Former ONE strawweight champion Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke believes his former opponent, Rene Catalan, will bag a crucial win when the Filipino returns to action this Friday.
Catalan takes on Bokang Masunyane of South Africa in a decisive strawweight clash in ONE: Big Bang Live at Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Dejdamrong beat Catalan in 2014, but the top Thai fighter thinks Catalan is a different athlete altogether right now.
"Rene improved a lot after he lost to me [in 2014]. He won six fights in a row after that, until he vied for Joshua Pacio’s World Title,” Dejdamrong said.
“Even though he failed [to win the belt], I still can say that Rene is an elite fighter. His ground game is superb, and his striking skill keeps getting better. He is also in good shape and confident.”
Dejdamrong credits Masunyane for a superb debut against Ryuto Sawada, but he hasn’t seen anything from the South African’s arsenal that will match Catalan’s firepower.
“I watched Bokang's debut with Ryuto [Sawada], and Bokang won by far. But after three rounds, I couldn’t see any of his dangerous weapons,” Dejdamrong said.
That -- coupled with Catalan’s veteran savvy -- is why Dejdamrong believes the 42-year-old from Santa Barbara town, Iloilo, will come away with a big win Friday.
“Even though Bokang has won seven times and has an undefeated record, I still give the edge to Rene. This will be a good fight, but I think Rene will slightly win by a point,” Dejdamrong said.
“Rene’s experience will be the advantage. I think the age difference won’t be too much of a problem. Look at me – I am 42 years old, and I still can fight in a good condition.”