The heart of Bangkok, Thailand, pulsed with excitement on September 22, 2023, as the Lumpinee Boxing Stadium played host to ONE Friday Fights 34. With anticipation in the air, the stadium witnessed one of the most enthralling Muay Thai events in recent history.
The spotlight centered on a monumental battle between two modern-day gladiators, Superlek Kiatmoo9 and Rodtang Jitmuangnon. The reverberations from their face-off are likely to linger in the memories of Muay Thai aficionados for years to come.
A slight hiccup arose when ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Champion, Superlek, missed his mark at the weigh-in. Nevertheless, this transitory setback only added an intriguing dimension to the contest, transitioning it into a 140-pound catchweight duel. The stage was set, the backdrop – the iconic Lumpinee Boxing Stadium, considered by many as the “Mecca of Muay Thai.”
As the opening bell tolled, the bonds of camaraderie between these two Thai legends took a backseat. Superlek, with his moniker, “The Kicking Machine”, vividly demonstrated why he held such a title. His right kicks, heavy and precise, sought to disrupt Rodtang’s rhythm and negate his superior boxing combinations. The kicks resonated through the stadium, each landing with the thump of a baseball bat, a testament to Superlek’s prowess.
Yet Rodtang, always living up to his “Iron Man” epithet, remained undeterred. Amidst the onslaught, he managed to land an upward elbow, slicing through Superlek’s defenses and marking him. The exchange was indicative of the high-level tactical gameplay both fighters brought into the ring.
As the second round commenced, Rodtang, ever the aggressor, narrowed the gap, trying incessantly to press his advantage. Superlek, however, displayed a masterclass in strategic fighting. Recognizing the need to temper Rodtang’s usual brisk pace, Superlek continued his heavy kicking offensive, each strike a testament to his impeccable technique.
The turning point arrived when Superlek, harnessing the momentum, cornered Rodtang against the ropes and unleashed a knee that could be best described as ‘devastating’. Rodtang, though ever-resilient, found himself momentarily overwhelmed. Before he could recalibrate his strategy, a swift elbow from Superlek sent him crashing, leading to a compulsory eight-count.
This knockdown, while significant, did little to dampen Rodtang’s indomitable spirit. It set the stage for a third round that can only be classified as legendary. Both warriors, aware of the stakes, traded blows in a whirlwind of action. Rodtang, ever the brawler, retaliated with a barrage of punches and the occasional elbow. Superlek, showcasing his ring intelligence, evaded the storm, responding with calculated strikes of his own.
The culmination of these nine electrifying minutes reaffirmed the essence of Muay Thai – respect, resilience, and unparalleled skill. The encounter stood as a testament to why this sport, steeped in tradition, continues to captivate audiences worldwide.
But as the age-old adage goes, in the world of sports, there can only be one victor.
In this clash of titans, Superlek emerged triumphant, securing a unanimous decision that further embellished his remarkable career record to 136-29. This victory, achieved on the grandest stage in Muay Thai, not only added another feather to his cap but might have also birthed a rivalry that could define this generation.
Rodtang, the reigning ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion, and Superlek, the kickboxing maestro, engaged in a 140-pound catchweight spectacle. From the outset, with Superlek’s relentless leg kicks to Rodtang’s incisive elbow strikes, the duel was nothing short of mesmerizing. Yet, it was Superlek’s strategic knockdown in the pivotal second round that swayed the balance, earning him the nod from the adjudicators.