Petchtanong set for long-awaited return
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Petchtanong set for long-awaited return

: "I counted the days and months"

Petchtanong Petchfergus during his fight with Hiroki Akimoto in November 2022.
Petchtanong Petchfergus during his fight with Hiroki Akimoto in November 2022.

Former ONE bantamweight kickboxing world champion Petchtanong Petchfergus is itching to remind the world that he is still a force to be reckoned with at ONE Friday Fights 68.

The Thai star returns to action on June 28 against another former bantamweight kickboxing king, Alaverdi Ramazanov, at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium.

Petchtanong won the bantamweight kickboxing crown with a pulsating decision victory over Hiroki Akimoto in November 2022. Then he was stripped of the belt for failing an out-of-competition drug test.

Having now served his suspension, the 38-year-old revealed that he has tried to take it all in stride.

"The first feeling [when I learned I was suspended] was regret and devastation. I had just got the gold, right? But I would not let it overwhelm me. I tried hard to come back as soon as possible. I tried to review and learn from my mistakes until I could stand again," he said.

"I try to look at it positively and always look at the good side. Because if you are overwhelmed with suffering, you will be stressed. So I have to keep calm, accept it, and move on."

After more than 18 months on the sidelines, Petchtanong's return is now set.

The veteran of a staggering 415 fights could barely contain his excitement to get back to work after what he says felt like an eternity on the sidelines.

"The moment I knew I was going to fight with Alaverdi, I was happy because I had always been waiting for the time that I could get back in the ring. I counted the days and months. In fact, I've actually been preparing for six months," he said.

"It's my comeback fight. In my heart, there is only happiness and excitement. I want to show my best performance for everyone who comes to support me."

Looking to block Petchtanong's path to redemption, however, is Russian standout Ramazanov.

"Babyface Killer" has been a staple of the ONE's bantamweight striking divisions since storming onto the global stage with a stunning win over Petchmorakot Petchyindee way back in 2018.

The 29-year-old claimed the ONE bantamweight kickboxing world title the following year and lost the belt in 2021.

Petchtanong knows that he'll have to return to his pre-suspension form to get past Ramazanov, but he's confident of turning out another vintage performance next Friday.

"Alaverdi's strengths are that he is an agile and quick athlete. He is skilled. He can throw punches and kicks really fast. And he has quick footwork in and out," he said.

"I think I have an advantage over him in terms of potential, strength, durability, knowledge, and experience. I believe my adaptability and defence are better.

"This fight is going to be a classic. I don't know how it will play out in the ring, but what everyone will see is the beauty of kickboxing."

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