5 Reasons Why Johan Ghazali Has Been Dubbed ‘The Next Rodtang’

Johan Ghazali Edgar Tabares ONE Fight Night 17 21

Johan “Jojo” Ghazali’s run through ONE Championship’s flyweight Muay Thai division has seen many fans and pundits compare him to Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon, the reigning king of the ultra-stacked weight class.

The 17-year-old prodigy has already posted a 5-0 record in the world’s largest martial arts organization, and he’s looking to build upon his tremendous momentum when he meets “No.1” Nguyen Tran Duy Nhat at ONE 167 on Prime Video on Friday, June 7. 

With his intensity and in-ring persona, it’s easy to understand why Ghazali has been likened to “The Iron Man,” and if he can keep producing results like the dominant ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion, then his career could have a similar trajectory. 

Before “Jojo” returns to U.S. primetime at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand, take a deeper look at the five elements of the Malaysian-American’s skill set that show why he has the potential to follow in his idol’s footsteps.  

#1 Forward Pressure

If asked to describe Rodtang’s style in one word, most people would say, “Pressure.” 

Ghazali also thrives on pushing forward and imposing his will on his rivals, and he’s at his best when he backs them up and unleashes his combinations.  

Like the flyweight kingpin, “Jojo” isn’t averse to standing and trading in the pocket – something that inevitably leads to thrilling exchanges where he generally comes out with the upper hand.  

#2 Heavy Hands

Ghazali and Rodtang love to throw hands, and they have knockout potential from both sides.  

The two possess hard overhand rights and left hooks that have sent many men to the canvas, and the ferocity of their shots forces their opponents to defend rather than attack, giving them free rein to let loose. 

If anything, this may be one area where the surging youngster has an innate edge. For instance, Ghazali’s boot-shaking power put Edgar Tabares to sleep after just 36 seconds of action. Meanwhile, it took 4 minutes and 34 seconds for “The Iron Man” to get the job done in their May 2023 clash.

#3 Wicked Body Shots

Given their aggression and heavy punching, Ghazali and Rodtang cause their rivals to shell up to survive. However, this opens up another favorite tactic.  

Like Rodtang, the teen star looks for any opportunity to rip his left hook into his adversaries’ liver when they raise their guard, and it can have bout-ending consequences.

Look no further than the Malaysian-American’s showdown with Temirlan Bekmurzaev from October 2023. It was a tough battle until Ghazali’s devastating body shots changed the course of the match, and he finally shut his foe down with his punch to the liver. 

#4 Accurate Elbows

Given their propensity to go on the front foot, it’s not surprising that Ghazali and Rodtang often find themselves close enough to launch their elbows. And like most of their attacks, they are set up behind punches.  

“Jojo” will find his range with his hands before punctuating combinations with elbows or stepping forward to chop through his opponent’s guard. 

In the clinch, the teenage sensation will also look to throw these shots to accumulate damage.  

#5 Strong Defense And Strong Chin

While Rodtang is known for his superhuman ability to absorb punches thanks to his granite chin, he also has a tight defense when he chooses to employ it.  

Ghazali is similar in that he has a tight guard with a good parrying and countering game, though he’ll also beckon an opponent on and go toe-to-toe if they oblige.  

“Jojo’s” durability has so far allowed him to grit his teeth and land the stronger shots in the brawling exchanges, but he can’t be put on the same level as “The Iron Man” just yet until he’s faced more big hitters on ONE’s global roster.   

More in Features

Jozef_Chen hero 1200x1165
Ok Rae Yoon Lowen Tynanes ONE Fight Night 10 66
Rodtang Jitmuangnon Denis Puric ONE 167 142
Rodtang Jitmuangnon
Tawanchai PK Saenchai Jo Nattawut ONE 167 78
Tawanchai vs. Nattawut II faceoff
Rodtang Jitmuangnon Edgar Tabares ONE Fight Night 10 36
Johan Ghazali Edgar Tabares ONE Fight Night 17 21
Superlek Kiatmoo9 Rodtang Jitmuangnon ONE Friday Fights 34 80
Tawanchai PK Saenchai Superbon Singha Mawynn ONE Friday Fights 46 48
Tawanchai PK Saenchai Jo Nattawut
Marat Grigorian Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong ONE 165 31