History beckons this Friday for Rodtang Jitmuangnon and Superlek Kiatmoo9.
The Thai megastars will finally lock horns in the ONE Lumpinee 34 headliner on September 22, with Rodtang’s ONE flyweight Muay Thai world title on the line at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok.
The highly anticipated fight has been billed as the biggest Muay Thai event in 50 years. Here, we look at what each man will bring to the historic battle as they look to cement their status as the best flyweight striker on the planet.
Rodtang’s forward pressure
If there’s one thing that we know about Rodtang, it’s that he’ll never stop coming forward.
“The Iron Man” is famous for his granite chin and relentless stalking of his opponents, which could be key to unlocking Superlek’s defense.
Daniel Puertas found some success with a similar strategy when he faced Superlek for the ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Title in January. While he came up short on the scorecards, it was a grueling five rounds for the Thai star.
But Rodtang is a master of pressure fighting and is likely to be able to do more damage than Puertas did. If the 25-year-old can push Superlek back to the ropes consistently, he could nullify his fellow countryman’s signature kicking game and gain the upper hand.
Superlek’s ability to control distance with kicks
The perfect antidote to Rodtang’s brawling style could well be Superlek’s elite distance management.
Aptly nicknamed “The Kicking Machine,” Superlek is able to use the teep off either leg to keep his opponents at bay. The perfect example was his three-round demolition of Danial Williams in the ONE Fight Night 8 main event back in March, in which the Aussie searched for a killer blow throughout but was constantly thwarted as he advanced.
But his biggest weapon is the right body kick.
While the 27-year-old brings a supremely well-rounded Muay Thai arsenal to the ring, it was his kick that made him famous on the stadium circuit in Thailand.
Those damaging kicks from the right side are a constant threat that could be the weapon that makes Rodtang think twice before stepping into range.
Rodtang’s heavy counter punches
Much has been said and written of Rodtang’s marauding style, but he also knows how to counterpunch.
The Jitmuangnon Gym representative has a heavy overhand right, which poses a particular danger during his well-timed flurries that typically follow an attack from his opponent.
Rodtang has an uncanny ability to absorb shots before punishing his foe with punches in reply.
If Superlek gets too predictable in his efforts to control range, he could end up getting swarmed and overrun by a signature Rodtang counteroffensive.
Superlek’s willingness to play the long game
Superlek has shown unshakeable composure in his 12 ONE Championship appearances so far.
The Buriram native kept his cool under fire from Puertas and Williams and if he can do so again when he faces Rodtang, he can land some counters of his own.
With a varied arsenal of knees, low kicks, and punches, as well as a lightning-fast switch kick, Superlek will be able to keep Rodtang guessing all night long.
After more than 150 professional fights, the Kiatmoo9 Gym representative knows how to be patient as he searches for openings. Against a walk-forward stylist like Rodtang, he will be able to keep his eyes open and wait for the perfect moment to catch his foe on the counter.
ONE Lumpinee 34 will broadcast on Thailand’s Ch7HD starting at 20.30.