The Filipino star – who suffered his first promotional defeat and lost his mother at the end of 2020 – knocked out his debuting rival with a left hook in the second round of their strawweight mixed martial arts tilt at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Friday, 22 January.
The clash of striking specialists began as expected, with the first five minutes contested exclusively on the feet. Adiwang landed a thudding low kick early – a sign of things to come – while Kawahara bounced around and feinted from his wide stance.
“Thunder Kid” then bludgeoned his rival’s legs and body with powerful roundhouse kicks on the outside and worked his way inside the range with heavy left hooks and overhand rights.
Kawahara kept his composure and looked to counter when his opponent missed with looping shots. However, the Team Lakay standout continued to land with heavy artillery — notably left hooks to the body and head along with his punishing right kick.
The Japanese athlete stung back with some darting right hands of his own, but they were not enough to take the first round.
Kawahara bounced out of the blocks in round two, again beginning with his feints on the move. “Thunder Kid” also stuck to his game plan and smashed the Team Alpha Male athlete’s lead leg his with his right low kick, even spinning him around with the impact.
Adiwang then got his hands working and clocked Kawahara with a hard overhand right. The Osaka native took it well, but a left hook to the body soon followed, and the Filipino’s confidence grew.
The finish came shortly after when the Japanese Mixed Martial Arts Champion made the grave error of stepping into Adiwang’s range with his hands down. “Thunder Kid” timed an inch-perfect left hook into his foe’s chin and dropped Kawahara to secure an incredible KO at 2:02.
The stoppage victory got Adiwang back on the winning track and pushed his record to 12-3.
“This was the toughest fight camp I have faced, but to God be the glory, I got the win,” the emotional Filipino told Mitch Chilson in his post-bout interview.
“To my family, we’ve been through a lot, I love you so much. This is for you, this is for you mama.”