‘We Will Never Let Friendship Influence Us’ – Rodtang Won’t Hold Back In World Title Fight With Superlek
Combat sports aficionados have been yearning for the Thai superstars to face off for a long time, and on September 22, the elite strikers will battle for “The Iron Man’s” gold in the main event of ONE Friday Fights 34 in Asia primetime.
While both men preferred to avoid fighting their compatriot, they knew it was inevitable at some point – and they will finally meet in the ring at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.
Rodtang has dominated ONE’s flyweight Muay Thai division and Superlek has captured the ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Title while solidifying his spot as the #1-ranked flyweight Muay Thai contender.
Given that each reigning king has largely cleared out their division, this matchup was the only logical fight left on the table.
Addressing the timing, Rodtang said:
“When the matchmaker offers the fight, we have to accept it. We are fighters. If they think the right time has come for us to fight each other, let’s make it happen.
“I already knew that someday we would have to face each other because there’s no one left in the rankings except Superlek and the newcomer, Takeru. And now Jonathan Haggerty is in another division [bantamweight].
“So, I have to fight with Superlek, for sure. It is not just the fans who anticipate this fight. I do too.”
Rodtang’s friendship with Superlek was one of the reasons he resisted facing his fellow Thai until it was absolutely necessary. But now that it’s happening, he won’t let any emotions get in the way when the bell rings.
Instead, “The Iron Man” can separate what he needs to do in competition from his feelings outside of it, and he will consider it just another day in the office.
The 26-year-old said:
“It’s not hard at all [to compete against a friend]. Outside the ring, we are brothers in arms. We respect each other. But when we have to fight, we will leave the friendship behind. We will never let friendship influence us, as we are fighters in the ring.”
Rodtang Not Fazed By Peers Picking Superlek To Claim Gold
As one of the most eagerly anticipated fights in ONE Championship history, the battle between Rodtang Jitmuangnon and Superlek Kiatmoo9 has drawn the attention of the whole combat sports world.
This includes many of their fellow athletes in the world’s largest martial arts organization, who have been eager to share their thoughts on the epic contest.
To date, Rodtang has looked unstoppable, posting a 14-0 record in ONE’s Muay Thai and kickboxing divisions, but this is a rare encounter where some are leaning toward his opponent.
Still, “The Iron Man” isn’t bothered. He’ll allow those athletes to share their opinions while he concentrates on doing his job against “The Kicking Machine.”
“I don’t care about those comments. I just go there to do my job and do my best.
“I don’t want to silence anyone. Let them watch me in the ring. If Superlek happens to make a mistake, I can knock him out. It’s just as simple as that.”