Singapore, November 24: Newly-crowned ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Champion Petchtanong Petchfergus has said experience was the key to his victory over Hiroki Akimoto at the bygone ONE 163 event.
The Thai superstar put on a striking masterclass at the November 19 event, so much so that it came as a shock when one of the judges ruled in favor of the defending World Champion after their brawl inside the Singapore Indoor Stadium, which left him with only a split-decision win.
"I was a little bit surprised when I heard that it wasn't a unanimous decision at first. I was really confident since there's no gambling or anything in ONE Championship. So, I was really sure that I was the champ instead of Akimoto at that time," he said.
Petchtanong employed a clear strategy to target Akimoto's body with knees throughout the fight, which worked spectacularly well. And he credits the homework he did on his Japanese counterpart for his powerful performance.
That said, the new bantamweight kickboxing king readily admits that he was surprised by the defending his opponent's power.
"As you can see, we have been training repeatedly on my knee skills for this fight. Because I have studied Akimoto for quite some time, and I noticed that his punches are his game," he said
Though studying Akimoto's style prior to the match was essential to his win, the veteran of an incredible 358 professional bouts believes his experience was the difference in the end.
"Akimoto, he might be fast, and he might be strong, but his fighting experience is in the way that I have experienced Muay Thai and kickboxing way longer than he has. I think my experience combined is the reason why it was a success for me," Petchtanong said.
The 37-year-old's emphatic World Title victory has been made all the more inspiring by his admission that he came close to calling time on his career when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020 and 2021.
But now, with the ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Title safely in his grasp, Petchtanong's fire to compete has been reignited.
"Actually, I thought of giving up before COVID happened. That time, I competed with Capitan, and I lost in that bout. I really thought of giving up - and then COVID came along," he said.
"It was the worst time. So, since I still have the chance to compete in ONE Championship, I'll just showcase my skills since I'm getting older, so I just didn't think that I would have this career for a very long time.
"After I won, I realized that I am still physically fit to go through all five rounds tonight. I'm going to see if I can still do that and defend my belt as long as I could."
Source: Media Release