Filipino-American striking sensation Jackie Buntan is keeping a close eye on the movements of her former foe Smilla “The Hurricane” Sundell.
Sundell, the reigning ONE Women’s Strawweight Muay Thai World Champion, will return against Milana Bjelogrlic at ONE Friday Fights 18 on May 26 – but this time, she’ll compete under kickboxing rules for the first time.
Buntan dropped a five-round defeat to “The Hurricane” when they clashed for the ONE Women’s Strawweight Muay Thai World Title in April 2022, and she’s not surprised the 18-year-old prodigy is chasing gold in a second sport.
And given Sundell’s skill set, Buntan thinks her rival has a chance to make a good first impression in Friday’s 128-pound catchweight kickboxing battle at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.
She said of the Swede:
“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?
“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.”
Buntan recently picked up her second victory since the defeat to Sundell, knocking out Diandra Martin at ONE Fight Night 10 in Colorado. Now back on track, she’d love to run it back with “The Hurricane.”
But while the Californian would entertain a kickboxing contest, she’d rather challenge the strawweight Muay Thai queen in “the art of eight limbs” to try to right the wrongs of their first meeting.
“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. 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.”
Buntan Praises ‘Fire’ ONE Friday Fights Series
Along with being one of North America’s leading Muay Thai stars on the global stage, Jackie Buntan is a massive fan of the sport, and she’s been keeping up with ONE’s weekly fight cards at Lumpinee Stadium in Asia primetime.
Although the ONE Friday Fights event series doesn’t air at the most ideal time of day for those on the West Coast of the United States, Buntan tunes in when she can – and she’s buzzing about the explosive knockout action emanating from the iconic Bangkok venue.
“I think they’re doing a great job with ONE Friday Fights. They’re putting out a bunch of fire fights, at least every card I’ve seen.
“I think it’s really cool that they’re able to showcase a bigger portion of Muay Thai and Muay Thai alone and you’re able to see foreigners on there as well, along with the Thais. I think it’s all good for the sport.
“[The finishing rate] is insane. And that just goes to show the quality of athletes and the craziness of Muay Thai and what that can bring.”
While ONE Friday Fights serves as a platform for rising stars aiming for their chance to compete on a Prime Video card, the shows have also been sprinkled with some of ONE’s biggest names.
That’s certainly the case this week, as ONE Friday Fights 18 will feature a reigning ONE World Champion in Sundell. For her part, Buntan is thrilled that many Thai fan favorites and international upstarts will get more attention as a result.
The Boxing Works representative added:
“It definitely adds a star factor, and it adds more eyes to the show and to the promotion itself.
“I think people who now know about ONE Championship just think of what you see on Amazon Prime. But I think they’re in for a surprise and a treat that these same stars are able to compete on ONE Friday Fights.”