Sam-A Gaiyanghadao has a huge task ahead of him in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, but if he can overcome the challenge, the Thai hero will write his name into the record books once again.
Despite having over 400 professional Muay Thai bouts to his name, Sam-A has a slight case of nerves ahead of this contest, especially since it will be his first time competing under a new rule set.
“I feel the pressure. 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,” he said.
“I’m really excited and nervous, but I need to just focus on doing my best.”
To prepare for this bout, the Evolve star had to adjust his Muay Thai approach, which he has been honing since he was a child.
“I have to change my style. I need to be more aggressive and throw combos,” he 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.”
Competing at strawweight is a confidence-booster for the 36-year-old.
As the inaugural ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion, Sam-A has already proven he can excel at a different weight class.
However, strawweight is where he feels most comfortable, and the Thai is confident he will perform at the highest level.
“Strawweight is my weight class. I felt great and a lot more dexterous,” he said. “I was more relaxed and definitely felt lighter.”
The Singapore-based Thai will need to move and counter quickly against Wang, an Enfusion World Champion from China.
Riding an eight-bout win streak, “Golden Boy” possesses a tough combination of speed and power.
Sam-A has prepared extensively by studying his opponent’s previous matches, and he has formulated a striking game plan to exploit some of Wang’s weaknesses.
“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,” Sam-A said.
“I don’t think he has the best defense and leaves openings. I will try to capitalize on this and use my style to circle around.”
It is no easy feat to compete in a new discipline, but Sam-A treasures this opportunity to prove himself on the global stage for martial arts.
“This means a lot to me, getting an opportunity like this, especially my first time fighting kickboxing,” he said.
“It isn’t something easy to change styles and come into a championship fight, but I want to prove myself.”
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