At ONE Fight Night 16, the trajectory of a rising star met a sudden and stark diversion. The young Thai phenom known as Supergirl Jaroonsakgym confronted a reality that was as brutal as it was instructive, at the hands of the formidable Cristina Morales. The match promised a clash of ambitions but delivered a sobering lesson in the dynamics of competitive martial arts.
As the bout commenced, an air of expectancy filled the arena, with fans eager to witness the latest chapter in the ascent of the Thai fighter dubbed “Supergirl.” Known for her formidable skills and crossover appeal in the modeling world, Jaroonsakgym entered the fray amid the buzz of media attention and the hopes of a nation steeped in martial arts tradition. However, the fight narrative veered sharply from the script from the opening moments.
Morales, seasoned and unflustered by the occasion, embarked on a tactical assault that systematically dismantled her opponent’s defenses. Her offensive salvo was relentless, culminating in a series of punches and kicks that seemed to stun the Thai fighter into a state of inaction. The typical slow start characteristic of Thai fighters, often a strategic ploy, appeared this time to be a harbinger of the unexpected outcome that was to unfold.
The precise strike that spelled the beginning of the end for Supergirl remains uncertain, yet the sequence was undeniable—a knee to the body from Morales sent a ripple of realization through the crowd. Supergirl, despite remaining upright, retreated in a rare display of capitulation, turning away from the engagement and prompting the referee to issue a standing eight count. Notably, Supergirl did not signal her intent to continue—a customary gesture in the sport that signals a fighter’s willingness and ability to fight on.
The referee’s halt to the contest drew no objection from the young star. The absence of protest was as telling as the expression of sheer disillusionment that marked her visage—a stark contrast to the confidence and poise that had become her trademark. In the lead-up to the fight, Supergirl had openly aspired to challenge for the interim atomweight kickboxing title, a dream that seemed all but dashed in the wake of her performance.
Morales, for whom this victory marked a significant rebound from a previous defeat at the hands of Meksen, seized the moment to extend words of encouragement to her vanquished foe. Her victory was not merely a testament to her fighting spirit but also a reminder of the unpredictable nature of kickboxing—where fortunes can turn on the strength of a single well-placed blow.
Supergirl’s reflections post-fight were fraught with disappointment and introspection. In a poignant acknowledgment on social media, she apologized to her fans and the ONE Championship leadership, Chatri Sityodtong, revealing that she had grappled with physical discomfort prior to the bout.
Supergirl conveyed through a social media post, “Big apologies to all my supporters for my performance and congratulations to my opponent, she’s a very good fighter.”
Despite her rigorous training and preparation, she was candid about the nausea and weakness that besieged her on fight day—a revelation that casts her performance in a more sympathetic light.
Morales’ magnanimity in victory was emblematic of the sportsmanship that underpins martial arts. She heralded Supergirl as a “top fighter,” reinforcing the ethos that setbacks are integral to the journey of a martial artist. Her own ambitions, now reinvigorated, are firmly set on future title opportunities and potential rematches with the likes of Meksen or confrontations with other top contenders such as Janet Todd.
The aftermath of ONE Fight Night 16 leaves a narrative replete with contrasts. On one side, a young fighter’s burgeoning journey hit a stumbling block, a poignant reminder that the road to greatness is fraught with unexpected challenges. On the other, a seasoned competitor reasserted her place in the kickboxing echelons, displaying the kind of resolve and experience that marks a true contender. As both fighters look ahead, the lessons of this encounter will undoubtedly shape their paths in a sport that offers no guarantees—only the relentless pursuit of excellence amidst the ever-present possibility of defeat.
She revealed her physical distress on the day of the fight, citing nausea and faintness after waking up, which was exacerbated by the consumption of energy jelly and vitamin supplements. Despite efforts to power through the discomfort with warm-ups, her condition did not improve, leading to a lackluster showing in the ring.
“For this fight I’ve been training very hard to be the most fit I’ve ever been. But this morning I after I woke up at 4am, I took energy jelly and vitamin supplements. After one more hour I felt not good in my stomach. But me and my team still decided to go to the fight because we thought I’ll get better after I did a warm-up, to sweat it out. I tried to do it to show people in the athletes’ room I’m fine, but I would do 30 seconds and I felt faint, and felt [like wanting] to throw up. I still kept warming up like that as much as I could and my team thought I would be better, and it’s too late to cancel the fight because we worked so hard. So we decided to continue fighting and hoping after getting into the ring I would get better but it wouldn’t. I really apologise for Khun Chatri [Sityodtong, ONE chairman and CEO] that I made you disappointed and thank you for giving me a big opportunity to stand in world class martial arts.”
Morales, on her part, extended support to her opponent post-match, commending Jaroonsakgym’s abilities and assuring that such setbacks are part and parcel of the sport, saying, “Supergirl is a top fighter, I would like for Supergirl to come back soon, to stay good, and stay happy for the next time.”
Morales herself is now setting her sights on higher goals, expressing a desire to compete against divisional champion Janet Todd, engage in a rematch with Meksen, or take on Phetjeeja Ormeekhun.
“The first dream is to win today and the second dream is to fight for the title. I am Cristina Morales. It is important for me the people know who I am. I am ready to fight for the title. Janet Todd is my favourite, I will like a fight with Janet Todd. She is a great fighter,” she said.
While Jaroonsakgym’s immediate future in the sport may be uncertain after this defeat, Morales is focused on leveraging her victory to propel herself toward a title challenge, underscoring the ever-shifting landscape of combat sports where triumph and setback can be separated by mere moments within the confines of the ring.