Superlek Kiatmoo9 has been riding high with impressive showings in kickboxing and Muay Thai in ONE Championship of late, including a hard-fought win over Rodtang Jitmuangnon last September.
But he has enjoyed most of that success in front of a friendly hometown crowd in Thailand. On Sunday, Jan. 28, “The Kicking Machine” travels to hostile territory to defend the ONE flyweight kickboxing world championship for the first time against striking megastar Takeru Segawa.
It’s a challenge Superlek is welcoming, even if he knows it’ll be a tough day at the office.
“If I beat him in Japan, it’s going to be awesome. But to fight in Japan is not easy. Beating him is even less easy,” he told ONE.
The Thai dynamo is seen by many to be at the top of any pound-for-pound striking list. But he isn’t letting any accolade alter preparation for his upcoming matchup.
Since replacing an injured Rodtang in the ONE 165 main event, Superlek has been detailing his opponent’s game to better understand what he will have to do to defend his throne inside the Ariake Arena in Tokyo.
“His fighting style has karate and punches combined, like a scary melting pot. He’s good in his own way. Plus, he is durable,” he explained.
In 2023, Superlek became a more aggressive striker. Although his impeccable technique was still there, he was also pressing the action and going for finishes.
While he will take another finish in his world title tilt on Mar. 1, the 28-year-old is entering it more cautious due to his opponent’s stature in the sport.
“What I need to be extra careful of against Takeru are his punches. He strikes so well in combination, too,” Superlek said.
“I can’t be careless because he’s great with lots of experience. I can’t just be reckless, especially fighting a fighter at this level. Reckless isn’t even in the dictionary.”
That is not to say he will be blinded by the bright lights of the stage, however. The flyweight kickboxing king is adamant that he isn’t intimated by the man or the moment, and he’s ready to utilize all his best weapons against Takeru.
And if he can assess the multiple-time kickboxing world champion’s tactics, counter, and land those crushing shots, there’s every chance that Superlek will affirm his status as the greatest flyweight in the world at ONE 165.
“[Takeru] and I have different styles. I’m slower, but I have heavy weapons to save me,” Superlek said.
“My stronger points would be my more powerful kicks. My kicks are powerful and can be effective against anyone. So, I could kick his legs to stop him from moving or slow him down.”
ONE 165: Superlek vs. Takeru airs live on Sunday, Jan. 28, from the Ariake Arena in Tokyo. The action is available via global pay-per-view on watch.onefc.com.
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