On February 25, the 23-year-old Muay Thai phenom’s first challenger will be Turkish knockout artist and #2-ranked Jamal Yusupov. The pair collide in the co-main event of ONE Fight Night 7: Lineker vs. Andrade II at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.
Speaking at the promotion’s virtual media day on February 15, Tawanchai was relaxed but focused.
The featherweight Muay Thai king shrugged off any suggestion that he would be under increased pressure to perform in front of his home fans at Lumpinee.
“I wouldn't say that I am under a lot of pressure. But, I will never underestimate my opponent and have prepared myself well. So, I would like to succeed in defending my title this time,” he said.
In the 39-year-old Yusupov, Tawanchai is faced with a veteran of the sport with genuine knockout power.
That power was on full display at ONE: AGE OF DRAGONS, when “Yeniceri” sensationally knocked out Thai legend Yodsaenklai Fairtex.
Tawanchai, however, is not fazed by the knockout threat of his foe.
“The strengths of Jamal are he's a heavy hitter, and his footwork is excellent. I have already prepared to take care of this, and let's see it in the ring,” he said.
"I have faced a lot of heavy hitters in my life, and also, during the training, I have trained with heavy hitters. There's nothing to worry about. I am part of that.”
While he will enter the Circle as a firm favorite on fight night, Tawanchai remained respectful of Yusupov’s skills.
He also chose to play his cards close to his chest regarding how he plans to get the job done at ONE Fight Night 7.
"I'm not sure about the knockdown because Jamal is a very strong fighter,” he said.
"The ultimate weapon, I would rather not say. I would want you guys to watch me in the fight.”