The first half of 2021 featured some incredible kickboxing battles in ONE Super Series, and fans can look forward to more of the same over the next six months.
There are World Champions eager to meet fresh challengers, new signings who want to make a big first impression, and fan favorites who can’t wait for their next chance to impress on the global stage.
With so many potentially great matchups, here are five kickboxing battles that we’d love to witness inside the Circle during the second half of 2021.
Ilias Ennahachi Vs. Rodtang Jitmuangnon
The reigning ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion has been an unstoppable force in “the art of eight limbs,” and he wants Ilias “Tweety” Ennahachi’s ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Title belt to complete his domination of the weight class.
Both men are strikers of the highest caliber – but for very different reasons.
Rodtang is all aggression, plowing forward and absorbing strikes to land his heavy punches and kicks.
Ennahachi is fast and calculated, utilizing his movement to stay out of his opponent’s firing line while setting up opportunities to score with his own hard strikes.
“The Iron Man” will charge, while the Dutch-Moroccan World Champion will try to make him miss and then make him pay with volume striking and counters.
Rodtang does have a granite chin, but he still can’t absorb too many strikes from Ennahachi because of the concussive power in “Tweety’s” fists. Of course, that won’t stop the Thai from trying, and that fearlessness would make this a must-watch encounter.
Giorgio Petrosyan Vs. Marat Grigorian
Giorgio “The Doctor” Petrosyan and Marat Grigorian both hail from Armenia, and for that reason, they’ve expressed reservations about competing against each other. Still, this matchup would be a bucket-list bout between two of the greatest featherweight strikers on the planet.
“The Doctor” won the ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix with his slick footwork, accurate boxing, and pinpoint kicks, and he’s gone undefeated overall in seven ONE Super Series bouts.
Opponents struggle to lay a glove on the Milan resident and often get punished for trying, but Grigorian is a fighter who never stops pressing, and just one slipup can lead to disaster when his heavy hands come into play.
In his promotional debut against Ivan Kondratev at ONE: BIG BANG in December 2020, the Hemmers Gym representative showed that he’s durable enough to bounce back and still deliver match-ending strikes.
His chin and thudding boxing repertoire would give him a chance for success against “The Doctor,” but Petrosyan rarely gets fazed, and he’s broken down many tough men throughout the course of his illustrious career.
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Capitan Petchyindee Academy Vs. Qiu Jianliang
The ONE Super Series bantamweight ranks were quickly put on notice by Capitan Petchyindee Academy.
The Thai slugger scored a record-setting six-second KO over Petchtanong Petchfergus in his ONE debut and then stopped Alaverdi “Babyface Killer” Ramazanov in the second round to claim the ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Championship in his sophomore appearance.
However, new signing Qiu Jianliang would be a huge test for the Petchyindee Academy man. The Chinese star is regarded as the top super featherweight kickboxer on the planet and brings an impressive 17-bout winning streak into The Home Of Martial Arts.
Capitan’s Muay Thai base means that he possesses many of the tools needed for kickboxing, but he’s still a relative newcomer to the sport. Meanwhile, Qiu’s experience under the rule set – and his stunning spinning attacks – would give him some advantages over the reigning divisional king.
Still, the Bangkok resident has the type of power that’s a great equalizer, and he’s spent enough time in the ring to see different types of opponents. For those reasons, Capitan would surely feel confident that he can find a way to beat the multiple-time Kickboxing World Champion.
Roman Kryklia Vs. Rade Opacic
Roman Kryklia’s cerebral style has seen him stay one step ahead of his competition in ONE.
He finished Tarik “The Tank” Khbabez in his promotional debut to win the ONE Light Heavyweight Kickboxing World Title and then dominated Andrei “Mister KO” Stoica for a successful first defense.
The Ukrainian machine also beat Rade Opacic back in 2019, but the Serbian rising star has bounced back in style with two stunning victories on the global stage.
Both colossal athletes are full of confidence, and with the ONE Heavyweight Kickboxing World Championship currently vacant, they could meet for the gold there if Opacic does not want to drop down.
Kryklia’s smarts and the Serb’s athleticism and growing repertoire would make for an intriguing clash that could end at any moment.
Janet Todd Vs. Anissa Meksen
That’s the kind of conversation the American wants to join, and if she could take out the French star in a defense of her ONE Atomweight Kickboxing World Title, she’d make a strong case for consideration.
The pair could just as easily face off in a Muay Thai bout, with both of them coming from “the art of eight limbs,” but having gold on the line would add some extra spice to the encounter.
“C18” might be new to ONE, but she has a wealth of experience and a slew of World Titles to her credit, so it’s unlikely the occasion would get to her.
Still, Todd is the picture of composure in her bouts, and her slick, powerful combinations would definitely get Meksen’s respect.
A five-round battle between the two superstars would offer plenty of time for both athletes to showcase the breadth and quality of their respective games, and the winner would truly cement their place as the world’s best.