ONE Fight Night 12 is headlined by a flyweight Muay Thai showdown between Superlek Kiatmoo9 and Tagir Khalilov, so, without question, ONE flyweight Muay Thai world champion Rodtang Jitmuangnon will be keeping a close eye on the festivities when they go down on Friday, Jul. 14.
Having competed against Khalilov before, “The Iron Man” knows what his Thai compatriot will be up against, and he provided insight into the Russian’s skills in a recent interview with ONE.
“I’ve learned that Tagir is a brave fighter who always goes toe-to-toe. But he still has a hole in his defense. He will let his guard down when he attacks. So, Superlek should wait for that chance to counter. It is not a good idea to trade with him because Superlek will probably be a victim of Tagir’s punch combination,” Rodtang said.
Though he recognizes “Samingpri’s” threat, Rodtang also gives credit to Superlek for the bulletproof striking run he’s put together.
After toppling Nabil Anane at ONE Friday Fights 22, the Thai star is making a quick turnaround for another Muay Thai contest, and the flyweight Muay Thai king has been taking notes of Superlek’s growth into a more aggressive and well-rounded striker during this run.
“What I am impressed by is his determination. He always takes every fight seriously, and you can see his improvement in every single fight. Some people may say that he is easily predictable and that he only depends on his right shin, but now we can see that he is more aggressive and versatile in fighting styles. I think his determination and courage are built up from his fans, the promotion’s support, and his fighting experiences,” Rodtang stated.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, “The Iron Man” favors the ONE flyweight kickboxing champion in Friday’s main event matchup – though he isn’t counting Khalilov out.
“Superlek can be knocked out by Tagir’s punch. Or Tagir can be knocked out by Superlek’s high kick, elbow, or his counter punch because Superlek has better defense than Tagir. And of course, I’m rooting for my Thai compatriot. I’ll go for Superlek,” Rodtang said.
“If I have to predict, there is a high percentage that this fight will be finished by KO. It depends on who would get that shot first.”
With an expectation of an exciting KO finish, Rodtang wants fans to tune in to what he foresees will be a barnburner.
Fans have been clamoring to see him taking on Superlek in a fiery super-fight on the global stage, but the striking megastar has been quick to pour a little cold water over the notion.
He is currently eyeing two other opponents and wants to have multiple Thai champions to bring more notoriety and respect to his country, so for now, it’s not happening.
“There’s still no need for us to face each other soon. But in the future, at the right time, our fight will happen. But right now, we both have our own challenges. For me, my targets are [Jonathan] Haggerty and Takeru [Segawa]. And I want all Thai people to hold ONE’s gold in each division,” Rodtang said.
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