Superlek Kiatmoo9 had a sensational 2022 campaign and rolled that momentum into 2023 by capturing the vacant ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Championship in January. At ONE Fight Night 8, on Prime Video, he will defend the gold for the first time against Rodtang Jitmuangnon. But his 2023 has included more than just success in the Circle.
Kickboxing Legend Superlek Meets Hip-Hop Icon Wiz Khalifa Ahead of Title Match Against Rodtang
During a string of seminars, Superlek had a run-in with hip-hop megastar Wiz Khalifa. The American superstar has made the rounds showcasing his love of training in martial arts in recent years and hit the mitts with the ONE Championship titleholder. Even though Superlek did not know who he was at first, he was impressed by what he saw.
“He came to learn Muay Thai with me at the seminar. I taught him a few of my techniques. His basics are good because he exercises regularly. He is also a fan of Muay Thai and used to practice this sport. After I saw his stance, how he attacked, I can tell that this guy can fight. He is not an ordinary amateur. But to tell the truth, I didn’t know him before. I didn’t know that he is a famous rapper. I was so happy to rub shoulders with a celeb like him,” said Superlek.
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After returning from his trip, Superlek refocused and got into camp for his upcoming title defense. The 27-year-old has been on a collision course with Rodtang since arriving in ONE. The Kiatmoo9 Gym star knew the day would come and is excited that fans will finally see the superfight for the first time.
“Most fans want to see me fight Rodtang. And I’ve thought about it for a long time. Sooner or later, we would clash against each other, especially since I’ve joined ONE and we fight in the same division. Both of us want to be the best. And, our path led to the same goal. So, it was inevitable that I’d face Rodtang one day,” said the reigning ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Champion.
“The Kicking Machine” expects his footwork to play a major factor in the contest. Rodtang is known for his constant pressure, and Superlek expressed that he will be patient in the match. That game plan partly comes from witnessing Rodtang’s previous outings and seeing how he uses his emotions inside the Circle.
“Rodtang’s strength is his aggressive style. He has a dangerous left hook, low punch, and leg kick. I think his style is more compatible with kickboxing rules than Muay Thai. However, his weakness is his emotions, and emotions somehow affect his performance. His attacks get weaker when he gets upset,” said Superlek.
But Rodtang has been evolving. In recent outings, “The Iron Man” has shown more patience and variety in his attacks. Superlek says he is prepared for that as well. And he will need to be as Rodtang has never lost on the global stage ONE provides.
Superlek credits Rodtang’s aggression as a reason for his unbeaten streak in ONE. The durability his compatriot has shown has also caught his attention. Win or lose, Superlek knows this will only be the first of many meetings between the two stars. And he wants both men to put their best foot forward in the main event to appease the fans who have waited with bated breath for this matchup.
“Fans have been waiting so long to see us fight. I will give it my all. It doesn’t matter who wins. But we both will give our best performances because it’s our duty. After [we are done in] the Circle, we will walk out and be friends again. Nothing personal,” said Superlek.
ONE Fight Night 8 goes live on Friday, March 24, from the Singapore Indoor Stadium. The event gets underway at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Prime Video. It is free for all Amazon Prime members in the U.S. and Canada.