One of the most eagerly awaited striking matchups in ONE Championship history is about to come to fruition at ONE Friday Fights 34.
This Friday, September 22, longtime ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion Rodtang Jitmuangnon will square off with reigning ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Champion Superlek Kiatmoo9 in a 140-pound Catchweight Muay Thai Super Fight in Bangkok, Thailand.
Recognized as two of the best strikers of this generation, the Thai fan favorites will duke it out in a fascinating clash of styles that fans have been looking forward to for a long time.
Here, we break down the keys to victory for each man before this battle of pound-for-pound greats in Asia primetime at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium.
#1 Rodtang’s Ability To Back Up Superlek
If there was ever a fighter with a clear game plan, it’s Rodtang.
“The Iron Man” almost always looks to get in his opponent’s face and overwhelm them with heavy shots, and this will be his best route to success against Superlek.
The Jitmuangnon Gym representative should try to push his foe back toward the ropes with his aggressive boxing attack, leaving the latter with less room to evade the punishing left hooks and overhand rights that will be flying in his direction.
Although Daniel Puertas came up short in his World Title showdown with Superlek, he did find success with this strategy and even wobbled the Thai technician in some exchanges, leading to a very close decision.
With faith in his granite chin and a massive amount of power in his shots, Rodtang could do even more damage if he implements this kind of strategy.
#2 Superlek’s Distance Management With Kicks
It’s imperative that Superlek keeps Rodtang at bay, and he has some strong tools to make this happen.
For instance, the Kiatmoo9 Gym man has strong, fast push kicks off both legs, which are capable of halting even the most forceful attacks.
His right kick is the biggest weapon in his arsenal. Thrown with power and accuracy, “The Kicking Machine” uses it to smash the body of his rivals as they advance, especially if they’re wading in with looping punches.
He can also drill it into Rodtang’s lead leg when the latter steps forward to punch and whip it up high in the blink of an eye to keep him guessing.
However, he’ll need to make sure his conditioning is on point to continue throwing those kicks with enough venom.
Rangier fighters like Jonathan Haggerty and Petchdam Petchyindee have used long kicks to try to keep “The Iron Man” at a longer distance, but when their output slowed down, Rodtang took advantage. With that in mind, Superlek can’t take his foot off the gas in the final round.
#3 Rodtang’s Heavy Counters
While Rodtang is known as a marauding offensive fighter who will take one to give one, he also employs great defense that will help him score against Superlek.
He counters-punches with well-timed flurries, including his hard overhand right over the jab that Superlek will use to maintain space.
“The Iron Man” also fires back off kicks, either blocking or absorbing the shot to land punches in reply.
He can goad his opponents into over-committing by leaning his chin out toward them, but he’s also capable of slipping or leaning back from shots, leaving those opponents vulnerable to even more counter-attacks.
#4 Superlek’s Patience To Wait For Openings
With more than 150 fights to his credit, Superlek is usually supremely composed inside the ring, and this will be vital if he hopes to overcome Rodtang’s frenzied attacks.
Many opponents have simply been overwhelmed by the nonstop pressure from the flyweight Muay Thai king, but the Kiatmoo9 Gym representative is a cool customer who should have the experience to ride out these bursts of intensity.
If he can keep his head, the kickboxing titleholder will find routes to counter Rodtang when he wades in with his big punches.
The Buriram native has a solid left hook counter on the back foot, and he can also walk “The Iron Man” into his knees and low kicks.
And while the focus will always be on Rodtang’s flashy shows of punching resistance, “The Kicking Machine” has never been knocked out, so he can afford to wait for the right openings with full confidence in his own chin.