Bangkok’s legendary Lumpinee Stadium is no stranger to wars waged inside its venerable ropes, but come December 8, the ancient city will resonate with the roars of perhaps its most anticipated clash in recent times: Tawanchai vs. Superbon.
ONE Championship, Asia’s largest global sports media property, has seen its fair share of thrilling bouts. But when the electrifying Tawanchai PK Saenchai prepares to defend his ONE featherweight Muay Thai title against the enigmatic Superbon Singha Mawynn, the buzz is more palpable than ever.
Originally slotted for October 7, fate had other plans. Superbon, the 33-year-old former kickboxing monarch, succumbed to a severe calf injury three weeks shy of the match. While the injury might have dimmed the immediate fireworks, it merely intensified the anticipation. ONE’s chairman and CEO, Chatri Sityodtong, considered rescheduling the bout for December in Qatar or even Tokyo in January. Yet, the allure of a fervent Thai audience, still echoing the intensity from the recent Rodtang Jitmuangnon vs. Superlek Kiatmookao fight, proved irresistible.
During Superbon’s recuperation, Tawanchai faced a new challenge in “Smokin’” Jo Nattawut, a kickboxing duel that culminated in Tawanchai securing a unanimous decision. Though victorious, Tawanchai’s post-fight reflection echoed a mix of relief and anticipation. “The next fight will be with Superbon,” he declared, addressing the injuries that reshuffled their encounter. But in a nod to their undeniable rivalry, he added, “I’ll see you in the ring.”
For Superbon, accusations of evading Tawanchai were met with terse clarity. “I am a professional fighter. I fight everywhere in the world to become a champion,” he retorted, dispelling any whispers of hesitation.
Tawanchai, a name synonymous with mastery in Muay Thai. Crowned the Lumpinee Stadium Fighter of the Year in 2018 and the Muay Thai Fighter of the Year in 2022, Tawanchai’s accolades speak of a career carved in gold. Holding an astounding 7-1 record with ONE Championship, his prowess isn’t just in victories but in how he achieves them – a staggering five of his seven wins culminated in knockouts. At the tender age of 24, with over 160 professional fights under his belt, Tawanchai stands as a testament to dedication.
And Superbon, a kickboxing prodigy, his feats are etched in the annals of the sport. Superbon’s list of vanquished foes reads like a who’s who of kickboxing: Sittichai Sitsongpeenong, Giorgio Petrosyan, and Marat Grigorian. Although a shocking defeat at the hands of Chingiz Allazov at ONE Fight Night 6 earlier this year momentarily halted his momentum, Superbon’s second-round victory over Tayfun Ozcan showcased his indomitable spirit. Having predominantly focused on kickboxing for nearly seven years, Superbon’s switch to Muay Thai indicates a thirst for diversified glory. His sights are set on capturing the Muay Thai title, a dream last realized in 2018.
Their trajectories might differ, but their destination is the same. Tawanchai, with a current five-win streak, has tasted recent triumphs against the likes of Petchmorrakot Petchyindeegym, Jamal Yusupov, Davit Kiria, and Jo Nattawut. Meanwhile, Superbon, with the world of kickboxing virtually at his feet, seeks to etch a new chapter in Muay Thai.
Though the complete fight card for ONE Fight Night 17 remains under wraps, the Tawanchai-Superbon bout ensures it’s already one for the history books. Speculation about ONE Championship possibly venturing to Qatar or Tokyo in December is rife, but Bangkok, with its rich martial arts heritage, remains the beating heart of the organization.