kickboxing, Muay Thai, sanda and wushu

What Portugal’s Rui Botelho learned after ONE Super Series bout against Panpayak Jitmuangnon

Panpayak Jitmuangnon, Rui Botelho (© ONE Championship)

Panpayak Jitmuangnon, Rui Botelho (© ONE Championship)

World Kickboxing Association European Champion Rui Botelho, 24, of Mafra, Lisbon, Portugal is one of the European athletes of ONE Super Series. He has yet to earn his first victory in ONE Championship’s striking-only league but as a real martial artist, he only becomes stronger every time he falls.

Training out of DinaMite Team in Mafra, Botelho is one of the most decorated Muay Thai practitioners from Portugal. In 2017, he won the gold medal at the European Muaythai Championships in Paris, France.

On June 23, 2018, Botelho made his ONE Super Series debut at “ONE: Pinnacle of Power” at the Studio City Event Center in Macau, China. He was knocked out by Yukinori Ogasawara, 26, of Tokyo, Japan in a Muay Thai bout in the flyweight division.

On December 7, 2018, Botelho competed in ONE Super Series for the second time. He lost to Panpayak “The Angel Warrior” Jitmuangnon, 22, of Bangkok, Thailand at “ONE: Destiny of Champions” at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in a Muay Thai bout in the flyweight division.

After “ONE: Destiny of Champions,” I asked Botelho what he learned from his fight against Panpayak. The Portuguese martial artist said, “I learned that I can fight anyone even if they aren’t from my category.”

Like many ONE Championship athletes, Botelho is not the kind of fighter who pinpoints who he wants to fight next. He said, “I just want to fight the best in my weight category and this flyweight category is above my real category.”

Botelho’s martial arts idol is Muay Thai fighter Saenchai, 38, of Bangkok, Thailand. Formerly known as Saenchai Sor. Kingstar, the Thai martial artist won the Lumpinee Championship title in four different weight divisions.

As a Muay Thai fighter, Botelho has been competing professionally since 2014. Born into a military family, he was 16 years old when he started his Muay Thai training at the insistence of his strict father.

Currently, Botelho holds a professional record of 17 wins, 8 losses and 2 draws. Meanwhile, watch all the “ONE: Destiny of Champions” bouts here:


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