Filipina-American striking sensation Jackie Buntan has long talked about a move to the strawweight kickboxing division, but it seems her old rival and tormentor is going to beat her there.
Buntan will certainly tune in to watch when ONE Women’s Strawweight Muay Thai World Champion Smilla “The Hurricane” Sundell makes her debut in ONE Championship’s kickboxing rule set against Milana Bjelogrlic in a three-rounder at ONE Friday Fights 18 on May 26 inside Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.
The 25-year-old, however, isn’t surprised with the Swede’s decision to jump into kickboxing, noting that it’s the dream of every fighter in her division to become a two-sport ONE World Champion.
“It makes sense [that she’d go to kickboxing]. I’m sure she has the same goal as me and other girls in the division to go after both those belts, kickboxing and Muay Thai. I assumed that she’d be defending her title first in Muay Thai, but I know she’s coming back from an injury, so who knows?” Buntan said.
“It should be interesting to see her style translate into kickboxing, especially with the bigger gloves. She has power behind her, she’s super long. I feel like she could possibly do well just because she has that nasty habit of smothering you. But it depends on who she’s competing against.
“I’ll definitely be watching.”
While both of their eyes are fixated on the ONE kickboxing crown, Buntan’s ultimate goal is to redeem herself against Sundell.
The pair fought for five rounds for the once-vacant ONE Women’s Strawweight Muay Thai World Title and, in the end, it was the prodigious Swede teenager who took the nod from all three judges.
Since then, Buntan has been on a tear, starting with a convincing decision win over Amber Kitchen and an impressive first-round knockout victory of Diandra Martin. So, she knows that she’ll be a better fighter if she faces Sundell again.
“If I do get to compete against Smilla again, I would like to compete in Muay Thai and be able to go back in there with her and fix the mistakes that I had to fix,” she said.
“I’ve been fixing them, testing myself, and challenging myself. But it’s also whatever is right at the moment. But I think I would prefer Muay Thai.”