When ONE Championship first came onto the combat-sports scene, it was an MMA organization. The organization’s latest event, Fists of Fury, illustrates the company’s evolution into a mecca for kickboxing and Muay Thai as well.
The lineup contains just one MMA contest to go along with a Muay Thai affair and four kickboxing bouts. It all culminates in a championship headliner.
Flyweight kickboxing kingpin Ilias Ennahachi attempts to make a second defense of his title when he collides with rising star Superlek Kiatmoo9. Both men have enjoyed plenty of recent success, but only one of them can leave with the belt on Friday.
While the title contest serves as the headliner, the biggest star on the docket is without a doubt Giorgio Petrosyan. One of the all-time greats of the kickboxing world, Petrosyan returns for the first time in more than a year to face old rival Davit Kiria.
The lineup also features Rodtang Jitmuangnon, Zhang Chenglong and the MMA debut of Victoria Lee.
ONE Championship: Fists of Fury takes place at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Feb. 26. The festivities kick off at 7:30 a.m. ET. American fans can view the entire show for free on B/R Live. International fans can tune in on the ONE app.
The flyweight kickboxing crown is on the line in the headlining bout between Ilias Ennahachi and Superlek Kiatmoo9. Who walks away with the belt?
Ennahachi enters this encounter with the strap around his waist. The 24-year-old won the title in 2019 when he knocked out Petchdam Petchyindeeacademy in the third round. The Dutch-Moroccan kickboxer has since added a successful defense in a split decision over Wang Wenfeng.
Ennahachi’s challenger, Superlek, has put together a strong recent campaign. In fact, the 25-year-old is perfect under the ONE banner through four appearances. He’s also 6-0-1 through his last seven fights. The former Lumpinee Stadium champion notched decisions over Panpayak Jitmuangnon and Fahdi Khaled over his last two ONE outings. Only the Khaled bout came under kickboxing rules.
Ennahachi was truly impressive in his title-winning performance against Petchdam. He outclassed the Thai fighter using a kicking combination of going low to the leg and then quickly up high to the head. He also switched stances regularly and utilized a lot of movement to confuse Petchdam. Ennahachi’s steady barrage had Petchdam overwhelmed by round three.
The Dutch-Moroccan kickboxer was far less dominant against Wang. The pair are rivals who had already split a set of fights before going the distance in a very close affair in the ONE ring. Ennahachi had his moments, but he was fortunate to escape with the championship. However, it was Wang’s length and kickboxing style that allowed him to provide a tougher challenger than Petchdam for Ennahachi.
Superlek is known as “The Kicking Machine,” and his right leg is his biggest weapon. In terms of styles, though, he falls in line with Petchdam rather than Wang. He’s a more flat-footed and methodical Muay Thai practitioner. Khaled had some success against him with his left hook, and this could be an area that Ennahachi, who has more power in his punching combinations, could target.
This figures to be a very competitive fight, but Ennahachi will enjoy a height advantage and tends to fight long. He had trouble getting inside against Wang, but it shouldn’t be an issue against Superlek. The champ will have to absorb some heavy kicks from the challenger, but he should do enough with his combinations to more than make up for it. Ennahachi will retain once more, albeit in another razor-thin decision.
Giorgio Petrosyan makes his first appearance with ONE since 2019 and takes part in his first fight in more than a year. Is the top kickboxer in any danger against Davit Kiria?
This is actually a rematch of a 2012 tournament bout at GLORY 3 that Petrosyan won by unanimous decision. Any fighter has a puncher’s chance, so Kiria certainly can’t be dismissed entirely. However, Petrosyan has continued to cement his place as one of the pound-for-pound best in the sport, while Kiria has traveled a rocky road since that loss.
Kiria has managed just a 17-10 mark since falling to Petrosyan in the semifinals of that eight-man, one-night tournament. He’s posted notable wins over Murthel Groenhart and Andy Ristie, but he’s also faltered against Robin van Roosmalen (twice), Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong (twice), and Superbon Banchamek, among others. The Georgian kickboxer will be making his debut with ONE.
Petrosyan, on the other hand, has been almost unstoppable in his career. The aforementioned Ristie knocked him out, but that’s one of only two losses in over a hundred career outings for the Armenian-Italian superstar and the only loss he has suffered since his previous win over Kiria. Petrosyan went on to win the tournament that night with a decision over van Roosmalen. The 35-year-old’s total mark since his victory over Kiria is an absolutely amazing 21-1 with one no-contest.
Petrosyan is in the conversation as the GOAT in the sport of kickboxing. He currently resides at No. 4 in the Combat Press pound-for-pound rankings and checks in at second in the lightweight top 10. Meanwhile, Kiria doesn’t even register in the pound-for-pound poll and sits at a modest No. 9 at lightweight.
It would be a complete shock if Kiria dominates or finishes Petrosyan. Instead, we should see the legend add yet another victory to his incredible record.
What other key storylines should fans know about heading into this event?
The card is fairly stacked, especially in the striking realms. In addition to the two top-billed fights, Rodtang Jitmuangnon is featured in a flyweight kickboxing bout against Tagir Khalilov. Meanwhile, Hiroki Akimoto clashes with Zhang Chenglong. In Muay Thai, Wondergirl Fairtex tangles with Jackielou Buntan. To top things off, the night begins with the MMA debut of Victoria Lee. These are all significant fights.
Rodtang is the ONE flyweight Muay Thai kingpin, but he meets Khalilov in a kickboxing bout on short notice after his original opponent, Alejandro Rivas, withdrew. If he gets past the 28-year-old Russian, then he could be poised for a shot at the title that’s being contested in the evening’s main event. The 23-year-old Rodtang has found plenty of success under the ONE banner and should edge Khalilov in an action-packed affair.
Akimoto and Zhang seek a more definitive outcome in their rematch following a split verdict in Akimoto’s favor in their October battle. Zhang is a former title challenger, and the case could be made that he won the first encounter. However, if Akimoto can add a more convincing win over the Chinese fighter, then he could move one step closer to a title shot of his own.
Wondergirl is being groomed as another female star for the company. She’s tasked with an American foe in Buntan whom she should beat. If Wondergirl continues to find success, she should enter the title fray before long.
Meanwhile, the most significant storyline for the earlier portion of the card might be the debut of Lee. She’s just 16 years old, but she’s set to fight Sunisa Srisen in the opening contest of the event. This bout serves as Lee’s professional debut, but she’s already an accomplished martial artist. Lee is a two-time pankration world champ, a state wrestling champion, and a 15-time NAGA expert champ. She also has MMA in her bloodlines: she’s the younger sister of ONE standouts Angela and Christian Lee. Srisen will provide a tough first test for her, but it’s difficult to bet against someone with such a strong pedigree and long list of credentials.
Kickboxing (FlyW Championship): Ilias Ennahachi vs. Superlek Kiatmoo9
Kickboxing (FW): Giorgio Petrosyan vs. Davit Kiria
Kickboxing (FlyW): Rodtang Jitmuangnon vs. Tagir Khalilov
Kickboxing (BW): Hiroki Akimoto vs. Zhang Chenglong
Muay Thai (StrawW): Wondergirl Fairtex vs. Jackielou Buntan
MMA (AtomW): Victoria Lee vs. Sunisa Srisen
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