Carrillo vows to demolish Saemapetch
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Carrillo vows to demolish Saemapetch

Nico Carrillo of Scotland.
Nico Carrillo of Scotland.

Scotland's Nico Carrillo has left a trail of destruction on his way to the No.1 spot in the bantamweight Muay Thai rankings, and he plans to confirm his status as the next challenger for the divisional crown by claiming another big scalp.

"The King of the North" faces fourth-ranked Saemapetch Fairtex in a pivotal contest at ONE Fight Night 23: Ok v Rasulov on Saturday at the Lumpinee Boxing Stadium.

Carrillo surged to the front of the queue in ONE Championship with a destructive four-fight run since his first appearance last year. But in 14-fight ONE veteran Saemapetch, he has another stiff test standing between him and a dream showdown with British divisional title-holder Jonathan "The General" Haggerty.

"I know I have a serious contender in front of me. I don't overlook him in any way. He's up there as one of the hardest hitters in the division," he said.

"But I'm at a stage in my career where I haven't been beaten in a long time, and I'm very confident in my ability that I can handle anything in my fights."

Saemapetch has long been a cornerstone of ONE's bantamweight Muay Thai division.

The 29-year-old unsuccessfully challenged for divisional gold in 2019, when he was stopped by Thai legend Nong-O Hama. The former Channel 7 Boxing Stadium champion has since added six more wins to his record under the ONE banner, taking his overall tally to 127.

Despite his opponent's credentials, Carrillo thinks that he sees a weakness.

"When he's the aggressor, he's awesome. But when he's pressured, he crumbles. They all crumble when they face me. Saemapetch will, just like everyone else. They all fall. Nobody has survived me yet," he said.

"A knockout is coming. It will be calculated and it will come. I will find it. I always do."

The ONE bantamweight Muay Thai world title will be on the line when two-sport bantamweight king Haggerty defends his crown against ONE flyweight kickboxing world champion Superlek Kiatmoo9 at ONE 168: Denver on Sept 6.

If Carrillo can defeat Saemapetch at ONE Fight Night 23, the 25-year-old believes he will be next to face the winner of Haggerty v Superlek.

"When I beat Saemapetch and you look at my resume and see I've beaten fighters like him, Nong-O, Seksan [Or Kwanmuang], and others, the only thing that says I'm not the best in the world is a golden strap," he said.

"It's just a case of me holding my position. I beat Saemapetch and then I'm really undeniable after that. I am certain that I should get the winner of Haggerty versus Superlek."

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