ONE: ‘Sam-A’ looks to add Kickboxing World Title to his trophy case

ABS-CBN Sports on Dec 04, 2019 11:26 AM
ONE: ‘Sam-A’ looks to add Kickboxing Title to his collection
“I’m really excited and nervous but I need to just focus on doing my best. I don’t know the result, but I will do my very best and [I] want to thank ONE for the opportunity.” - Sam-A Gaiyanghadao (Photo: ONE Championship)

Muay Thai legend Sam-A Gaiyanghadao looks to make a splash in the world of kickboxing when he headlines ONE Championship’s final show for the year, ONE: MARK OF GREATNESS.

Sam-A battles Wang “Golden Boy” Junguang for the inaugural ONE Strawweight Kickboxing World Title on 6 December at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 

With a career spanning for nearly three-decades, Sam-A will now get the experience of battling in kickboxing for the first time, and he is thankful to do that against such a skilled athlete. 

“I’ve wanted to fight in kickboxing for a long time now. I want to know what it feels like,” he said.

“I’ve got a lot of experience in Muay Thai, but now I am coming to kickboxing for the first time and contesting for a title.” 

“I’m really excited and nervous but I need to just focus on doing my best. I don’t know the result, but I will do my very best and [I] want to thank ONE for the opportunity.”

The 36-year-old will certainly have to adjust. There are similarities between kickboxing and Muay Thai – but the two sports are a whole lot different than what the eye suggests. 

For one, Gaiyanghadao will have to be active in moving around the ring, a bit different from when he used to stay in the pockets and trade blows with opponents in “the art of eight limbs.” 

Elbows, one of the main components of Muay Thai, are also not allowed in kickboxing. 

“I have to change my style. I need to be more aggressive and throw combos,” the Thai said. 

“You can’t stand still like in Muay Thai. In kickboxing, you’ve got to move a lot more. In Muay Thai you stand, block, and think. I have to keep reminding myself in training not to elbow!”

Focusing on his opponent, Sam-A expects a fast start from his Chinese foe, and he promises to be ready for it.

 “His punches are strong and fast. He’s going to be really aggressive and strong in the first few rounds, and I’ll need to watch for this,” he said. 

 But the Singapore-stationed athlete did see some points of weakness in Wang that he can exploit in the explosive main-event.

 “I don’t think he has the best defense and he leaves openings. I will try to capitalize on this and use my style to circle around. I don’t want to get in close and will use my long-range weapons like my kick.”

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