Savvas Michael (R) (ONE Championship)

Savvas Michael Joins the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai Grand Prix

The ONE flyweight Muay Thai grand prix will get underway with four quarterfinal matchups at ONE 157: Petchmorakot vs. Vienot on Friday, May 20, at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. Eight of the best strikers in the world will compete for the tournament’s coveted silver belt, and former WBC and WMC Lightweight Muay Thai World Champion Savvas Michael will be one of them.

With names like ONE flyweight Muay Thai champion Rodtang Jitmaungnon and top-ranked contender Jonathan Haggerty on the grand prix’s roster, Michael enters the tournament as a dark horse, and that’s a role he happily accepts.

“Oh, I love it,” the Cypriot star said. “I mean, that’s my motivation. It’s my gas every morning. I’m working two times harder than everyone. I love being kept in the dark. I don’t really care about the spotlight.


“I like feeling this pressure. It’s what makes me perform even greater. Honestly, I don’t really even think about it. I’m just focused on trying to beat myself yesterday. I’m being better than who I was yesterday and just leveling up every day. Even if it’s one percent a day, at least I’m leveling up. And come May 20, I’m going to be on a new level.”

Michael last competed in ONE in 2020, going down to a decision loss against fellow grand prix entrant Taiki Naito. The 23-year-old athlete has matured since then, and he’s been studying his first-round opponent Amir Naseri’s game to try and spot weak points.

“I think he’s a very aggressive fighter,” Michael said. “But sometimes, he opens up without realizing, and it’s just a bad habit. When you have bad habits, they never go away. So I’ll exploit his bad habits, and I’m going to be there meeting him in his face. He has to bring his A-game on May 20, because, with every mistake, he’s going to get caught.”

While the Bangkok resident isn’t looking past his quarterfinal foe, he has confidence that his skills will allow him to make a run at the tournament crown.

“I feel that I got a lot of tools,” Michael said. “I can punch and have great footwork. I’m not one-sided, either. Aside from that, just my mindset and how bad I want this. I’ve been working in the dark for many years, and I believe in my team and myself. I’m taking it one step at a time, and I’m going to make it.”

The eventual winner of the grand prix will not only take home the silver belt, but they will also be granted a shot at Rodtang’s flyweight throne, should the champion be knocked out at any stage.

That is the driving force for Michael, as he readies himself to compete on the largest stage of his career. And he’s excited to get such an exciting opportunity.

“Winning at ONE fulfills my dream,” said Michael. “The WBC title was just an accomplishment. It’s just another title. But winning the Muay Thai Grand Prix, I would be considered the best striker [in my weight class] worldwide.

“It’s good that ONE Championship is giving the spotlight to different combat sports, and joining the biggest Muay Thai tournament is enough motivation. I got to prove to my younger self, and the young ones who are training hard right now, that we can do it. This is a battle within myself, and I got a dream in my heart. I’m willing to die for this competition, because it means the world to me.”