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Phoe Thaw is continuing to grow in ONE Championship’s featherweight division

Yangon-born featherweight returns to action on home soil looking to enhance his growing reputation in ONE Championship

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Myanmar’s own Phoe “Bushido” Thaw is already a rising star in his home nation, but now he says he’s ready to unleash his skills against the best ONE Championship has to offer.

The 33-year-old returns to action at ONE: QUEST FOR GOLD in Yangon, Myanmar on Friday, 23 February when he takes on Cambodian Sor Sey at the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium.

And he can’t wait to jump back into the cage and showcase his skills once again.

“I am excited about my match against Sor Sey,” he said.

“I am undefeated against local athletes, and it is the first time I am facing a foreign athlete. People are counting on me, and want to see what my skills are capable of against a foreigner.”

Yangon-born Phoe Thaw took up the Burmese martial art of lethwei back in 2015 and fell in love with it as he made a late start to his martial arts career.

“I like lethwei because it is Myanmar’s national martial art, and I love the method of training, and it is good to use in case you get into a real fight,” he explained.

“The training is really good, both mentally and physically. Lethwei can make you very healthy, and extremely strong in terms of physical condition.”

He went undefeated in lethwei competition and, after discovering ONE Championship online, resolved to transition to the cage and become a professional martial artist.

“I learned about ONE Championship for the first time on the internet,” he revealed.

“ONE Championship is a very entertaining and attractive event. It gives an opportunity for athletes to succeed both inside and outside of the cage.”

He made his debut in July 2015, defeating Kyal Sin Htoo by TKO, then followed up with another TKO of Saw L Lay in March 2016.

That win saw him entered into the ONE Myanmar Featherweight Tournament 2016, which he duly won with two first-round TKO victories.

With his confidence soaring after capturing tournament success, Phoe Thaw then delivered a career-best performance with a crowd-pleasing split-decision victory over Saw Ba Oo in November 2017 in a bout that saw his star power grow as he delivered a thrilling performance on home soil in Yangon.

“That bout was really amazing,” he remembers.

“Our bout was the most exciting to the people who watched. We surprised the crowd, but Saw Ba Oo did not surprise me.

“I knew the split decision meant I still need to train, and compete harder and better. I need to fix my cardio and physical strength.”

Now Phoe Thaw faces international competition for the first time in his career against Cambodian Sor Sey, he’s confident he has the improved skillset to take him up the ONE Championship featherweight ladder.

“I have no worries about Sor Sey,” he said.

“I do not know too much about him. He seems like he has good punching and kicking, but I have a stronger kick and knees than him.”

Phoe Thaw is excited to move up the ranks and challenge for honours, and he’s equally excited to help spread awareness of ONE Championship in his home nation.

“Within the past couple of years, many people have become highly interested in martial arts after ONE Championship made the leap into Myanmar,” he said.

“The interest in the athletes, and the various kinds of martial arts, have constantly gotten higher year by year. People believe that both me and Aung La N Sang are succeeding in creating an awareness in the country.”

Victory at ONE: QUEST FOR GOLD will only see that awareness grow further.

Interview by ONE Championship. Story by Simon Head.

Freelance sports writer and MMA reporter with 19 years’ experience in the UK's national media covering major sporting events including UFC world title fights, Olympic Games, FIFA World Cup, UEFA European Championships, Grand National and the FA Cup Final.

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