Exclusive Interview: The Youngest World Champion

Smilla "The Hurricane" Sundell is the reigning Muay Thai World Champion

Picture courtesy of ONE Championship.

Smilla “The Hurricane” Sundell is a Swedish Muay Thai fighter, and the current Muay Thai world champion in the women’s Strawweight division in ONE Championship. She has an incredible fight record of 33 wins, 21 by way of knockout, five losses and one draw.

Sundell made history when she fought and won the title against Jackie Buntan, USA on April 22nd 2022, when she became the youngest athlete to ever win a professional world title in Muay Thai.

FIGHT SPORTS had the opportunity to sit down and talk to Sundell during her busy schedule at the Fairtex Pattaya Camp – here’s what she had to say.

FIGHT SPORTS: right Smilla: could you please introduce yourself to the readers of FIGHT SPORTS?

Sundell: yeah sure: I am 17 years old and come from Sweden, but I currently live in Thailand.
I am a professional Muay Thai fighter in ONE Championship, where I recently became the youngest world champion in the history of the promotion.

I live by myself at the Fairtex Training Center in Pattaya – I’ve been there for three years now. Before I moved to Pattaya, I lived with my family in Ko Samui, which is an island off the east coast of Thailand.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic we were separated, as my parents left Thailand, when the country shut down – I decided to stay and chase my dream of becoming the world champion, the number one Muay Thai fighter in the world.

Sundell’s debut in ONE Championship

FIGHT SPORTS: wow, that must have been hard but massive respect for staying behind and chasing your dream.

Sweden has produced quite a few world class Muay Thai fighters over the years. What is your secret to your massive success?

Sundell: I have trained really hard since I started out in Muay Thai six years ago. Almost every day. I follow the old school of learning Muay Thai.

When we moved to Samui I started training Muay Thai because there wasn’t any other sports to do actually. So me and my sister started at a small gym called Yodyut Muay Thai, and we became close friends with the trainers and the owners. They became a family for us.

I quickly began to follow fellow student, Irish WBC Muay Thai world champion Sean “Clubber” Clancy on his schedule and his routines, and he was always in my corner in the beginning when I fought. He I still in Samui and we have a good contact with each other.

Muay Thai pre-fight rituals. Photo courtesy of fightrecord.co.uk.

FIGHT SPORTS: excellent.
What kind of disciplines do you practice these days? Is it straight Muay Thai, or….?

Sundell: I only do Muay Thai. I do spar with the Fairtex MMA team though, and will probably start training MMA again soon.

I started some time ago, but Fairtex wanted me to focus 100% on Muay Thai. You know because of my fights in ONE Championship.

FIGHT SPORTS: 100% focus – I like that.

Being a professional fighter is definitely a different occupation, to put it mildly: what does your friends and family think about your chosen career?

Sundell: my family supports me to 100%: they come and visit me when they can, and my dad is always with me when I fight.

My mum and my sister were in the audience when I fought against Jackie Buntan, and that made me really happy, since it was a while ago since I’d seen them due to the COVID-19 pandemic

ONE 156: Buntan vs. Sundell pre-championship fight trailer

FIGHT SPORTS: yeah being backed and supported by family is a powerful thing, and definitely important.
As you mentioned you live and train at the Fairtex Pattaya camp: what does a regular week for you look like? Training wise.

Sundell: I start the day with a 10 km run in the morning at 06:30/07:00 am, then go straight to pad work, bag work, shadow boxing and clinch work for 1.5 to two hours. It really depends on whether I have a fight coming up.

Then it’s lunch time and a short break til 15.00 / 3 pm.
Then it’s off to the gym again for more of the same stuff I did in the morning. The afternoon training is around two hours: I have different trainers from time to time because they all have different styles. I like that: it makes the training more fun.

Sundell High-kicking. Photo credit: muaythaiiyarin.com.

FIGHT SPORTS: the Thai way, ha ha.
You’re the reigning ONE Championship Muay Thai Strawweight world champion. What goals do you have for the near future in the sport?

Sundell: first of all I want to defend my title – it doesn’t matter who I face: I’m ready for everyone.
And I really want the Kickboxing title too, and hope that ONE Championship gives me the opportunity in 2023.

One of my dreams right now is a mixed rules fight: you know with Muay Thai rounds and MMA rounds against Xiong Jing Nan. That would be awesome! And hopefully ONE Championship opens up one more weight class, because I’m still growing – maybe I’ll end up in the Flyweight division, but I’m not sure about that obviously, ha ha.

Sundell highlight

FIGHT SPORTS: ha ha ha.
You are still very young but must have experienced quite a few things over the span of your career: what are the biggest achievements in Muay Thai you’ve experienced so far?

Sundell: That’s easy! Winning the title and becoming the youngest world champion in ONE Championship’s history. Nothing beats that!

FIGHT SPORTS: I can imagine!
Now let’s talk a bit about the mental aspects of the game: How do you actually feel, when you win a fight, and what goes through your mind, when you lose?

Sundell: obviously when I win I’m real happy.
But I am a terrible loser, so I never want to leave it to the judges. All of my losses were in the beginning of my career, and I didn’t like that at all – you know the feeling of losing.

Sundell with her long, piercing knees. Photo from mmanytt.se.

FIGHT SPORTS: Right.
Have you thought about what you want to do when you retire from fighting?

Sundell: no I’m still really young, but I will probably work with some kind of traning. I got some offers to join some gyms but lets see what happens.

FIGHT SPORTS: yeah you’ve got loads of time to think about those things.
When is your next fight, and do you have an opponent lined up?

Sundell: I actually don’t know yet. Probably in the beginning of next year. February would be okay for me.

The world championship fight

FIGHT SPORTS: okay. Right Smilla I think we’ve covered it all.
It’s has been an honor. Is there anything you’d like to say to the readers of FIGHT SPORTS, the fans around the world and maybe to your future opponents?

Sundell: I would like to thank you all – everybody who supports me: friends and all of you guys on social media. It means a lot to me. And also thank you to my opponents: see you in the circle!

FIGHT SPORTS: Ha ha, awesome Smilla.

Best of luck in your next fight Champ.

Pad work

By FIGHT SPORTS

SOURCE https://www.fightsports.tv/exclusive-interview-the-youngest-world-champion/
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