“Killer Bee” Kai Ting Chuang rose to the occasion.
The heavily-hyped Yodcherry entered the bout as a multi-time Muay Thai World Champion who, aged just 19, had already demolished the competitors in her weight class, and defeated 29 of 30 men she faced when she struggled to find female opponents.
Although it was not easy, Chuang outworked the Thai prodigy over the course of five rounds thanks to her relentless offense to earn a victory by unanimous decision. In doing so, she claimed the inaugural ONE Super Series Kickboxing Atomweight World Championship.
“I feel very happy that I could win this match,” the 23-year-old says. “The most important thing I got out of this match is gratefulness. I want to thank all the people who showed up that night and screamed for me. They gave me strength.”
Chuang and her coaches formed a game plan that complemented her skills, and exploited her hard-hitting rival’s vulnerabilities under the kickboxing rule set.
“Killer Bee” dictated the pace, attacking in bursts at close range to nullify Yodcherry’s famous roundhouse kicks. She used her front kick as bait, and then came over the top with ferocious hooks and straight punches.
“We had been practicing and doing research about how she performs in the ring, so we planned a particular strategy aimed at her weakness, and every time I rested in between rounds, my coach told me what to do next,” the Chinese kickboxer explains.
“Sometimes, I felt like I was almost out of strength, but my team kept giving me support. I am very grateful for them.”
In victory, Chuang became the first female titleholder in ONE Super Series, and joined ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee and ONE Women’s Strawweight World Champion “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan as the promotion’s leading ladies.
“Killer Bee” finds herself in good company, and she wants to live up to the standards the other gold-wearing stars have set since winning their belts.
“I really like Xiong Jing Nan. She is so awesome. She wins like a hero, and she has amazing, explosive power,” says Chuang of her compatriot.
“I am sure [Xiong and Lee] will be ready to fight in every second of their next matches, so that is what I will also do. I will be ready and strong, just like them.”
Like her fellow World Champions, she also wants to use her platform to help inspire women to pursue martial arts – especially kickboxing.
“Killer Bee” said she wanted to motivate women to follow their dreams, and planned to use her performance at ONE: BATTLE FOR THE HEAVENS as an example that anyone can accomplish their goals.
Now she has had her hand raised, she also hopes she can galvanize those people to give her sport a try.
“I want to show them that kickboxing is a very good sport,” she says. “It can keep you fit, and it can make your body look great.
“Also, it could motivate you to wake up early and do some morning exercise. It is good for your life.”