Jackie Buntan is one of the most popular ONE Super Series tickets right now. However, the reason Buntan is where she is in her career right now is largely because of the people guiding her behind the scenes.
That would be his trainer at Boxing Works in California, veteran Bryan Popejoy and surprisingly the late legendary Thai warrior Sangtiennoi Sor.Rungroj.
In a recent interview with ONE Championship, Buntan opened up about meeting Sangtiennoi and the impact he had on her career, as well as the biggest lesson she learned from the legendary athlete.
“I’ve met [Sangtiennoi] before in the past. He and my coach Bryan are like very good friends. You know, Sangtiennoi used to come to California and do seminars here at Boxing Works. I’ve met him here in LA several times. And I think it was just a little surreal, to be able to be in his native Thailand, having lunch with the guy you know. We were actually staying at Brian’s wife’s house there in Thailand. Brian’s family and that of his wife are therefore very tight-knit, very close to Sangtiennoi and their family.
The Filipino-American Muay Thai sensation continued:
“I’ve only been to Thailand once and couldn’t train at his gym when I went. I met him very briefly for lunch, but I think the thing is the most important thing i can take away from this guy is hard work and heart is essential not only to be a fighter but to go on and live life every day.
Indeed, the heart is a sine qua non condition to become world champion at the highest level of competition, which Jackie Buntan aspires to.
Sadly, Sangtiennoi passed away last year at the age of 54 after taking his own life.
Jackie Buntan likes to keep her small circle tight
Jackie Buntan knows how important it is to have the right people to guide a fighter’s career, which is why she chooses to keep her team small and tight-knit. She says she’s been working with the same people since she started her training and that’s the secret to her success.
“I would say my circle is quite small. It’s definitely just those people. Bryan Popejoy, Nick Curson [strength and conditioning] like my two coaches. I have the same team here at Boxing Works. It’s the only gym I’ve been to since I was 11. I’ve always been with Bryan and Boxing Works, I was extremely, extremely grateful and lucky to have stumbled upon these people and just had them with me, until now.
Buntan was last seen in action in September 2021, winning a unanimous decision over Daniela Lopez. She’s in full training now, preparing for her first fight of 2022, which could be coming very soon.