Buntan will have eyes glued on Sundell's Friday Fights debut

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 25 2023 03:15 PM

Handout photo
Handout photo

Filipina-American striking sensation Jackie Buntan will watch her old rival and reigning ONE women’s strawweight muay thai champion Smilla “The Hurricane” Sundell closely, when the latter returns to action, this time under ONE Championship’s kickboxing rule set. 

Sundell returns to ONE Championship against Milana Bjelogrlic in a three-round kickboxing match at ONE Friday Fights 18 on May 26 inside Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand. 

With the muay thai title on the line, Buntan and Sundell fought tooth and nail for five rounds, and in the end it was the Swedish teenager who took home the win. 

Buntan has since been on a comeback trail, proclaiming that she wants to win the ONE strawweight kickboxing title before rematching Sundell under muay thai rules. And based on the 18-year-old’s next fight, it won’t be surprising to see them fight in kickboxing either. 

“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.” 

Ultimately, though, the goal for Buntan is to get the muay thai belt from Sundell. 

Buntan has been on a tear since losing to her old foe. She outclassed Amber Kitchen in her Manila debut before putting on a show for her family and friends in the United States with a first-round knockout win of Diandra Martin. 

Buntan’s been looking good over her past few outings, and she’s confident that she’ll do better in a muay thai rematch. 

“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.”