10 Muay Thai Fighters To Watch On ONE Friday Fights In 2024

The Muay Thai world was abuzz with excitement when Chatri Sityodtong announced that global martial arts sensation, ONE Championship would be promoting weekly fights in the historic Lumpinee Stadium in 2023. The Friday night telecast has since been streamed to 154 countries across the globe with many up-and-coming Nak Muays making the pilgrimage to Bangkok for a chance to prove themselves worthy of a prestigious ONE contract.

In the year since its inception, many fighters have made their mark on the Friday fights, earning massive performance bonuses, and gaining international fame. Plenty has already been written about the likes of Seksan, the man who went 8-0 in 2023 or Johan Ghazali, the 16-year-old prodigy from the United States who secured himself a 6-fight contract on ONE’s international promotions. So, this article is going to look beyond the champions and the fighters who have already made it to ONE’s main stage. Instead, we’re going to look at some of the up-and-comers who have shown heart, courage, and determination on ONE: Friday Fights, and are names to keep an eye out for this 2024.

 

1) Tyson Harrison

A massive knockout win over Tum Winner MuayThai on Rebellion in Australia at the tail end of 2022 gave Tyson Harrison international recognition. The victory was rewarded by the ONE matchmakers who immediately matched the Aussie against Thai legend, Seksan on the very first installment of ONE Lumpinee. The resulting bout was a classic. Both men put on highlight reel performances resulting in an extremely narrow split decision that went the way of the Thai native.

The loss didn’t slow the young Aussie’s momentum. He proved that he had the heart and tenacity to fight anyone after his war with the respected Thai legend and was rewarded with four more fights on Friday Fights in 2023. The results in these bouts were mixed. Harrison only won two of these, with his final coming by first-round stoppage from another Thai legend, Kulabdam. But his grit, ferocity, and determination have made him a fan favorite with many eagerly awaiting his return to the hallowed Bangkok stadium.

 

2) Josh Hill

UK super-welterweight, Josh Hill, made his ONE Friday Fights debut on Jan 20th following a dream 2022, where he went undefeated in seven fights, capturing the ISKA World Title and UK Fighter of the Year award in the process. His opponent, Keivan Soleimani, brought controversy to the weigh-ins when he missed weight by 7 lbs and failed ONE’s mandatory hydration testing. Josh took the fight despite the glaring weight disadvantage, adjusting his strategy to out-kick the aggressive Soleimanito take a unanimous points victory.

Josh’s first victory granted him the chance to return to ONE’s Friday fights in style. On May 5th, he returned to Lumpinee to challenge former WBC Muay Thai World Champion, Satanfah Sitsongpeenong. Despite struggling with a chest infection in camp and breaking his jaw early in the first round, Josh persisted with the Thai champion. The pair traded hands and elbows in what was a back-and-forth contest until Josh dropped Satanfah with a beautiful left elbow in the dying seconds of the fight to secure the victory.

Josh is eyeing a return to Lumpinee in 2024 and has announced that he’s hoping to get matched against more champion Thais such as Rungrawee Sitsongpeenong or Chanajon PK Saenchai.

 

3) Natalia Diachkova

Russian-born, Natalia Diachkova, was already a three-time world champion before she migrated to Bangkok to make a name for herself in the mecca of Muay Thai. Now fighting out of the esteemed Venum training camp in Bangkok, the “Karelian Lynx” has made a name for herself at ONE Lumpinee, winning all three of her fights at the iconic stadium in 2023.

After an overwhelming knockout victory in April, Natalia found herself matched against WBC World #2, Lena Nocker. Rapid success with powerful right hands saw her flatten the Italian in the very first round. This led to another massive fight, this time against WBC European Champion, Hannah Brady, in September. This fight went the distance, with both girls trading hands and elbows in a crowd-pleasing classic that has many eagerly awaiting the victorious Russian’s return in 2024.

 

4) Chanajon PK Saenchai

Chanajon was already an established Muay Thai champion long before he made his ONE Lumpinee debut in May 2023. With a Rajadamnern Stadium Title, Isuzu Cup championship, and King’s Cup Tournament gold medal all on his mantle, there was no doubt that he was a master of the five-round Muay Thai format.

A victory over WBC Middleweight World Champion, Victor Hugo, in his debut proved that he could adapt his style to suit three-round fights. In his following outing, he showed that he could adapt to the smaller gloves, knocking out Iranian, Mohamed Hanoun with big hand combinations. In his final victory on ONE in 2023, he defeated British WBC World Champion, George Jarvis.

Unfortunately, Chanajon didn’t complete 2023 undefeated. In his final outing in December Iranian, Mustafa Al Tekreeti, caught him with a massive uppercut, stopping the Thai in the second round of their bout. But, with three big wins under his belt, including wins over two different WBC World Champions, Chanajon has proved himself to be a worthy adversary for anyone willing to put on the 4oz gloves.

 

5) Stephen Irvine

Scotsman, Stephen Irvine, made a statement on the 23rd installment of ONE: Friday Fights when he stopped Pettong Kiatsongrit in the second round of their three-round clash. The WMO European Champion proved that he is perfectly suited to the fast-paced ONE format, catching kicks and countering with hands and elbows to earn three knockdowns before referee, Elias Dolaptsis called an end to the bout.

