Muay Thai icon Nong-O Gaiyanghadao is confident he will leave the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand with the ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Championship still wrapped around his waist.
On Friday, 10 May, the legendary striker will defend his coveted title against Japanese sensation Hiroaki “Kaibutsukun” Suzuki at ONE: WARRIORS OF LIGHT, and just as he did against Han Zi Hao three months ago, he is looking to leave the ring in a similar fashion.
“This is my third time competing in Bangkok for ONE Championship, and it is my favorite venue. I feel honored to be able to perform for the Thai people, and promise a true display of Muay Thai and all of its techniques,” the 33-year-old declared.
“I feel I perform my best here when I feel the energy from the crowd. I want them to know that I’m ready to return to Thailand and successfully defend my World Title.”
Nong-O’s mastery of “the art of eight limbs” is by far more superior to anyone in his division. In fact, before striking ONE World Title gold, he was a four-time Lumpinee Stadium Muay Thai World Champion in Bangkok.
The Thai hero could have his work slightly cut out against the Japanese Shoot Boxing Lightweight World Champion, who possesses lightning-quick strikes and incredible power.
“He’s very strong and has really good punches. I don’t think he can beat me though. He’s a lot slower than me,” Nong-O explained.
“Nonetheless, I’m not planning to show off, nor am I overconfident. I’m still training very hard. I’ll need to watch for his punches because the small gloves make a big difference.”
Both athletes are undefeated in ONE Super Series, the promotion’s all-striking branch.
Suzuki has been impressive so far, sealing a delightful victory over Deividas Danyla and a late TKO stoppage over Malaysia’s Muay Thai star Mohammed “Jordan Boy” Bin Mahmoud.
Nong-O, however, has been slightly more impressive. He secured a trio of unanimous decision victories, capped off with his victory over Han for the ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Title in February.
“I don’t feel pressured to be the main event. I’m just really excited to be fighting at home again, and to continue to work with ONE Championship,” he said.
“It is really different competing at ONE. The audience is more international, and my opponents are from all different striking backgrounds. It’s a brand new experience for me, and I love it.
“You can fight your own style, and have fun in there. I’m having such a great time with the promotion – it’s modern and different.”
Expect fireworks when these two lock horns in a five-round World Title main event on Friday.