Tagir Khalilov Aims To Cement Reputation As ‘The Thai Killer’ With Upset Win Over Superlek

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Tagir Khalilov is no stranger to stepping up against the biggest names in Muay Thai. But now, he’s being tasked with perhaps his toughest assignment yet.

Originally slated to face Elias Mahmoudi at ONE Fight Night 12 on Prime Video, “Samingpri” will now take on “The Kicking Machine” Superlek Kiatmoo9 in a flyweight Muay Thai showdown at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in U.S. primetime on Friday, July 14.

Superlek is both the reigning ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Champion and the #1-ranked flyweight Muay Thai contender, placing him among the top pound-for-pound strikers on the planet.

Still, Khalilov isn’t fazed.

He gamely fought ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion Rodtang Jitmuangnon on late notice in his promotional debut, and he eagerly accepted this upcoming battle in Bangkok, Thailand.

Above all, the Russian sees his matchup with “The Kicking Machine” as a huge chance to boost his career and immediately enter the World Title conversation:

“Opportunities like this are rare, and I want to climb to the very top in this organization. I want the ONE Championship belt, and to become the best, you have to fight the best. 

“I discussed everything with the team, and we accepted the challenge. Everyone knows that I’m not looking for easy ways – I made my ONE debut against Rodtang on one week’s notice.”

Despite the switch less than two weeks before fight night, Khalilov had a head start on getting ready for Superlek.

He was lined up to face “The Kicking Machine” last year, so he’d done his homework, and he believes only a few small changes were needed to prepare him for the Thai superstar this time around.

The 30-year-old said:

“The change in opponent didn’t really affect my training camp. We made some small adjustments.

“I had already prepared for Superlek back then when we were booked to fight, so I had a game plan in place. We had to revise the old plan, but we didn’t change much.”

Khalilov Doesn’t Expect Surprises From Superlek: ‘A Typical Thai Fighter’

Tagir Khalilov has faced a long list of strong Thai athletes, and he thinks those experiences have put him in a good position ahead of his clash with #1-ranked flyweight Muay Thai contender Superlek Kiatmoo9.

He acknowledges that Superlek has elite skills and a dominant eight-fight winning streak, but he also sees the same type of striker as the other men he’s squared off with in recent bouts.

“Samingpri” explained:

“Superlek is a typical Thai fighter, so his style won’t surprise me because I’ve fought a lot of Thais. I will be more comfortable fighting him than [former flyweight kickboxing king] Elias Mahmoudi. Mahmoudi would have been a more difficult opponent – he’s taller than me and works in a kickboxing style.

“In my view, the keys to beating Superlek are definitely good boxing, good footwork, and somewhat of a kickboxing style. I’ll need to deceive him, throw power shots, and punch in combinations.”

Khalilov is also coming off a pair of crushing first-found knockouts over world-class Thais in Black Panther and Chorfah Tor Sangtiennoi – building some notoriety for taking out the local favorites in Bangkok.

The Russian has proven he owns the firepower to overcome high-level foes, and he plans on doing the same once again, knowing that a triumph over the division’s top contender would push him toward his goal of challenging Rodtang for the gold.

Khalilov added:

“If I win, my reputation as ‘The Thai Killer’ will be reinforced even more. I’m ready to shock the world.

“I’m confident I can defeat Superlek. I’m at the peak of my career, and I’m very charged both physically and mentally. I’m ready to win.

“Victory should be one of the last steps on the way to the ONE Championship belt. My goal is to defeat Superlek, then meet Rodtang and take the belt away from him.”

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