Fighters at all levels call each other out, but when it’s two athletes at the pinnacle of their respective sports, those challenges are bound to generate massive amounts of interest.
Here, we look at the past, the present, and the potential future involving a pair of elite ONE Super Series flyweight stars.
Who Are The Athletes?
Rodtang is the reigning ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion and the most successful athlete in ONE Super Series history.
The Jitmuangnon Gym representative owns the most victories of any athlete in the all-striking league, going 10-0 on the global stage, with three successful World Title defenses.
Ennahachi is the reigning ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Champion.
While the Dutch-Moroccan star hasn’t competed as often as Rodtang, he also has a perfect 3-0 slate in ONE Super Series, which includes two successful defenses of his crown.
Why The Beef?
Things have remained cordial between the pair, but it was “The Iron Man” who set the ball rolling back in January 2020.
After his third-round finish of Jonathan “The General” Haggerty at ONE: A NEW TOMORROW, the Bangkok resident made it clear that he wanted to cross over into kickboxing and challenge for Ennahachi’s belt.
Rodtang continued his callouts, but the COVID-19 pandemic slowed down the action and temporarily took the bout off the table.
“Tweety” had his hands full with another Muay Thai superstar in “The Kicking Machine” Superlek Kiatmoo9, but he acknowledged Rodtang’s invitation prior to competing at ONE: FISTS OF FURY this past February.
And when he got past the Kiatmoo9 product, Ennahachi finally accepted “The Iron Man’s” request. It helped that Rodtang had won a kickboxing contest earlier in the same evening.
Since then, Rodtang has stated that he wants Ennahachi before any other move in his career, adding that he’ll study the kickboxing rule set more closely to find a way past the dangerous Dutchman.
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Rodtang: “I want to fight Ilias Ennahachi for the kickboxing title. I’m confident in my abilities and it is my dream to become a World Champion in kickboxing too.”
“That is a fighter’s dream. I earned the belt in Muay Thai, so I would like to try kickboxing in order to measure my potential, and to see if I can grab the belt or not. If I can do that, grabbing both belts would be a big pride for me and my family.”
“I thought Superlek won [the bout with Ennahachi], but in kickboxing, it’s not uncommon for Ennahachi to move around and run away because kickboxing is about footwork, getting in and out, turning around, and trying not to lose points.”
Ennahachi: “A lot of fighters want to fight with me because I am the champion. It’s normal. If Rodtang wants to fight with me, let’s fight. He is beatable.”
“Of course, why not [fight Rodtang]? I’m the champion, he’s the champion. Champion versus champion – then you’ll get the big champion.”
Neither man has an opponent officially booked for their next fight, but ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong did suggest that Superlek deserves a rematch with Ennahachi due to the close nature of their World Title matchup.
If that bout happens first, it could signal the end of any Ennahachi vs. Rodtang talk for now, as the ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Title is more important to the Thai megastar than the man who is holding it.
However, with nothing set in stone, the pair could meet at some point in the near future. And any confirmation of that showdown would set the striking world on fire, with two of the most in-form warriors ready to face off with kickboxing gold on the line.
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