‘Going To Be A Barnburner’ – Rodtang Breaks Down Superlek Vs. Khalilov At ONE Fight Night 12
Thai megastar Rodtang Jitmuangnon is just as excited as fans for the main event of ONE Fight Night 12: Superlek vs. Khalilov on Prime Video.
The longtime ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion will watch as the division’s #1-ranked contender, Superlek Kiatmoo9, takes on surging knockout artist Tagir Khalilov at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium this Friday, July 14.
While his friend and compatriot Superlek will enter as the favorite, Rodtang knows from firsthand experience that “Samingpri” can’t be taken lightly in Bangkok, Thailand.
“The Iron Man” met Khalilov under kickboxing rules back in 2021, winning by split decision and coming away very impressed with the Russian’s power.
“This fight should be super exciting. Tagir is one of the toughest fighters. His style is similar to mine. He’s not scared to trade weapons with opponents and take risks. He always aims to finish his opponent.
“Tagir is a brave fighter who always goes toe-to-toe. But he still has a hole in his defense. He will let his guard down when he attacks. So, Superlek should wait for that chance to counter. It is not a good idea to trade with him because Superlek will probably be a victim of Tagir’s punching combinations.”
Despite Khalilov’s power and resilience, it’s a big ask to go up against “The Kicking Machine,” who is one of the pound-for-pound strikers on the planet right now.
Along with his lofty status in the flyweight Muay Thai division, Superlek is also the ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Champion, has won eight straight bouts, and is known as a technical genius.
On top of all that, Rodtang thinks the two-sport star is constantly evolving to become an even more dangerous and well-rounded fighter.
“What I am impressed by is Superlek’s determination. He always takes every fight seriously, and you can see his improvement in every single fight.
“Some people may say that he is easily predictable and that he only depends on his right kick, but now, we can see that he is more aggressive and versatile in fighting styles.
“I think his determination and courage are built up from his fans, the promotion’s support, and his fighting experiences.”
Above all, Rodtang expects a fierce battle in North American primetime this Friday. And he believes it could truly go either way given the power on both sides, likely coming down to a game of inches.
Still, when pressed for a prediction, the Thai won’t go against his countryman and fellow World Champion.
“The Iron Man” said:
“If Superlek doesn’t try to trade with Tagir too much, he will win this match. But on the other hand, if he decides to press forward and trade with him directly, both of them will have an equal chance of getting knocked out. It depends on who makes a mistake first.
“Superlek can be knocked out by Tagir’s punch. Or Tagir can be knocked out by Superlek’s high kick, elbow, or his counter punch because Superlek has better defense than Tagir. But of course, I’m rooting for my Thai compatriot. I’ll go for Superlek.
“I’m sure that we can expect a knockout in this match. Fans shouldn’t miss it. It’s going to be a barnburner.”
Rodtang Says Superlek Matchup Will Happen – Just Not Yet
With Rodtang holding the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Title and Superlek looming as the #1-ranked contender, many fans believe there’s only one fight left to make if “The Kicking Machine” is victorious in Bangkok this Friday.
As friends, the two Thai strikers have both been quick to offer up other targets rather than face each other, but Rodtang still admits their meeting will happen eventually.
For now, though, he wants both of them to continue on their own journeys and go after different opponents in the immediate future.
“Our paths still haven’t crossed yet. I’m the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion and Superlek is the ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Champion. Both of us have a lot of potential opponents in our divisions.
“There’s still no need for us to face each other soon. In the future, at the right time, our fight will happen. But right now, we both have our own challenges.
“For me, my targets are [ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Champion] Jonathan Haggerty and [Japanese kickboxing sensation] Takeru Segawa. And I want all Thai people to hold ONE’s gold in each division.”