Amber Kitchen (R) (ONE Championship)

ONE Fight Night 11’s Amber Kitchen: ‘Not Going to Leave Anyone Disappointed’

There’s something to be said about growing up in a fighting family. On one hand, a child is able to learn a ton of discipline and skills at a young age that can translate into being great in all aspects of life. But, sometimes, children can get pigeon-holed into a linear life, where their sole focus is on fighting from nearly birth, and they never get to experience much else. Some kids can end up unhappy, wanting to veer away from that path. However, others turn that lifestyle into a passion, and it is truly how they want to grow and live every day.

Amber Kitchen grew up in Cornwall, England. She, literally, grew up in Touchgloves Gym, which is her family’s martial arts school. Fighting is really all she knows, and she loves every bit of it. Her father Nathan, mother Julie and twin sister Allaya are all about that fighting lifestyle.

“There are photos of me and my dad and my twin sister, when we were three years old, doing interclubs against each other,” Kitchen told Combat Press. “So, at three years old, we were sparring and hitting pads.


“We spent all of our time together, and our playtime was just sparring each other and hitting each other. Our back garden, it was just a play shed, but it had a ring in it. And, that is what we’d seen as, you know, our fun time.”

When Kitchen was in high school, she tried other sports, such as shotput, cross country, high jump, long jump, and other track-and-field sports. However, her love was always Thai boxing. She tried her hand at college, and wanted to be a tattoo artist, but she never really had an interest in any other career.

“I can never see myself doing a normal job,” said Kitchen. “I don’t know anything else. I’ve been fighting since I was nine. I started training when I was three years old. I was kind of born into the Thai boxing world, because my dad was my coach, and my mom was 14 times world champion. So, it’s kind of my life I’ve lived since day one. A normal job would not suit me at all. I love going to the gym. I feel like it grounds me, and, you know, I’ve tried other sports, but nothing compares to Thai boxing.”

After a year and a half in college, Kitchen decided to get out of design school and get a job doing something that better fit with her Muay Thai training schedule.

“I actually was a care worker,” said the 24-year-old twin. “I’ve done that for seven years, so I went into work, so alongside that, I could fit my training in my own hours. I’d done care work for seven years, and then ONE Championship called me. I carried on doing care work until last year. Now, I’ve moved up to Leeds, and I’m doing physical training.”

Kitchen had always trained out of Touchgloves Gym, but during her camps for ONE Championship, her manager had gotten her connected with Bad Company Thai Boxing Gym in Leeds. She had been running her family gym since she was 19, and ran it for about four years. But, when she decided to permanently move to Leeds for training, her father took the management of Touchgloves back over.

“It’s hard to be a coach and a fighter at the same time,” admitted Kitchen. “So, obviously, when I moved, it was just purely for my own training. And that’s what I was struggling with, trying to juggle it all down in Cornwall.”

Kitchen is now 18-7 as a pro fighter. She has three fights under the ONE banner, and, while all three were losses, she has only fought the toughest opponents. She is young and gaining experience, and the experience she has gained from fighting Jackie Buntan, Diandra Martin and Viktoria Lipianska is nothing to scoff at. These are some of the most talented fighters on the ONE women’s Muay Thai roster.

“I feel like, you know, [my career is] taking off,” said Kitchen. “I feel like moving to Leeds is a huge career step for me. I’m surrounded by people who are on ONE Championship, so it’s only inspiration every day when I step into Bad Company.

“Every fight is a learning curve. I’d love to, you know, look back on them and see what I’ve done well, and what I’ve done wrong. You know, I feel like I’m getting more sharp with my attack – you know, pushing forward, picking the right moments. I’ve been working loads of foot movement, head movement. So, I think that that’s so important with four-ounce gloves.”

The initial call from ONE was definitely a shocker. Kitchen made her promotional debut when she was only 20 years old. Most 20-year-olds don’t even know what they want to do with their lives, but this is something she had prepared for since her earliest childhood memories.

