Hometown hero Phoe “Bushido” Thaw was always going to have the Yangon crowd behind him, but his fellow countryman Saw Ba Oo also had plenty of support inside the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium for this all-Myanmar battle.
It was an exceptionally close bout between these explosive warriors, but ultimately, Phoe Thaw got the nod via split decision after three grueling rounds of action at ONE: HERO’S DREAM on Friday, 3 November.
The pair opened up tentatively, and Saw Ba Oo was the first to try and engage. Phoe Thaw used this as his cue to set up the takedown, believing he had the advantage on the ground. Saw Ba Oo was not planning to go quietly, however, and reversed from bottom to spend much of the round in top position.
“Bushido” tried in earnest to find a submission from his back, looking for triangles and armbars, but his opponent would not be subdued, as he slammed and punched his way out of the attempts.
It was a high-octane start to the second round, with Phoe Thaw landing punches and kicks, and Saw Ba Oo retaliating with hard punches of his own. In the melee, Saw Ba Oo ended up on top, before both athletes went reversal for reversal. Notably, it was “Bushido” who did the most damage during the exchange, with punches and elbows from the mount.
As they resumed the action on their feet, both men connected with telling strikes, much to the delight of the fans. Phoe Thaw eventually looked for a guillotine as the round ended, but there would not be a tap, and a third round would be on deck.
Phoe Thaw opened the final stanza with a flush head kick, but Saw Ba Oo shrugged it off to reply with punches. The shorter man kept pushing forward, trying to close the distance, but Phoe Thaw’s accuracy off the back foot started to pay dividends, as he landed solid straights and flurries. The final round was dictated by forward pressure from Saw Ba Oo, but measured quality responses from the tiring Yangon favorite.
After fifteen epic minutes, with the crowd as ready for a rest as the competitors, Phoe Thaw was awarded the split decision victory, and kept his slate clean at 5-0.
“This belongs to you guys,” said Phoe Thaw in his victory speech, thanking the great fans of Myanmar for their support.