Women’s Muay Thai pioneer Celest Hansen prepares for the fight of her life at ONE Friday Fights 54

Australian Muay Thai star Celest Hansen knows that her fight on Friday could be a career-defining moment.

‘The Best’ faces Francisca Vera at ONE Friday Fights 54 on March 8 in a critical atomweight Muay Thai contest that might just increase her chances of reaching the top of the sport.

It won’t be the first time Hansen puts it all on the line at Bangkok, Thailand’s Lumpinee Boxing Stadium. The 30-year-old made history in 2021 when she took part in the first female fight to ever happen inside the historic venue.

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After winning her way onto the ONE Championship roster with a stunning victory at the Road to ONE: Thailand tournament that same year, Hansen made a perfect start to her career on the global stage with two straight wins.

But she has since fallen to defeat in her past two fights, albeit to top opponents ‘The Queen’ Phetjeeja and surging Hong Kong star Yu Yau Pui.

It’s not what you would call a traditional losing streak, however, given that she did the promotion a solid by stepping in on just two days’ notice to face Thai phenom Phetjeeja last October.

Celest Hansen is desperate to get that winning feeling again. Credit: Supplied

That fact does little to ease the worries of Hansen, who is aware that three losses on the bounce can leave a fighter vulnerable at this level of the sport.

“I want to cry even thinking about (winning this fight). It would just be really good. With (the big promotions), if you lose too many times, they’ll kick you out and say they don’t want you anymore,” Hansen said.

“The pressure is so much. My dreams and goals are in ONE. I lost twice already, so to win would just be amazing. It’s now or never. I feel the pressure and I’m like, ‘Oh my God. I don’t even want to do it. What if I lose? And what if my career is over?’ Of course I want to fight, but I’ve never felt this kind of pressure before.

“I guess when I’m in the ring, I’m just going to have to focus. Not forget about it, but don’t focus on it because I think it would distract me. I just have to go out there, do what I do and have fun.”

In Vera, Hansen faces an opponent who is also fighting for her life.

‘Miss Scarface’ made a perfect start to her run on ONE’s Friday Fights platform, knocking out Hansen’s teammate Gusjung Fairtex with a brutal second-round knee in February 2023.

A unanimous decision loss to Lisa Brierley just two months later halted the Chilean’s momentum, before Nongam Fairtex exacted a measure of revenge for her Fairtex Training Center stablemate with a majority victory over Vera this past September.

A third straight defeat could also spell the end for Vera’s chase for a berth on ONE’s main roster, and Hansen intends to make life difficult for her this time out.

“She’s had a few fights [in ONE]. She’s actually fought two girls from Fairtex before. I know she’s training [at] Phuket Fight Club. I used to live in Phuket, so I trained with her teammates before many times. She’s a little bit taller than me, but I’m confident in myself and I’m excited,” she said.

“She likes the elbow, she likes to punch. But I really like to punch. So, I think it’s going to be a really fun fight. I think she’s just not going to deal well with the pressure.”

Hansen’s ultra-aggressive fighting style contrasts her friendly and gentle manner outside of the ring.

She plans to flip the switch once again and leave it all at Lumpinee as she bids to put her ONE women’s atomweight Muay Thai world title chase back on track.

If the fight goes to plan, Hansen is very likely to revert to her sensitive self when her hand is finally raised in victory.

“I’m hungry because I lost twice, and I feel like crap [for losing]. I guess I just want to take it all out on her and get my name back and get back to winning,” Hansen said.

“I’m going to win and I’m going to fight really good. Of course, I’m going to brawl too because I really like that, and it makes me happy. It’s going to be really exciting no matter what. I won’t give up and when I win, I’ll probably cry. I’ll just bawl my eyes out non-stop for such a long time in relief.”

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