A Deep Look At ONE’s Stacked Lightweight Muay Thai And Kickboxing Divisions

Regian Eersel Alexis Nicolas ONE Fight Night 21 12

ONE Championship’s stable of lightweight Muay Thai and kickboxing fighters features the best of the best – the most feared strikers on the planet.

Notably, the divisions have recently seen a shake-up, with the ONE Lightweight Kickboxing World Title changing hands at ONE Fight Night 21: Eersel vs. Nicolas on Prime Video.

What’s more, a pair of high-stakes lightweight striking matchups are set for ONE Fight Night 22: Sundell vs. Diachkova on Prime Video on May 3, with those highly anticipated bouts potentially producing the next World Title challengers.

Here, we break down the state of ONE’s talent-laden lightweight Muay Thai and kickboxing divisions.

Divisional Kings Regian Eersel and Alexis Nicolas

After ruling the lightweight kickboxing division for five years – with four successful World Title defenses – Regian “The Immortal” Eersel’s reign of terror came to an end on April 5 at ONE Fight Night 21 when undefeated French phenom Alexis “Barboza” Nicolas earned a stunning decision win to claim the gold.

That unforgettable performance extended the freshly crowned ONE Lightweight Kickboxing World Champion’s pristine record to 24-0 and snapped Eersel’s eight-year, 22-fight unbeaten streak.

A dynamic and athletically gifted striker, “Barboza” employed a blend of aggression, elite technical acumen, and shocking power to knock the Dutch-Surinamese superstar from his throne.

It’s not all bad news for Eersel, though, as he still holds the ONE Lightweight Muay Thai World Title.

The 31-year-old captured the inaugural crown in 2022 with a split-decision win over Sinsamut Klinmee and has since looked nothing short of dominant in 4-ounce gloves, scoring back-to-back knockouts to defend his World Title.

Next Up At ONE Fight Night 22

May 3 will be a key date for the lightweight striking divisions.

At ONE Fight Night 22 on Prime Video, Thai fan favorite Rungrawee “Legatron” Sitsongpeenong will make his ONE kickboxing debut in a pivotal clash with Bulgarian knockout artist Bogdan Shumarov.

After looking dominant in a pair of appearances at ONE Friday Fights, Rungrawee burst into U.S. primetime with two impressive victories and one hard-fought defeat.

He’ll next put his kick-heavy game to the test against the hard-hitting Shumarov.

The 27-year-old is 2-0 in ONE with two highlight-reel knockouts. He’s aiming to take out one of Thailand’s finest and earn a crack at Nicolas’ kickboxing gold.

After that, Sinsamut and Dmitry Menshikov will square off in a lightweight Muay Thai tilt that’s likely to produce the next World Title challenger.

Renowned for his shocking power in both hands and feet, Sinsamut suffered back-to-back losses to Eersel in 2022 and 2023, but he’s since put together a two-fight winning streak, positioning himself for a shot at redemption.

For his part, Menshikov is also hungry for a rematch with Eersel. After falling to the titleholder in his promotional debut, the 26-year-old Russian has reeled off two straight first-round knockouts to remind fans why he is one of Muay Thai’s most feared punchers.

Beyond the World Title implications, the clash between Sinsamut and Menshikov – two of Muay Thai’s biggest hitters – promises to deliver fireworks for as long as it lasts.

Waiting In The Wings

There are plenty of other elite lightweight strikers in search of a crack at gold.

In kickboxing, Constantin “Lioncrusher” Rusu and Arian “Game Over” Sadikovic could be just a win or two away from a World Title shot.

The 29-year-old Rusu earned two consecutive wins to begin his ONE tenure, but in his most recent outing, he suffered a knockout loss to Shumarov. Despite that defeat, he’s showcased the dynamic, well-rounded striking game needed to become a ONE World Champion.

Sadikovic, meanwhile, is a former ONE Lightweight Kickboxing World Title challenger and one of the sport’s most dangerous athletes. He earned a decision win over the legendary Nieky “The Natural” Holzken in his most recent appearance, setting up another high-stakes battle next.

And in the lightweight Muay Thai division, fans should keep an eye on Spanish brawler Nauzet Trujillo and British star “Lethal” Liam Nolan.

The pair recently squared off in February at ONE Fight Night 19, with Trujillo employing nonstop aggression and activity to take home a hard-fought decision victory and snap Nolan’s two-fight winning streak.

Given each man’s prodigious natural gifts and proven abilities at the highest levels of Muay Thai, either one could soon find himself vying for gold.

Finally, Dutch icon Holzken is a real threat in both the lightweight Muay Thai and kickboxing divisions.

The 40-year-old knockout artist owns ONE victories in both sports, and in January at ONE 165, he scored a spectacular knockout of MMA legend Yoshihiro Akiyama in their unique special rules showdown.

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