“My manager contacted me and said, ‘you’ve been offered a contract.’” Kitchen explained. “And I said, ‘oh great, who is it with?’ and, he said, ‘ONE Championship.’ So, you know, that was amazing. I remember getting the message. I was actually at my care job. I even cried. That was amazing. I couldn’t believe it. I was only 19 at the time, and I was the first female fighter out of the U.K. to get signed. So, to me, that’s the pinnacle of anyone’s Muay Thai career is to get on ONE.”

The aspect of Muay Thai in four-ounce gloves is not unique to ONE, but it was the first large Muay Thai promotion to adopt this standard, and it was not that way in Kitchen’s first fight with the promotion.

“I was so nervous, because it was my first fight back from a three-year layoff from COVID,” Kitchen elaborated. “So, to be thrown straight into four-ounce gloves in a cage against Diandra – who had just fought Smilla [Sundell], who was getting the title – it was a big change. But, it was excitement to get back into a routine, trying something new. I mean, I know it hurts when you get hit with four-ounce gloves, but you just got to think it’s hurting them just as bad. So, it’s kind of like a nice feeling.”

Well, ONE Championship’s roster is stacked. That has already been well established. So, it’s no surprise that tonight, live on Amazon Prime Video, Kitchen’s next opponent is another doozy. At ONE Fight Night 11, she will be facing Italy’s Martine Michieletto, who is a multiple-time world champion in kickboxing and Muay Thai.

“She’s fast – more kickboxing style,” said Kitchen. “So, you know, every fight is a tough fight. I ‘m sure this is going to be a great fight to watch from both of us. She’s an eight-time world champion, I’ve seen. So, yeah, she’s definitely going to be eager to make her statement on ONE. That’s her first fight on ONE. But, also, she’s never been hit in four-ounce gloves. I know the shock, first-hand, of first-ever having to fight in four-ounce gloves, so we’ll see. I know she’s going to try and put the pressure on, and she’s a Southpaw. I haven’t fought a Southpaw before. But, the time they’ve given me for this fight was perfect. I’ve been taken over since I’ve been up here, and then they gave me 12 weeks’ notice. I’ve just been grinding every day. She cannot be training as hard as me. I’ve really pushed it this camp.”

Kitchen is no stranger to tough opponents, so, while the 30-year-old Michieletto is the more experienced fighter, she will not have an easy out against the Englishwoman, who is coming in to make a statement. She has fought on the biggest stage in women’s Muay Thai before, and to do it in the iconic Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand is just icing on the cake.

“I feel like, on the ONE Lumpinee shows, everyone’s going all out,” Kitchen said. “I have fought kickboxing before, and I’m looking to adapt some of that into my bout this time. So, I think it’s forward pressure, and she’ll be doing the same from her kickboxing background.”

With a long runway ahead of her, career-wise, Kitchen is in no way looking past her next opponent, but she does have some goals moving forward.

“In the next 12 months, I want to have at least three or four fights a year with ONE,” said Kitchen. “That would be my ideal position, because I keep having quite a bit of time in between each fight. So, if they can keep me active, this is what I want to live and breathe every day. I just want to get in there. I’ve been fighting the best of the best in the category. In ONE, obviously, every fighter is the highest and the most talented in the world to get signed. I just want to keep active, and I’ve got a whole new kind of way of living up in Leeds, so I’m excited to see where it’s going to take me.”

In the meantime, tonight is all about business for the young fighter from Cornwall. She has been training for this her whole life, and she is ready to pick up that first victory in ONE.

“You know, I always put on a great performance,” said Kitchen. “This is, you know, I’ve been training for 12 weeks for this fight, and I’m not going to leave anyone disappointed. I’m going all-in. Every fight I do is just an amazing opportunity for me. So, to share it with all my fans is a dream come true. I get so much support every day, and I see it from all around the world. I just want to put on a great performance for everyone.”