It was the Phuket-based Swede’s first fight in his home country in two years and he brought with him an army of Vikings including his grandmother.
Andersson, 25, and Petsangnuan, 31, fought previously in August 2018 at the main event of MX Muay Xtreme ‘Champ of the Champ’, in which several of the promotion’s champions were pitted against each other. The fight lasted only one intense round as Petsangnuan dropped Andersson with a heavy right-hand, softened only with four-ounce MMA gloves, before Andersson managed to stop him with low kicks that left him unable to walk.
After the fight, Petsangnuan, an MX, WPMF and WLF champion with almost 200 fights, took to social media to apologise to his fans for his defeat explaining that he could only throw punches due to a knee injury having fought 10-days prior. “Hope to come back with 100% [health] and rematch,” he wrote.
One year on and Las Vegas promotion Lion Fight did the necessary and arranged the rematch on Saturday, August 31.
Andersson made his debut for the promotion in March this year, beating previously unbeaten Washington Luiz by doctor stoppage in Las Vegas. Five months later in only his second fight with the promotion he was given a title shot in Gothenburg, Sweden – a mere 90-minute drive from his hometown of Halmstad – in what would be Lion Fight’s inaugural event in the country.
With much at stake, Andersson went to work, describing his seven-week fight camp as one of the toughest he has endured. “We trained so hard I didn’t need to worry about cutting weight. In fact, I had to eat more than usual to make up for all the calories I was burning.”
The event, aired on CBS Sports Network, which boasts a viewership of 61 million, saw nine bouts between high-level fighters from across Europe and Thailand and kicked off adequately with one of the fights of the night between Denmark’s Richie Addo and Thai fighter Wittaya Thawinphrai setting the tone.
As the evening of action drew to the main event, the ‘Crazy Viking’ walked out to the tune of “the champ is here”, revelling in the home support that he doesn’t usually have. “I felt more pressure than usual fighting on the main event for a world title in front of family and friends who travelled from all over Sweden,” he admitted. “But I convinced myself it was just another fight with nothing at stake.”
As the first of five rounds got underway, both fighters landed punch-kick combinations early. Andersson dominated the centre of the ring as he fought on the front foot, true to his style, while Petsangnuan fought on the outside and had some success throwing the one-two.
The second round continued where the first left off with Andersson pressing from the centre and the Thai throwing combinations from the outside. Only 30-seconds in, Petsangnuan landed a big right hand on Andersson’s temple off the jab, putting him down on the canvas for an eight-count. The crowd went silent.
The Swede got straight up but was unstable. He weathered the storm on the back foot as Petsangnuan tried to finish him with huge punches. As his head cleared, Andersson slipped a punch and countered with a right elbow seconds after his coach Tim Fisher screamed, “RIGHT ELBOW,” putting him back on the front foot.
He pressed forward looking to clinch and threw knees to the body as he closed in, but the Thai fought well at range and stayed on the outside landing shots. With a minute to go in the second, Andersson started to get fired up, gesturing at Petsangnuan with his tongue out in a Maori-like expression of madness. The crowd erupted. Then, as the Thai threw punches, Andersson slipped and countered with a short right-hook which put Petsangnuan down onto the ropes before a knee to the body put him on the canvas. During the eight-count he complained about the knee and came back with fury. The round ended with both fighters trading heavily.
“He’s getting tired,” Fisher told his fighter during the break. “More pressure in the next round. Knees, elbows, body shots. Start to punish him.”
Petsangnuan looked dominant early in the third throwing heavy combinations as Andersson covered up. But the Viking kept going forward and landed a big right hand that dazed the Thai and had him retreating off-balance. Andersson stayed on him throwing big punches before a piercing knee to the body put Petsangnuan down onto the ropes. As he hung on, Andersson finished him with a kick to the side of the head. The referee intervened and counted him out.
The Swede leapt for joy as the referee waved off the fight, jumping into his coach’s arms, the euphoria was visible.
“It means everything to fight back home,” he said in the post-fight interview.
Fisher, the owner of Revolution Muay Thai in Phuket, who travels the world with his fighters, described the atmosphere as something special. “It felt like there were Vikings in there,” he laughed.
The Crazy Viking already has his sights set on defending his new 155 lb. (70 kg) belt as well as becoming WBC champion as he continues his journey to build a legacy.