Jackie Buntan takes on Smilla “The Hurricane” Sundell for the inaugural ONE Women's Strawweight Muay Thai World Championship in the co-main event for ONE: Eersel vs. Sadikovic on 22 April at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Buntan debuted in ONE Championship last year and has earned three back-to-back wins since then, including a stunning performance against Wondergirl. The Filipina-American contender dropped her Thai opponent with a left hook that had her splayed on the mat, then proceeded to pick her apart for the remainder of their battle.
A world title shot has been a long time coming for the Boxing Works athlete, who has been training in Muay Thai since her early teens.
“I go into Muay Thai every night even though I'm tired and I don't want to train. It's still fun for me like this. I'm so passionate about doing it,” Buntan said.
To feel the weight of gold, though, she must first get through Swedish phenom Sundell, who made her long-awaited debut on the global stage in February, where she scored a TKO victory over Diandra Martin. The 17-year-old Muay Thai star has spent several years at the Fairtex training facility in Pattaya, Thailand, and has built up her fight IQ by competing more than 30 times on the Thai circuit.
“The Hurricane” will bring the fight to Buntan, but the unbeaten American can rely on her confident footwork and precise movement in the Circle to get the job done on 22 April. Both skills helped her finish Wondergirl and earn her decision wins over Ekaterina “Barbie” Vandaryeva and Daniela Lopez.
While battling for the title is an incredible opportunity for the unbeaten California-based athlete, she continues to look ahead at the bright future she hopes to have in “the art of the eight limbs.”
“Muay Thai [is] in my heart. I have so many goals I want to achieve in Muay Thai,” she said.
Buntan trains alongside ONE Women’s Atomweight Kickboxing World Champion Janet Todd, under head coach Bryan Popejoy. Much of the American Muay Thai community has watched Buntan grow up before their eyes and go further than many thought possible in the sport. And soon, they may see another championship belt make its way to California.