Like many of its current athletes, WLC Light Middleweight Champion Oleksandr “Sasha” Moisa didn’t start his fighting career thinking about Lethwei. In fact, there’s a good chance that he didn’t know much about the sport not even five years ago.
But now, he’s among the sports first official champions. Who is this guy? Where did he come from, and what are his intentions now that he’s the standard-bearer of a sport in its international infancy?
From Muay Thai To Lethwei
Similar to other foreigners that appeared in World Lethwei Championship, Sasha began his fighting career with Muay Thai.
His first foray into martial arts was actually grappling, going to Judo classes when he was thirteen. He began training in the art of eight limbs in his native Ukraine at the age of 18. But moved to Thailand upon deciding to focus on prizefighting as a career.
He spent much of his time at Thai Fight where he knocked out Keo Rumchang and Saensatharn Klong Saun Plu Resort, while narrowly losing controversial decisions to Satharnfah and Sudsakorn Sor Klinmee.
One of his biggest career highlights was when he beat Bangpleenoi Petchyindee for the WMC Super Welterweight Title. Currently, WBC Muay Thai ranks him at number 12 in the Super Welterweight category. To put that into perspective, current ONE athlete Brown Pinas ranks number 16 in the same category.
When the WLC was looking for an opponent for Lethwei veteran Shwe Yar Man, Sasha was more than happy to step in. In an interview with Combat Insider, he describes the transition as “diversifying” his career. He wasn’t leaving Muay Thai, just looking for more challenges.
Quick Road To Gold
Sasha’s first assignment was hometown-favorite Shwe Yar Man at WLC: Mighty Warriors. With a current Lethwei record of 25-7, he knows what he’s doing in the ring. But experience would not play a part in this match, as Sasha knocked Yar Man out in the third round.
The impressive nature of this performance added to the fact that the division probably isn’t the most crowded, gave Sasha the green light to a title shot. The champion back then was a Polish Muay Thai fighter and Kickboxer, Artur Saladiak.
The two met in the co-main event of WLC: King of Nine Limbs, which is slightly historic for having the most foreign fighters in a card so far.
Though Saladiak was noticeably the bigger man and was more threatening in terms of power. But Sasha took Conor McGregor’s words to heart and prioritized precision over power.
He relentlessly peppered the Champion with pin point right hands and dropped Saladiak throughout the fight. At the end of five rounds, the winner was clear and Sasha became the new Light Middleweight Lethwei Champion.
ONE Super Series Ambitions
True to his word, Sasha never intended to abandon Muay Thai in favor of Lethwei, choosing to pursue and excel in both sports.
His first assignment in the quickly growing striking league was an Australian boxer with a 40-5 record – Daniel Dawson. But when Andy Souwer had to withdraw from the ONE Kickboxing Featherweight Grand Prix, Sasha came in as his replacement.
His new opponent was Muay Thai superstar Smokin’ Jo Nattawut.
Not many gave Sasha a chance in the bout and the haters were vindicated when Smokin Jo sent him down with a knockout in the third round.
He attempted to make a return at ONE: Age of Dragons against another killer in Yodsanklai Iwe Fairtex, but had to withdraw. His actual return came at ONE Warrior Series 10 against Shahzaib Rindh.
The appearance of a former ONE Super Series athlete that was being booked against pillars of Muay Thai in a show for up and comers competing to get a contract was confusing for many fans.
Nevertheless, Sasha worked diligently and patiently with his less-experienced opponent, pulling off a knockout in the third round.
If Sasha really did get pushed out of competing for the big stage, his latest performance and the gold on his shoulder should be enough to punch his ticket back in.
Because of the partnership between ONE and WLC, Sasha Moisa is in a unique position to compete for two organizations simultaneously. This makes him the only possible candidate as a simultaneous two-league champion.
Just having that possibility – even in the distant future – is an exciting one to contemplate.
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