Shannon “OneShin” Wiratchai returns to action on home soil looking to bounce back into the win column.
Having fallen in his last cage appearance, the 29-year-old plans on rebounding with victory on his return to Bangkok this weekend at ONE: IRON WILL, where he’ll take on Singapore-based Indian Rahul “The Kerala Krusher” Raju.
Looking back at his recent loss, Wiratchai told ONE Championship that during the contest the realisation hit him that he wasn’t ready for a title shot – even if he’d won.
“I feel that I needed more time,” he admitted.
“Even when we were waiting for the decision, in my mind I thought I could have done enough to win, but my face looked so sad, as I knew I was not ready to proceed to a title shot. It was a bad match for me.”
Wiratchai’s preparation for that bout was less than ideal, with the lightweight star suffering an injury during training camp and having to fly home to Bangkok from Phuket to recover. It cost him valuable hours of sparring time.
“I did not get a chance to solve my own problems before the match,” he explained, and the lack of striking sharpness was evident in the bout, where he looked unusually reluctant to pull the trigger on his strikes.
“I was moving, and setting up my shots. I saw the opportunities that I would normally take, but on that day, I just felt like I could not do it,” he admitted.
“I saw his reactions, and the openings were there, but my head was saying I could not take it, that if I went in, then something bad was going to happen. That’s the worst thing, worse than losing the match.”
Stung by that defeat, Wiratchai has gone back to basics and worked hard to fix the issues of his past training camps, as he bids to get back to winning ways with an eye-catching performance at the Impact Arena. His camp took him to Bangkok Fight Lab, then to Tiger Muay Thai, as he sharpened his skills and his gameplan ahead of the bout on Saturday.
“Last time was a mistake, but I have worked with my team to solve it,” he said.
“The main thing I want to show is my improvements. I am not thinking about doing the same things I did before.”
Wiratchai faces ONE Championship debutant Raju on Saturday and says he’s keeping a relaxed, positive frame of mind ahead of the contest.
“I will not underestimate him, but I am quite relaxed about this match,” he said.
“Rasul was Russian, with super strength, good wrestling, and bombs in his hands. Rahul is good and technical, but compared to Rasul, I think they are quite different. This match is more about how I bounce back.
“He (Rahul) is a good scrambler, strong on the ground, and never afraid of exchanging punches. But I want to win, and return to facing the top guys again [so I can] get back in the title picture.”