For the fourth time in two years, ONE Championship will return to Yangon’s Thuwunna Indoor Stadium on Friday, 30 June, to hold its latest show, ONE: LIGHT OF A NATION.
Although much of the card has yet to be announced, the organization has a history of throwing action packed nights in Myanmar. That started in July 2015, when the promotion made a fiery debut in Yangon with ONE: KINGDOM OF WARRIORS.
The organization followed that successful show up with a solid pair of events, ONE: UNION OF WARRIORS in March 2016, and ONE: STATE OF WARRIORS in October later that year. Simply put, there are always fireworks when ONE comes to town, and more will be lit at the end of the month.
Here are six things you may not have known about ONE Championship’s events in Myanmar.
#1 June’s Main Event Will Be Yangon’s Third Major Title Bout
The Thuwunna Indoor Stadium has played host to a pair of unforgettable title bouts over the past two years.
Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes successfully defended the ONE Bantamweight World Championship at the country’s inaugural show by knocking out Toni Tauru in July 2015, and Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito retained the ONE Strawweight World Championship by submitting Joshua Pacio with a rear-naked choke last October.
Now, the country will get its third title match, and it will be an explosive one. The main event on 30 June features undefeated 9-0 ONE Middleweight World Champion Vitaly Bigdash, who will face the challenge of national hero Aung La “The Burmese Python” N Sang for the title once again.
#2 Aung La N Sang Did Not Appear In The First Yangon Event
Although Myanmar’s biggest hero, Aung La N Sang, made his ONE Championship debut in July of 2014, he did not feature in ONE’s inaugural event in Myanmar a year later.
The “Burmese Python” only made his roaring Myanmar homecoming in March 2016, when he submitted Egyptian Top Team’s Mohamed Ali via guillotine choke in the first round. He followed that up with another terrific showing at the third show in October, earning a decisive unanimous decision win over former ONE Light Heavyweight World Title challenger Michal Pasternak.
His next appearance will be his third in the country, and it will not just be the biggest bout in his hometown, but the most important of his entire professional career.
#3 Three Myanmar Tournament Champions Have Been Crowned
Local tournaments have always been a great way to introduce homegrown athletes. To date, there have been three ONE Myanmar tournament champions crowned in Yangon.
In July 2015, at the organization’s first show, Tha Pyay Nyo claimed the inaugural ONE Myanmar Featherweight Tournament Championship, and Thway Thit Aung captured the inaugural ONE Myanmar Lightweight Tournament Championship.
Phoe Thaw then became the second ONE Myanmar Featherweight Tournament Champion in October 2016 after getting a pair of first-round stoppages. Sporting an unbeaten 4-0 record, Phoe Thaw may just be the country’s next breakout martial arts star.
#4 Former Atomweight Challenger Jenny Huang Made Her Promotional Debut In Yangon
Two months after taking her first professional mixed martial arts bout, future ONE Women’s Atomweight World Championship challenger Jenny Huang officially signed with ONE Championship.
She then made her promotional debut against Russia’s Elena Pashnina in July 2015. It was a closely-contested battle that night, but the Chinese Taipei native was able to leave the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium with a split decision victory, and continued her ascent up the divisional ladder.
After falling to divisional queen Angela Lee in March, she has a chance to climb her way back into contention by beating fellow former title challenger Mei Yamaguchi at ONE: LIGHT OF A NATION.
#5 Over Three Quarters Of ONE’s Yangon Bouts Have Ended Via Stoppage
When counting all of the matches at the three Myanmar events, there have been 29 total contests. Of those 29 contests, only seven of them have gone the distance.
That means a staggering 22 bouts have featured stoppages, which is an approximately 76 per cent finishing rate. Breaking that down even more, 15 happened by either KO or TKO, and the other seven were by submission.
In Yangon, ONE’s warriors like to finish and keep it out of the judges hands, so it’s a good bet that the upcoming show in June will feature the same levels of entertainment and excitement.
#6 Myanmar’s Ancient Art Of Lethwei Is Broadcast Around The World
All of ONE Championship’s shows in Myanmar have featured a large number of local Myanmar Lethwei experts and champions, and ONE: LIGHT OF A NATION will be no exception.
That means Lethwei will be at the forefront of ONE’s extensive global broadcast to 1 billion potential viewers in 118 countries, which is undoubtedly the largest stage platform possible for these proud warriors.
It is a fitting stage for Myanmar’s finest fighters, and represents just the tip of the iceberg for the ancient art’s future expansion around the world.