‘Finally, it’s time to shine’ – Petchtanong keen to capitalize on world title shot in Akimoto

Petchtanong Petchfergus wants to crown his incredible career in combat sports with the greatest honor of all on Saturday, November 19.

The Thai striker will challenge Hiroki Akimoto for the ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Title in the main event of ONE 163, and at 37, the longtime star knows this could be his last chance to claim the top prize.

More motivated than ever, Petchtanong feels ready to achieve the goal he has been pursuing since signing a deal to compete in the world’s largest martial arts organization.

And even after racking up an incredible professional record of 357-56-1 in kickboxing and Muay Thai, the Thai striker couldn’t wait for that moment to arrive.

He said:

“When I heard this news [of challenging Akimoto], I was very happy. Everyone knows that was my goal from the first day I joined ONE. Like all fighters, I always dreamed of being the ONE world champion.

“I may have started in ONE with a struggle at the beginning. But I tried to climb into the top five rankings. It took two years – which is longer than I thought, longer than my fellow fighters – but finally, it’s time for me to shine.

Although he feels stronger than ever, Petchtanong knows that time is not on his side.

He’s been in the game for 20 years, and he might not be able to move up the ranks again if he fails against Akimoto on Saturday.

With that in mind, the Udon Thani native has an added sense of urgency to topple the king of bantamweight kickboxing when it comes to punching inside the circle.

He said:

“I would also like to make the most of this opportunity. This may be my last chance for the title before deciding to retire. I’m 37 now. I started this career out of passion, not money.

“I actually planned to retire for a while, but when I lost to Capitan, I became more motivated and wanted redemption. I was determined to come back stronger. I want to prove everyone that I still have great potential even at 37.

“As I said, I fight out of passion to show my skills and abilities. And now I feel like I’m even stronger than a young 20-year-old fighter right now.

Petchtanong trains with Superbon ahead of world title fight

Hiroki Akimoto will be a badass for Petchtanong Petchfergus, but the Thai challenger is preparing for battle alongside one of the best in the business.

Petchtanong honed his skills in Krabi, Thailand, with longtime training partner and reigning ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Champion Superbon Singha Mawynn — and he feels a lot more confident thanks to those sessions.

The veteran said:

“I came to train in Krabi province to find different sparring partners. There I have Superbon as a training partner. He helps me a lot with the techniques and the game plan.

“He gives me advice, reviews my form and corrects my errors. If I practice alone, I will not see my faults. He also watched Akimoto’s game and also analyzed my opponent for me.

Petchtanong knows he will have to overcome a lot to succeed in his world title challenge against Akimoto, but he is not fazed by the difficult task ahead.

Combining his skills and vast experience with the valuable training camp alongside Superbon, the Muay Thai specialist believes his technical abilities will help him secure a monumental victory over his towering 30-year-old rival.

Petchtanong added:

“Akimoto’s strength is his stamina. He is a very strong athlete. His punches and kicks are heavy and he has good cardio to fight through five rounds. He also understands very well the rules of kickboxing, but I am convinced that his skills and techniques are not as good as mine.

“Another thing is that my build is close to his. I can take his hits. Some people may be worried that I can’t handle Hiroki’s powerful strikes like Capitan. But I would say to these people, don’t worry about me in this matter. I’m as tall as Superbon, I can definitely handle his attack power.

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