ONE flyweight kickboxing world champion Superlek Kiatmoo9 and flyweight Muay Thai king Rodtang Jitmuangnon will put their friendship aside on Sept 22.
Their highly anticipated ONE flyweight Muay Thai world title showdown takes centre stage at the blockbuster ONE Lumpinee 34 event at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok.
It has been a rollercoaster of emotions for fans worldwide.
They've had to wait for the fight to come to fruition after a mooted match-up back in March was scuppered by a late injury to Rodtang.
Now that the pair have been rebooked after clearing out their respective divisions, Superlek is desperate to deliver an unforgettable performance.
"Rodtang is my ultimate goal in this division. I think it is the perfect time for us to fight each other. We can't run from each other for long. The time has come right now. I'll do my best to give our fans the fight to die for," he said.
"Like I said before, I prefer fighting with foreign opponents rather than with compatriots. But now we don't have any potential opponents left. So, our paths must collide inevitably."
After their initial fight was cancelled, Superlek went on to demolish late replacement Danial Williams in the third round. Following the fight, the Thai superstar call out Rodtang again, preferring to fight foreign opposition instead.
The 27-year-old remained active in the months following, during which he recorded two more crushing knockouts against Nabile Anane and Tagir Khalilov.
Superlek has since revealed that his friendly relationship with Rodtang is one of the reasons for the holdup. However, the pair are now prepared to park their good will in the name of business.
"In fact, I'm fairly close to him. Rodtang is such a nice guy. We used to play football together. He's a humble and funny person. He is one of those fighters that young fighters should look up to," he said.
"We used to tease each other about our fight like we shouldn't fight each other. But we realise that sooner or later, we can't avoid this fight.
"The last time we had a chat, we talked about this fight, and he said, 'Wait a bit, I still don't want to fight you.' But you know, we are professional fighters. We must do our jobs when the matchmaker throws any opponent our way."