Rodtang fires a warning shot at Puric
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Rodtang fires a warning shot at Puric

Rodtang Jitmuangnon roars in delight after a victory.
Rodtang Jitmuangnon roars in delight after a victory.

ONE flyweight Muay Thai world champion Rodtang Jitmuangnon is a man in demand. His upcoming opponent, Denis Puric, has undoubtedly been the most vocal of those wanting to face the Thai megastar.

Now, Puric gets his wish at ONE 167: Tawanchai v Nattawut II this weekend, when he faces off with "The Iron Man" in a non-title flyweight kickboxing contest at the Impact Arena on Saturday morning.

Rodtang, for one, admires his upcoming foe's persistence.

"I have known Denis Puric for a long time. Since he first joined ONE, he has been calling for me from the beginning. Thank you for always thinking of me," he said.

"I respect him for his determination because it's really difficult to run through many opponents to reach me. You have to fight to put yourself into the rankings to challenge me. He tried his best and managed to face me. I have to respect his fighting spirit."

Puric set the stage for a dream showdown with one of the biggest names in combat sports by winning three of his last four fights.

During that run, the 39-year-old contender netted wins against Russia's Tagir Khalilov, Britain standout Jacob Smith, and ONE 167 competitor Nguyen Tran Duy Nhat.

Puric's recent hot streak is not lost on Rodtang, who's had his eye on "The Bosnian Menace" throughout.

"Puric built himself up to call me out. It's his right to do that. He wants to fight with the best. I just waited for ONE's matchmakers to approve it because I'm ready to fight anyone," he said.

"He is very good. He beat Tagir Khalilov and Jacob Smith, so I think he deserves to face me. In his fight with Yodlekpet, I could see that this guy is a veteran fighter, and he is more than ready to fight me."

Rodtang has become one of the most recognisable and indeed most feared fighters in the world over the course of his six-year run on the global stage with ONE.

The 26-year-old has scored a staggering 14 victories under Muay Thai and kickboxing rules, and he remains the undisputed ONE flyweight Muay Thai world champion after claiming the crown way back in 2019.

Undeterred, Puric has cut a confident figure in the leadup to ONE 167.

But amid a series of bullish predictions from his opponent, Rodtang plans to make Puric regret calling him out.

"Denis' strengths are that he can get in and out quickly. And he is a heavy hitter, good at countering with punches, kicks, and knees. His weakness is that he seems to run out of gas at the end of the round. And his weak body will be a good target for me," he said.

"Let's see how it goes in the ring. I'm glad you think that I'm no match for you. Thank you for calling me out. See you on June 8, when you will know what hell on earth is."

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