After making a name for himself in Lumpini and Rajadamnern, Muay Thai star Panpayak “The Angel Warrior” Jitmuangnon finally makes his long-awaited debut on the ONE Super Series stage when he takes on Portuguese striker Rui Botelho at One: Destiny of Champions in Kuala Lumpur on Friday.
The 22-year-old Samut Prakan native is one of the Three Thais in actions in the finale to the One Championships season. The other two are Yodsanklai Iwe Fairtex, who will take on Luis Regis of Australia in a Super Series Muay Thai featherweight bout, and Petchmorrakot Petchyindee Academy, who will face Liam Harrison of United Kingdom, also in the featherweight division.
“I’m so excited to compete in my first international event. There will be butterflies in my stomach but I will try to cope with it,” said Panpayak, who won the Yod Muay Thai title between 2014-2016 and had the outstanding record of 8-0, 10-2 and 8-1 at the Lumpini Stadium during that time.
“My opponent is a Westerner so he is physically strong. He also has dangerous punches and can come up with unexpected attack. But if I can maintain my level, there shouldn’t be any problem,” said Panpayak, whose real name is Tewan Saengngern.
Panpayak hopes a strong showdown in the One Championship will help him make his mark globally and allow him to create an even better life for his family.
He has already gone far from the tough old days when he had to share a pepsi with four brothers and one sister. His mother used to work for a plastics factory for just Bt300 per day.
“I used to have a difficult life growing up as my mother was the only breadwinner of the family. Boxing has given me a better life as I have enough to buy a home and a car for my family,” he added.
Asked for his view on moves to prevent children under 12 from boxing, Panpayak said the sport was not as harmful as it seemed.
“If you are boxers, you know well how to protect yourselves. I’m physically fine as you can see,” said the senior student at Rattana Bundit University in Bangkok.