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‘Been told I wouldn’t be taken seriously’: How Jackie Buntan overcame the odds in muay thai

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‘Been told I wouldn’t be taken seriously’: How Jackie Buntan overcame the odds in muay thai

TRAILBLAZE. Fil-Am Jackie Buntan hopes to keep inspiring more female fighters.


Filipina-American muay thai standout Jackie Buntan hopes to ‘keep propelling that momentum’ as she competes in another all-women’s card

MANILA, Philippines – For years, Filipina-American sensation Jackie Buntan was told that she had no chance of becoming a professional muay thai fighter. Years later, here she is, starring in her second all-women’s card for ONE Championship.

The day after International Women’s Day on Saturday, March 9, she’ll feature in ONE Fight Night 20: Todd vs Phetjeeja at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand. 

Buntan, who takes on Martine Michieletto in a 130-pound catchweight muay thai bout, can only smile now that she’s living the dream. 

“I’ve been told I wouldn’t be taken seriously doing this,” she said. 

“I found that disrespectful just because I started this at such a young age and I put so much time and dedication and sacrifice into nurturing this craft of mine. I’m out here chasing the dream.” 

The 26-year-old was part of the ONE: EMPOWER card in 2021, the first-ever all-women’s card from a major combat sports promotion anywhere in the world. 

“It means the world. I think back in 2021, I was fortunate enough to compete on another all-women’s card under ONE Championship,” she said. 

“The fact that they’re able to do this again a couple of years later, bringing even bigger names to the card, it’s so inspiring and so refreshing. And that’s what you want for the next generation.” 

With that in mind, expect Buntan to enter this match highly motivated – not that she needs any more motivation. 

‘Been told I wouldn’t be taken seriously’: How Jackie Buntan overcame the odds in muay thai

The Boxing Works representative has won back-to-back matchups ahead of this fight, and another victory could see her compete for the ONE Women’s Strawweight Muay Thai World Title currently held by old foe Smilla Sundell. 

“I think it will just keep propelling that momentum, honestly,” she said. 

“I think it’ll just keep adding on to the momentum of me getting more opportunities and of course getting closer to competing for both belts in muay thai and kickboxing.” 

In the main event, ONE Atomweight Kickboxing World Champion Janet “JT” Todd looks to put a glorious ending to what has been a legendary career when she takes on prodigious interim titleholder “The Queen” Phetjeeja

The American star stated that she’ll be hanging up her gloves regardless of the outcome of this fight.

Also on the card is the co-main event bout between Allycia Hellen Rodrigues and Lara Fernandez, who battle for the former’s ONE Atomweight Muay Thai World Title. 

According to Buntan, the fact that ONE can hold an all-women’s event shows what’s possible for women in the future.

“I think it leaves them inspired and I think it leaves them seeing a path that may seem uncertain, may seem unorthodox, but achievable. And the proof is in the women in this industry today – the women chasing after it,” she said. 

“I think that leaves them inspired and that leaves them driven and hungry to do the same. Hopefully the goal is to do better than what we’re doing now.” – Rappler

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