Tawanchai-Nattawut trilogy a possibility
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Tawanchai-Nattawut trilogy a possibility

Tawanchai PK Saenchai, left, and Jo Nattawut after the fight on Saturday.
Tawanchai PK Saenchai, left, and Jo Nattawut after the fight on Saturday.

Tawanchai PK Saenchai and "Smokin" Jo Nattawut could add a third chapter to their storied rivalry before year's end, according to ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong.

Thai superstar Tawanchai successfully defended his ONE featherweight Muay Thai world title against No.3 ranked Nattawut in the ONE 167 main event on Saturday. There, the 25-year-old edged out his compatriot by majority decision after a pulsating five-round battle.

Like the first meeting between the pair -- an action-packed unanimous decision victory for Tawanchai under kickboxing rules in 2023 -- the result has divided opinions.

Many in the crowd at Bangkok's Impact Arena felt that Nattawut should've been crowned the new featherweight Muay Thai king.

As the dust settled on another highly competitive fight between Tawanchai and Nattawut, Chatri also sided with the challenger.

"I thought Jo Nattawut won. It was a very close fight, very close. I thought Jo did enough to win. For me, it would have gone to damage, and Tawanchai had more damage on him than Jo did," he said.

"But I want to do a rematch in Atlanta. That's the home of Jo Nattawut. That would be amazing."

ONE will make its return to the United States with two events later this year, beginning with ONE 168: Denver on Sept 7. But the second show, ONE 170, makes a lot of sense for Tawanchai v Nattawut III given that it takes place in "Smokin Jo's" adopted home of Atlanta on Nov 9.

While Chatri stopped short of confirming a date and location for the potential trilogy, he did confirm that Tawanchai's featherweight Muay Thai crown would be on the line.

"I'm seeing the rematch happening this year, but I'm not sure if it's happening in America. And I want to address what I said previously, even though I believed that Jo won, I'm not the judge. Fans in America are watching this fight right now and have taken an interest in this fight too," he said.

"I gave 52 percent for Jo and 48 percent for Tawanchai. But once again, this is my opinion. I'm not the judge. This is a very, very close fight. That is my opinion.

"[The rematch] will be in Muay Thai and there will be a belt in line, too."

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