The young strawweight showed that his first outing wasn’t a fluke when he returned to Lumpinee in August. This time he challenged the current Lumpinee and Channel 7 stadium champion Panthep VK Khaoyai, once again using forward pressure and heavy hand combinations to force a knockout stoppage in the second round.

Stephen brought more of his aggressive Muay Mat style to the ring when he faced Thai, Singdomthong, in October. The pair slugged it out for three rounds of toe-to-toe action that had the crowd screaming. Unfortunately, a well-placed left hook dropped Irvine early in the fight and despite a tenacious show of heart, he was unable to make up the ground that he lost on the scorecards.

Despite the setback, Irvine has been vocal on social media, proclaiming his goal of becoming the ONE Strawweight Muay Thai World Champion so there is no doubt he’ll be returning to Friday fights if he wants to make that goal a reality.

 

6) River Daz

At the start of 2023, Melbourne native River Daz relocated to Fairtex Gym in Pattaya bringing little more than an undefeated Muay Thai record and the dream of a ONE contract with him. The former WMC Australian champion, known for his fast hands and evasive footwork was granted his first loss when he made his Friday Fights debut against the Romanian, Silviu Vitez in June.

The Australian wasn’t deterred by the loss and immediately took his champion work ethic back to the gym to prepare for his next chance at ONE success. His hard work and dedication paid off in September when ONE called looking for a last-minute replacement to face PK Saenchai Gym’s Nonthakit Tor Morsri on only 48 hours’ notice.

It was this fight that got River back in the winner’s circle and granted him yet another big opportunity, this time to fight Seksan on ONE’s final Friday Fight card of 2023. The two men went head-to-head for 9 minutes, trading hands and elbows from the opening bell to the close with Seksan being granted a razor-close split decision win.

Despite the loss, River has shown himself to be a man capable of challenging anyone in the ONE 140lb Muay Thai roster, and it’s almost certain he’ll be back again in 2024.

 

7) Junior Fairtex

18-year-old Muay Ying, Junior Fairtex, had a breakout year in 2023 with three fights for three wins on ONE Friday Fights. Her first fight, a rematch against rival Pancake Kiattongyot proved to be a close contest with Junior edging her opponent out for a split points victory.

With her first fight out of the way and her confidence in the small gloves growing, Junior found her stride. She adopted an aggressive Muay Mat style for her following fights and she relentlessly hunted her following opponents across the ring with hardly a backward step. The tireless barrage of hands outworked Chinese fighter, Wang Yue to a unanimous points victory in July and forced a second-round stoppage of Turkish, Zehra Dogan in September.

 

8) Kongthoranee Sor Sommai

Kongthoranee had a busy year on ONE Lumpinee, fighting on the promotion seven times. He had a shaky start to his ONE career, losing to fellow countryman, Petsukmvit Boi Bangna in April but a swift return to form saw him rack up six wins on the bounce over the following eight months.

Kongthoranee has proved to be a versatile fighter. Dangerous with both hands and elbows, he’s even been known to throw an explosive jumping knee when the opportunity arises. His exciting style has been noted by the matchmakers at ONE who awarded the Thai a main event fight on the 48th installment of Friday Fights earlier this month where he extended his win streak with a dominant points victory over Russian, Sharif Mazoriev. So, it’s safe to say that we will be seeing plenty more of him in 2024.

 

9) Nongam Fairtex

Another female fighter from the famous Fairtex Gym, Nongam Fairtex made a statement on ONE Friday Fights in 2023 by going undefeated in all four of her bouts on the promotion. Much like her stablemate, Junior, Nongam is in her element throwing down in the 4oz gloves. Her forward pressure and powerful right hand led her to devastating KO victories over Chinese, Chu Nga Sze and former Lion Fight World Champion, Lisa Brierley.

Unfortunately, Nongam’s trademark right hand sustained a serious injury in her final fight of 2024 where she secured a unanimous decision win against fellow Thai, Phetchumpair Highland Gym and she is currently out of action until it heals. Meanwhile, fans of the tenacious Muay Ying await her return.

 

10) ET TDED99

The 29-year-old Thai from the infamous Bangkok Tded99 gym made waves in Lumpinee Stadium when he flattened Apiwat Sor Somnuk with a flying knee in the opening seconds of his debut bout. The performance earned him a return to the ONE arena in May where he faced the previously mentioned, Kongthoranee in the main event of the promotion’s 16th installment. The two men traded hands, elbows, and flying knees in a close contest that saw ET coming up short on the majority decision result.

Following the close loss ET disappeared from the ONE arena for six long months, only returning to Lumpinee in November to face Kongthoranee’s stablemate, Mongkolkaew Sor Sommai. The bout proved to be a return to form for ET who slept Mongkolkaew with a well-timed left elbow in the very first minute of the fight.

With two highlight reel finishes and an absolute war against one of ONE Lumpinee’s most active and successful fighters, it is bound to be only a matter of time before we see ET return to ONE’s Friday Fights.

 

You may also like: 

16 Basic Muay Thai Combinations You Should Master First

10 Muay Thai And Kickboxing Bouts Fans Want To See In ONE Championship In 2024

More in Muay Thai

Also On Evolve

What Is The X-Guard In BJJ?

What Is The X-Guard In BJJ?

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a ground-based fighting style that has rapidly evolved over the past decades. As Jiu-Jitsu has grown, so have its positions and techniques, each bringing a unique set of advantages to the table….