When the floodlights blaze over the iconic Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok on September 22nd, a battle of epic proportions will erupt. In a sport where strikes and kicks can be as eloquent as words, Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon and Superlek “The Kicking Machine” Kiatmoo9 are about to engage in a war for the soul of Muay Thai. Holding court as the main event at ONE Friday Fights 34, this is more than a fight; it’s a seismic event that has the entire combat sports community buzzing.
The intriguing question is: who has the upper hand? It’s a conundrum that has pundits and fans splitting hairs, but atomweight sensation Denice Zamboanga has her perspective all sorted out. Zamboanga, herself a No. 3 ranked atomweight contender with her own title aspirations, recently offered her two cents on the matter. Speaking to The MMA Superfan, she was concise yet compelling: “Rodtang is very intelligent and has excellent head movement. He has great boxing skills. Those are his advantages.”
Now, let’s digest that for a moment. Rodtang is no greenhorn. He’s stepping into the ring for his jaw-dropping 323rd career fight. Yes, you read that right. With a record that boasts an undefeated streak in Muay Thai under the ONE Championship banner, he’s proven himself against luminaries like Danial Williams, Joseph Lasiri, and not one but two victories over Jonathan Haggerty. These aren’t just any fighters; these are some of the biggest names in the Muay Thai universe.
But Superlek is an enigma Rodtang has yet to solve. The reigning ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Champion, Superlek himself walks into the ring boasting an undefeated record in the ONE flyweight Muay Thai division. This year alone, he’s claimed four victories, amplifying his status as one of ONE Championship’s most devastating strikers. The stakes? Oh, they’re sky-high. A win would catapult Superlek into the rarefied air of being a dual ONE world champion.
Zamboanga is keenly aware of Rodtang’s rigorous preparations for this colossal bout. “I know he’s more serious now in training for Superlek, compared to previous opponents,” she shared in the same interview. “That we can be sure of. He’s going to come into this fight in great shape and ready for war.”
This battle has been simmering, tucked away in the subconscious of Muay Thai fans for years. Finally, the celestial gears have aligned to let these legends meet in the square circle. Rodtang has a stellar streak of 12-straight Muay Thai wins in ONE, many of which came against reigning world champs like Joseph Lasiri and Jonathan Haggerty. This, my friends, is the stuff that legends are carved from.
But Superlek is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma, encased in shin guards. He’s the opponent that could upend Rodtang’s well-earned glory, and therein lies the electrifying tension.
Zamboanga, a keen observer of the fight game, believes we’re in for a spectacle of near-mythic proportions. “It’s going to be a gunfight,” she stated, underlining her belief that the bout will be a never-ending chain of action, “start to finish.”
After all, this is Rodtang we’re talking about—the man who most recently electrified the crowd in the United States, knocking out Edgar Tabares in the second round and grabbing a $100,000 performance bonus from ONE CEO and Chairman Chatri Sityodtong. A man in that form is a freight train of momentum, but Superlek is a stone wall that’s held firm against all comers.
As for Superlek, he’s riding his own wave of accolades, crowned the ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Champion and ranked as the No. 1 Muay Thai contender in the division. His sights are set on adding Rodtang’s name to his already impressive list of conquered adversaries.
The bell is almost set to ring, and whether you’ll be in the heart of Thailand or watching from your screen, rest assured, you can catch all the high-stakes action free weekly on ONE Championship’s official YouTube page. But let’s not kid ourselves—this is one “can’t-miss” spectacle, a veritable opera of strikes and counters, that could very well redefine the combat sports landscape.
So mark your calendars and fasten your seat belts. In the words of Denice Zamboanga, “ONE Championship fights are always exciting from the start, so they’re going to start trading from the first round.” It’s not just a match; it’s a testament to why we live in the adrenaline-pumping world of combat sports.