Superlek Kiatmoo9 went into Takeru Segawa‘s territory and successfully defended his ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Championship at ONE 165. The main event tilt was incredible, but the Thai star retained after a ferocious battle on January 28. After the event, Superlek admitted he was not surprised by the dogfight his latest challenger gave him.
“There’s no surprise [about what he displayed today]. That’s why he’s the top fighter in the world. I thought that I’m the heavy hitter, but I could not take him down, I could not drop him at all. He just kept coming right at me, so he deserved to be one of the top fighters in the world,” Superlek told ONE Championship.
“The Kicking Machine” lived up to his name with damaging leg kicks from the opening bell. The kicks paid dividends, leaving the Japanese superstar battered and bruised in the wake of the fight. Even with the performance, Superlek still believes there is room for improvement.
— 武尊 takeru (@takerusegawa) January 29, 2024
“First of all, I must say that I am very happy and glad to be having the opportunity to fight here in Japan. I must thank Kun Chatri for this opportunity. In terms of what happened during the fight, I thought that I didn’t perform 100 percent like I wanted to. I feel like there are many parts or many opportunities that I could have struck better, and definitely, there’s one part where Takeru landed his fists on my face, and I was quite dizzy. But I’m glad that everything turned out okay,” Superlek stated.
Despite the accumulated damage, Takeru gave it his all and had the champion on the ropes. In the third round, Takeru came alive with speedy combinations that connected cleanly. The reigning flyweight king did not play it off; he admitted he was in trouble and had to survive.
“It was at the end of the third round. I took that shot from Takeru, and my body literally froze and the only thing that I thought in my head was that I have to have a fighting spirit, I have to do whatever it takes to survive in the third round and continue fighting in the fourth round,” the Thai star confessed.
However, the championship rounds went back in favor of Superlek. His leg kicks continued to add up, and Takeru failed to recapture the magic of the third round. In the end, it was a clear unanimous decision win for Superlek.
Having fought Rodtang Jitmuangnon and Takeru in back-to-back outings, Superlek is the unquestionable flyweight king. Moreover, he may be the pound-for-pound king. But he gives kudos to his challenger for how Takeru came in prepared and making it a difficult matchup.
“I believe that my leg kick definitely had some effects on Takeru. I must say that he did his homework very well. I’ve been studying with the team on how to take him down. And one of the things is that every time Takeru came in and tried to throw left hook and right hook, I planned to do a high kick. And then, at the match, everything was so different. Takeru had been preparing himself very well to block my counterattack, so I had to adapt and survive in the ring as well,” the Kiatmoo9 Gym star said.
In comparing this match to his Muay Thai thriller with Rodtang, Superlek admits he was more tired against “The Iron Man.” However, he attributed it to Muay Thai having more weapons, making it a more grueling encounter. As he looks for new challenges, Superlek is seemingly setting his sights on bantamweight in the future.
“For me, going up to bantamweight is a very good thing because I think that I want new challenges in my life. I can still continue in the flyweight division, but going up to bantamweight is something I am very interested in as well,” Superlek said.
There will be no shortage of challenges remaining for “The Kicking Machine.” Following his stunning showcase at ONE 165, there is an even bigger target on his back. ONE 165 can be relived on-demand via global pay-per-view at watch.onefc.com.