Joseph Lasiri Confident Ahead of Rematch, Says Pressure is All on Prajanchai

November 24, 2023
From: Spartacus

The spotlight in the world of Muay Thai shines brightly on Joseph ‘The Hurricane’ Lasiri, the current ONE strawweight Muay Thai world champion. His forthcoming challenge is not just another entry in his fighting career but a high-stakes rematch against Prajanchai PK Saenchai, the revered Thai champion. This encounter is slated for ONE Friday Fights 46, promising to be a pivotal moment in both athletes’ careers.

The rematch, which will be held on December 22nd at the legendary Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, is a title unification bout that has captivated the attention of the Muay Thai community. Lasiri, holding the world title, and Prajanchai, the interim champion, will test their skills and resilience in a battle that transcends mere athletic competition.

Joseph Lasiri’s path to this critical juncture is marked by a series of arduous tests and eventual triumph. Of Italian and Moroccan descent, Lasiri’s initial foray into the ONE Championship was fraught with challenges. His introduction to the promotion in 2018 saw him face a string of defeats against some of the sport’s most formidable names, including Sam-A Gaiyanghadao and Jonathan Haggerty. However, these early setbacks laid the foundation for a remarkable comeback.

In a significant shift of momentum in 2020, Lasiri achieved critical victories against competitors like Rocky Ogden and Asahi Shinagawa. These successes were not merely wins but strong declarations of his evolving capabilities and indomitable will. These triumphs paved the way for his May 2022 showdown against Prajanchai, where Lasiri secured the strawweight Muay Thai crown with a third-round TKO, overturning expectations and rewriting his narrative in the sport.

Conversely, Prajanchai’s journey post-defeat to Lasiri illustrates resilience and determination. He has since achieved noteworthy victories against Kompet Fairtex and Sam-A, solidifying his position in the strawweight division and setting up a tantalizing rematch with Lasiri.

In anticipation of their upcoming bout, Lasiri shared his thoughts with the South China Morning Post, revealing his mindset towards competing in high-pressure environments. He stated, “I fought in Rajadamnern, and the atmosphere there is 100 percent Muay Thai. And I love this atmosphere cause it makes me feel more pressured, and when I feel [the energy], I can give 100 percent every time.” 

For Prajanchai, the rematch presents both a challenge and an opportunity. Fighting in his homeland, the stakes are heightened, not just in terms of defending national pride but also in seeking redemption. Lasiri, aware of this dynamic, noted, “In his mind, not in mine, I feel like he has more pressure because he’s gonna have to fight with me again [knowing I beat him the last time].” 

This psychological advantage is something Lasiri is acutely aware of and likely to leverage in their upcoming clash.

As the Muay Thai community eagerly awaits ONE Friday Fights 46, the central question is whether Joseph Lasiri will replicate his previous success against Prajanchai. The Italian-Moroccan fighter’s journey from an underdog to a world champion is a compelling narrative of perseverance and adaptability in the face of adversity. Alternatively, Prajanchai’s pursuit of vindication, bolstered by the support of his compatriots, adds a rich layer of intrigue to the rematch.

Adding to the star-studded ONE Friday Fights 46 event, former bantamweight Muay Thai champion Nong-O Gaiyanghadao is set to face off against the towering Nico Carrillo. Nong-O, a veteran of the sport, experienced a setback at ONE Fight Night 9, suffering a knockout defeat to Jonathan Haggerty and battling a severe bout of dengue fever. Carrillo enters this bout riding a 13-fight winning streak, including a recent first-round stoppage of Muangthai PKSaenchaigym. This matchup is a compelling mix of experience versus momentum, adding another layer of excitement to the night.

The featherweight Muay Thai title is also on the line, with champion Tawanchai PKSaenchaigym set to defend his title against the formidable Superbon Banchamek. Their fight, previously scheduled and then postponed due to injuries and health issues, is a highly anticipated duel. Tawanchai, coming off a less-than-impressive victory against Jo Nattawut, will be keen to solidify his reign. Superbon, on the other hand, looks to bounce back from his knockout loss to Chingiz Allazov and regain his top spot in the kickboxing world.

An intriguing subplot to the event is the comeback of Anissa Meksen, the French kickboxing sensation, in an interim atomweight title match against Phetjeeja Lukjaoporongtom. Meksen’s career hit a stumbling block when she failed to show up for the weigh-ins at ONE Fight Night 6, leading to a year-long hiatus. Now, she returns with a point to prove and a title to claim, adding yet another layer of intrigue to this action-packed card.

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