit Kiria with a third-round kick that shook Bangkok's Lumpinee Boxing Stadium.

He then triumphed over "Smokin Jo" Nattawut by unanimous decision after a wild back-and-forth three-round battle in October.

Tawanchai capped his year with another ONE featherweight Muay Thai world title defence, this time against now-interim featherweight kickboxing king Superbon at ONE Lumpinee 46 in December. The majority decision victory extended his win streak to seven.

The PK Saenchai Muaythaigym representative will renew hostilities with Nattawut this weekend when the pair face off in the ONE 167 headliner, where Tawanchai's 26-pound gold belt is on the line.

The stacked card goes down at the Impact Arena, on Saturday. Tickets are still available at https://www.thaiticketmajor.com/sport/one-167.html and doors open at 6am.

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