Asian MMA

China’s Champion: Tang Kai Wins Gold at ONE 160

Image for China’s Champion: Tang Kai Wins Gold at ONE 160

China’s Tang Kai made history at ONE 160 when he earned the ONE Featherweight World Championship. By way of a five-round Unanimous Decision, he defeated the US-born athlete Thanh Le. Tang becomes the first Chinese-born male World Champion in the history of ONE Championship.

Tang Kai Captures the ONE Featherweight World Championship

“I feel extremely lucky and grateful at this moment. I want to thank ONE Championship to provide me with this great platform. Thank my team and brother who gave me great support and all the fans who have unconditionally been by my side” Tang said in his post-fight interview

The 26-year-old MMA fighter earned a title shot in ONE Championship’s featherweight division on a five-fight win streak, with the most recent three being via knockout. Best known for his striking power, he earned an impressive win by out-striking the reigning world titleholder. In his consecutive knockout run, he stopped Jae Woong KimChang Min Yoon, and Ryogo Takahashi. Similarly, the former champion Thanh Le was a knockout striker with his last five wins coming by way of KO.

After five grueling rounds, the judges unanimously gave the fight to Tang Kai, crowning him the new featherweight king of ONE Championship. The US-born Le was pursuing his opponent aggressively. Tang was able to evade and land effective strikes. Particularly, the Chinese-born fighter was able to find success with heavy kicks to the calf.

“I must say, Thanh Le is a lot tougher of an opponent than I expected,” Tang said regarding the former champion, “I want to thank Thanh Le for putting on such a great show. I didn’t expect at his age, in his thirties, he has such great stamina. Really respect this opponent … I was pretty amazed by Thanh Le, actually. In round four, I gave him a huge punch and he was down. But afterward, he managed to bounce back. He is such an amazing athlete”

“Actually, before this match, there was a lot of buzz in China. A lot of people rooting for me,” Tang said to his home country fans in China, “It made me super nervous. I tried not to listen to those, not focus on those, and focus on training. I just want to say I did it, I am so proud, I am able to bring this belt home! … Before every match I feel so nervous, but once I step in the ring, and place my punch on my opponent, I feel great.”

ONE Championship has boasted other World Champions from China, such as the ONE Women’s Strawweight World Champion Xiong Jing Nan. “The Panda” Xiong will next fight on September 30 looking to defend her title against Angela Lee who is planning on becoming a two-weight division champion.

Tang Kai China

ONE Championship China ONE 160

Featured Image Courtesy of ONE Championship.

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Timothy Wheaton is a combat sports writer who covers MMA, Kickboxing, and Muay Thai. He has been an avid follower of these sports since 2005. Tim is a host alongside Frazer Krohn on the MMA Sucka Podcast.

With MMA Sucka, Tim has contributed interviews, articles, and podcasts. He has also represented MMA Sucka in person at live Bellator and GLORY Kickboxing events.

Tim also works with a host of other media sites such as Calf Kick Sports, Sportskeeda MMA, Low Kick MMA, Vecht Sport Info, Fighters First, and Beyond Kickboxing. Tim is is the authority on kickboxing and MMA journalist who has covered K-1, PRIDE FC, UFC, GLORY Kickboxing, Bellator, ONE Championship, and plenty more.

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