By the time she turned 20 years old, Amber “AK 47” Kitchen had already tasted plenty of success in Muay Thai.
The prodigy now has the chance to continue her winning ways in The Home Of Martial Arts. She steps up to face Slovakia’s Viktoria Lipianska at ONE: IMMORTAL TRIUMPH on Friday, 6 September.
Before Kitchen makes her promotional debut in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, we learn about her journey to becoming one of Muay Thai’s most exciting strikers.
“AK 47” had an early start in the sport. Born and raised in a small coastal town of Penzance in Cornwall, England, Kitchen grew up under parents who were also successful martial artists.
Kitchen’s mother, Julie, is a 14-time Muay Thai World Champion and one of the UK’s most decorated combat sports athletes of all time. Her father, Nathan, trained Julie at his own academy, Touchgloves Gym.
Due to her young age, Kitchen did not fully appreciate her mother’s success until later in life.
“We didn’t really think much of [my mom’s career] when we were younger – it was just normal, really. It’s not until I look back now that I can see how she really did give it her all and how good she was,” Kitchen explained.
Although the striking star’s parents actively encouraged their daughter to try different sports, Kitchen gravitated toward Muay Thai.
“I tried other sports in school – it’s mainly surfing down here. I tried that and didn’t really like it. And I tried a few other things too, but just always reverted back to Thai boxing,” she said.
Despite Muay Thai quickly becoming her passion, “AK 47” took her studies seriously and made school her first priority.
“I just focused on my homework all the time, and I didn’t do Thai boxing as much because I was so focused on my GCSEs,” Kitchen stated.
Taking part in her first competitive bout at just 9 years old, Kitchen soon became a junior British, European, and World Champion.
“Me and my sister fought all around the UK at lots of competitions, and we fought for England in Turkey and things like that. I was undefeated as a junior,” Kitchen said.
In between school and training, the English talent never committed fully to Muay Thai until a trip to Thailand made her realize her true love for the sport.
“Growing up, I wanted to be a tattoo artist. I did art and design at college, and I went to Thailand because I wanted to learn bamboo tattooing,” Kitchen recalled. “When I got there, I just started training and thought, ‘You know what, this would probably suit me more.’”
Armed with a new resolve to focus professionally on Muay Thai, Kitchen dedicated her time to training and improving her skills.
Her unblemished streak came to an end though just as she moved up to the senior ranks. She also faced difficulties adjusting to the new rules, all of which had her contemplating her future in the sport.
“When I stepped up from junior to adult, I really struggled. I lost my first three fights and got stopped. That had a big impact, and I didn’t know if I wanted to carry on doing Thai boxing at all,” she admitted.
However, Kitchen’s desire to prove she belonged with the best quickly dismissed any self-doubts she had about competition.
“Something just switched. I realized I’d been kidding myself about my training and not being serious, so I stepped up my training and kept going, and I have won every fight ever since,” the English athlete added.
Since that turning point, Kitchen has overcome tough competition and even captured the WBC English Muay Thai Title.
Her hunger for competition led “AK 47” overseas where she competed against top Muay Thai talents from their respective countries.
“I took these matches against girls with 30 or 40 fights and away from home as the underdog,” Kitchen said. “I was thinking it was farfetched for me to win, but I went out and I won. This was when I really believed in myself, and I thought I could actually do it if I knuckle down and train as hard as I can.”
Her success on the international stage did not go unnoticed and Kitchen signed to ONE Championship, where she is eager to make an immediate impact in her promotional debut.
“Signing for ONE is like a dream for anyone who fights because it’s the biggest platform you can get on,” Kitchen said. “I can’t imagine anything better, really. This is a huge step up, so I’ve got so much determination to perform well against the best in the world, and the main goal is that ONE World Title.”
To watch Kitchen’s promotional debut and all the action live, download the ONE Super App.
ONE: IMMORTAL TRIUMPH begins with the preliminary card at 6:30pm SGT on the ONE Super App, and then tune in to Toggle at 9:30pm SGT for the main card.
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