Deep Dive: Wang Wenfeng Vs. Taiki Naito
A contest between two of the best flyweight strikers in the world will open the show at ONE: FULL BLAST II when it airs this Friday, 11 June.
Taiki “Silent Sniper” Naito and #4-ranked flyweight kickboxing contender “Metal Storm” Wang Wenfeng have already faced off with the elite athletes in their weight class, and a win in this crucial clash would boost them back toward the top of the rankings.
Take a look at how the skill sets of Naito and Wang match up ahead of this exciting kickboxing showdown at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Battle Of Low Kicks
One constant for both of these athletes is the desire to break their opponents down from the foundations using hard low kicks.
Wang will often open with his right low kick and then pivot into a left hook as he retracts it to find a gap to the head. He also finds his mark when his opponents step forward to attack and put their weight on their lead leg, diminishing their ability to check.
On the other side, Naito mostly throws his more powerful right low kick behind the jab, carrying the trajectory through to the back leg if his opponents lift their lead leg to block. He also stays busy with his inside low kick to disrupt their balance and force errors.
Both strikers are hardened competitors who can take their share of punishment, but if they can win the low-kick battle and give themselves a mobility advantage, that would be a solid place to start.
“Metal Storm” is a pressure fighter who likes to move forward and put his rivals on the back foot. The former ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Title challenger marches forward to get into range and then fire off strikes.
He likes to cut off opponents and keep them hemmed in – with the aforementioned right low kick-left hook combination being one of his tactics – as he closes the door on exit routes from both sides.
Inside the range, Wang is careful not to smother his work by getting too close. He maintains enough distance to cut his adversaries off with footwork, which allows him to unleash hard punches when they’re backed up against the ropes or Circle Wall.
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Naito’s Composed Counters
“Silent Sniper” did not earn his moniker by engaging in toe-to-toe battles. Instead, the Japanese star likes to pick off his rivals when they come in, which will make for an interesting stylistic clash with Wang.
The man from Aichi is composed under fire and utilizes a tight guard that doesn’t let much through.
When his adversaries step in, they are likely to be met with precise boxing counters, including Naito’s tight left hook or inch-perfect right hand – a strike that dropped “The Baby Face Killer” Savvas Michael Petchyindee Academy to the canvas twice when he waded in to attack.
Wang’s High-Flying Knees
Naito must still be careful and not allow Wang to move forward too much, as the Xingbo Shengshi Fight Club athlete is a major threat when his rivals are backed up.
Though he does stick to a tight output most of the time, the Chinese striker will open things up with a jumping knee if he knows his opponent has nowhere to go.
In those scenarios – without space to retreat when they’re stuck against the ropes or Circle Wall – “Metal Storm’s” opponents are more likely to suffer the consequences of his powerful flying strikes.
Naito’s Distance-Controlling Kicks
Given that Naito must keep the distance and stay out in the open, he’ll need to use his other tools to force the surging Wuhan native away from him.
Those tools include a strong, fast push kick that will help stop “Metal Storm’s” momentum, while Naito has also shown that he will attack the inside of his foe’s lead leg with a low kick that messes with their balance and affords him time to angle off or counter.
If Wang tries to push straight forward too often, “Silent Sniper” will be able to keep him away with those linear push kicks or send him stumbling with those lead-leg attacks.
Read more: What’s At Stake For Every Fighter At ONE: FULL BLAST II