If any fight can promise nonstop action from opening to closing bells, it’s the upcoming ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Title clash between divisional king Hiroki Akimoto and challenger Petchtanong Petchfergus.
The two world-class strikers will meet in the main event of ONE 163 this Saturday, November 19, and their matchup at the Singapore Indoor Stadium should entertain for as long as it lasts.
Before this showdown caps off an epic martial arts doubleheader – coming just hours after ONE on Prime Video 4 on Friday night – we look at five keys to victory for Akimoto and Petchtanong.
#1 Akimoto Using His Left Hook And Right Kicks
Akimoto captured the ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Title from Capitan Petchyindee at ONE X in March by utilizing just a few basic attacks – primarily his left hook and right kick.
When the man with a 26-1 record faces Petchtanong, he’ll have to use these tactics to slow down the multiple-time Muay Thai World Champion who loves to charge in with punches and knees.
If the Japanese karate stylist can land his hook and either a low or high kick, Petchtanong will think twice about advancing so aggressively.
And if that happens, Akimoto will have the mental edge.
#2 Petchtanong Taking Advantage Of His Step-In Knees
On Saturday, he must time those knees just as Akimoto begins to throw his left hook. By doing so, the reigning king won’t be able to follow his punch with his usual right low and high kicks.
Then, the Thai challenger could take further advantage and follow up with close-range punches.
#3 Akimoto Throwing From Close Range
Because of the styles these men possess, their fight will likely be a close-quarters battle. But Akimoto has to make sure he’s the one attacking when the two bulls lock horns in the center of the Circle.
If he gives any space for Petchtanong to attack first, the momentum of each exchange will sway in the challenger’s favor.
So, Akimoto has to throw fast and throw first to stifle the more experienced striking legend who holds a combined kickboxing and Muay Thai record of 357-56-1.
If he can stun Petchtanong with punches in one of those exchanges, Akimoto will have a chance to follow up with other attacks.
#4 Petchtanong Can’t Forget His Body Kicks
If any technique drove home the win for Petchtanong in his last outing, it was his body kicks, which he threw from all sorts of ranges and with all sorts of intensities.
To stop the advancing Akimoto, Petchtanong will need to whip his kicks out while he’s moving into range. Once he’s there – as we’ve seen – he even has the dexterity to kick from within knee distance.
This will give the Thai one more weapon to use in both close quarters and from the outside, which means his chances of outstriking the defending ONE World Champion will increase.
#5 Both Men Need To Be Effective Counter-Fighters
This fight is going to get ugly rather quickly, as both strikers love to stand in the middle of the Circle and trade blows without giving an inch.
So, the winner won’t be determined by aggression, but instead, by who counters more effectively in the heated exchanges.
After all, it’s only going to take one clean shot from either of these men to turn the bout on its head – and that shot will be found in the openings of each other’s offensive attacks.
It will be the better counter-fighter who capitalizes on those moments.