Breaking Down The ONE Flyweight Kickboxing Division
The spotlight will shine directly on ONE Super Series flyweight kickboxers in the coming weeks, as gold will be on the line in the main event of ONE: FISTS OF FURY.
On Friday, 26 February, Ilias Ennahachi will face off against “The Kicking Machine” Superlek Kiatmoo9 in the second defense of his ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Title, which is reason enough to be excited about this division.
Meanwhile, fans should also be salivating about other fiery matchups that could be made within the flyweight kickboxing ranks this year.
Some of the most exciting stars on the global stage have already stated their interest in Ennahachi’s belt, so let’s break down the world-class athletes in the flyweight kickboxing mix.
The World Champion
Dutch-Moroccan favorite Ennahachi has looked incredible since he entered The Home Of Martial Arts.
His first assignment was to challenge Petchdam “The Baby Shark” Petchyindee Academy for the World Title in August 2019. The Thai had already gone 4-0 in ONE — with three KOs — but the SB Gym representative was not fazed by the difficult task.
Instead, Ennahachi took the fight to Petchdam and overwhelmed him with his boxing to win the belt via third-round knockout.
That November, the Utrecht native returned to defend his World Title in a trilogy fight against Wang “Metal Storm” Wenfeng, and he earned the victory after five exciting rounds of action.
Now, after an extended absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ennahachi can’t wait to return at ONE: FISTS OF FURY and defend his belt once more.
The Next Challenger
Second-ranked contender Superlek will be a formidable foe for the reigning king when they square off in “The Lion City.” The decorated Muay Thai athlete owns a long list of accomplishments in “the art of eight limbs” and wants to prove that he can do the same in a new sport.
Superlek picked up a trio of wins in Muay Thai to kick-start his time in ONE Super Series, before showing that he could make the necessary adjustments to win under kickboxing rules when he defeated Fahdi “The Gladiator” Khaled last September.
There will be more adjustments to make if he hopes to defeat a seasoned kickboxer in Ennahachi, but Superlek is a smart fighter who will work hard every day to hone his strengths for the rules he is competing under.
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The Rodtang Factor
ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon has made it clear that he would like to own both ONE Super Series belts in his weight class.
Unlike some of his countrymen, the Thai warrior’s aggressive muay mat style — with a heavy-punching and low-kick focus —blends well with a move into the kickboxing ranks.
Not many men can handle “The Iron Man’s” relentless output, but Ennahachi would fight fire with fire by utilizing his own high-volume style — something that could result in a spectacular striking showcase.
For now, top-ranked contender Rodtang will gain some valuable experience when he squares off against Alejandro “El Puma” Rivas in a kickboxing tussle on the same ONE: FISTS OF FURY card as Ennahachi’s World Title defense.
The Top-Ranked Contenders
The other men that make up the Official ONE Flyweight Kickboxing Rankings are Walter Goncalves (#3), Wang (#4), and Panpayak “The Angel Warrior” Jitmuangnon (#5).
WPMF Muay Thai World Champion Goncalves gave as good as he got in his ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Title fight against Rodtang. Despite falling short, the Brazilian is one of the only men who’s ever fazed the Thai star with his punches. That’s reason enough to believe Goncalves can threaten anybody.
After his split decision loss, Wang is down 2-1 in his series with Ennahachi, but the KLF World Champion got back on track in October when he defeated Azwan Che Wil at ONE: REIGN OF DYNASTIES II.
Legendary Muay Thai stylist Panpayak first competed in kickboxing when he defeated Masahide “Crazy Rabbit” Kudo back in September 2019 — a performance that showed he could defeat rivals who are more experienced in that style. Panpayak is keen to explore the kickboxing world more, and he should become a major threat with additional time in the ring.
Muay Thai Crossovers
The fluid nature and crossover skill sets of ONE Super Series athletes mean that challengers can emerge from both sides of the striking disciplines. The remaining contenders in “the art of eight limbs” all have at least some experience in the closely related sport.
Former ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion Jonathan “The General” Haggerty, former ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Champion Petchdam, and former ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Title challenger Elias “The Sniper” Mahmoudi all feature in ONE’s Muay Thai ranks.
Each man owns a dangerous arsenal that they could utilize in the switch of codes, and there are some mouthwatering matchups to be made when you throw their names into the flyweight kickboxing hat.
Read more: 5 Reasons We’re Excited To Watch ONE: FISTS OF FURY