Fans across the globe want to see Takeru Segawa face Rodtang Jitmuangnon. This would be a clash of a decorated multi-time Kickboxing World Champion taking on a top pound-for-pound Muay Thai phenom.
This would be a generationally impactful matchup that could transcend sport. The taglines write themselves; the very best from Muay Thai and Kickboxing squaring off, the finest of ONE meeting the finest of K-1. Takeru vs Rodtang would be a major moment in the history of combat sports.
With it recently being announced that the Japanese star Takeru had signed with ONE Championship, Takeru vs Rodtang is the match that everyone is looking to see. However, despite the war of words dating back years, there are many questions left and the fight sadly seems less likely.
History Between Takeru and Rodtang
At just the age of 25, ‘The Iron Man’ Rodtang has become a prodigy in Muay Thai. In 2019, just one year removed from his close loss to undefeated Tenshin Nasukawa, the Thai-born fighter captured the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Championship. The Thai-born athlete would later defend it against notable names such as Jonathan Haggerty and Petchdam Petchyindee Academy.
Rodtang is known for his aggressive combination punching style which has won him fans all around the globe. Despite his young age, he has collected an impressive record of 271-42-10.
Takeru Segawa is a top pound-for-pound kickboxer who was inspired to enter the sport when he saw Andy Hug fighting in K-1. Since then, the Japanese-born striker has collected three K-1 Grand Prix World Titles in addition to his three K-1 Division World Championships, each of which he has defended.
Between 2012 and 2021, Takeru would collect 35 consecutive victories. Finally, after years of waiting, he would face his cold-war rival Tenshin Nasukawa in a sold-out Tokyo Dome. While he lost a decision, it was a watershed moment for kickboxing in Japan. Since then, the 31-year-old knocked out Bailey Sugden, in Paris, to earn an ISKA World Title.
Takeru vs Rodtang in Jeopardy?
In late 2022, Takeru announced that he was stepping away from his contract to become a free agent. This led to his match in Paris, against Sugden, as well as his signing with ONE Championship. Shortly after the announcement, Thailand’s Rodtang called him out. On Instagram, the 25-year-old said:
I’m personally calling out [Takeru Segawa] for a fight in ONE. If you do not answer my challenge, the fans will know why.
Takeru is now in ONE Championship and has requested a showdown against the Muay Thai phenom. After his last knockout victory, the 31-year-old Japanese-born striker claimed:
I only have Rodtang in my sights. I will beat Rodtang.
In answer, shockingly, Rodtang had a sudden change in attitude. The Thai-born fighter now would like to see the multi-time K-1 Kickboxing World Champion get some victories under the ONE Championship banner. The 25-year-old athlete explained:
Before you call my name get some wins in ONE first.
Many fans and media have pointed out the irony in this statement given that in the Muay Thai World Champions’ last six bouts, four of them were against fighters debuting in ONE Championship. In the other two matches, Joseph Lasiri was 1-4 in that division while Jiduo Yibu was 0-1 in ONE.
The callouts of each other go back as far as 2021 with Takeru and Rodtang both looking for this match. However, now that the fight between the two phenoms seems inevitable, one of the fighters has poured cold water on the possibility.
Kickboxing or Muay Thai?
Fans are absolutely certain that they want to see Takeru vs Rodtang, but no one knows in which sport. Rodtang has experience in kickboxing but really cut his teeth as a Muay Thai world champion. Takeru has slight experience in Muay Thai but spent the vast majority of his career collecting world titles in Kickboxing. Additionally, the Japanese-born striker has never fought in 4-ounce gloves whereas Rodtang has fought in both big and small gloves.
Some have proposed a solution, and have Rodtang fight for a Kickboxing World Title in ONE against Superlek Kiatmoo9. That way, potentially, Rodtang and Takeru could fight for a Kickboxing World Title in ONE. ‘The Iron Man’ has declined this option.
Rodtang and Superlek were destined to meet during the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Grand Prix in 2022 however Rodtang dropped out. Later, Rodtang and Superlek were booked to meet again, this time for the ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Championship, but ‘The Iron Man’ dropped out due to injury.
Now, Rodtang claims that he refuses to fight Superlek stating that he does not want to take a world championship title away from a fellow Thai-born athlete.
Rodtang Jitmuangnon and Takeru Segawa facing off would be an unforgettable moment in combat sports history. It would represent two decorated world champions, top pound-for-pound fighters, squaring off. The best of K-1 facing the best of ONE Championship, the best of Kickboxing facing the best of Muay Thai. ONE Championship has the opportunity to create a generationally influential fight.
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