Featherweight King Le Expects ‘Fireworks’ In Kim-Tang Contender Clash
ONE Featherweight World Champion Thanh Le will be keeping a close eye on the action at ONE: ONLY THE BRAVE, with a future challenger likely to emerge in the show’s main card.
Top-ranked contender “The Fighting God” Kim Jae Woong and #4-ranked Tang Kai will duke it out this Friday, 28 January – and a win for either power puncher would put them in prime position for a World Title shot.
Le’s first defense will come against Garry “The Lion Killer” Tonon this year, but he’s eager to see who makes their case for the next one.
And given the skill sets of South Korean star Kim and Chinese dynamo Tang, he predicts an epic slugfest at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
“This is an interesting, interesting fight for the division. Two high-level guys, great strikers. I’m interested to watch. You guys need to tune in. It’s going to be fireworks,” the reigning king says.
“I’ve obviously got my hands full preparing for Garry, and if and when I get past Garry, one of these guys might be next in line, and I’m excited for the challenge.”
As a striking specialist himself, Le has been sizing up his potential future opponents.
He’s quite impressed by both top contenders, who have shown their dangerous finishing abilities with 19 knockouts among their 25 combined mixed martial arts victories.
“We’ve got Kim Jae Woong who’s a little more sturdy, a little more based. He plods forward, always ready to fire the power shots. [He’s] got a good right hand, obviously – we saw that in his last fight [when he knocked out Martin Nguyen],” Le offers.
“And then we have Tang Kai, who’s got a lot of movement, some glimpses of taekwondo feet in there, which I like a little bit. He picks his moments really well.
“So, it’s going to be a really, really good fight. I think it’s going to be a high-level striking match.”
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When it comes to the result, Le thinks either man could pull off a victory due to their contrasting stand-up styles.
He expects things to favor “The Fighting God” the longer the match goes on, but he can’t discount the Chinese striker’s ability to dart in and finish the fight quickly.
“I think if Kim takes it, it’s going to be later in the rounds. I think he’s going to work some intercepts and try to go at the same time as Tang,” Le says.
“And I think if Tang wins, it’s going to be early. I like his in-and-out movement. He picks his moments really well. It’s going to be a hard-fought battle, and I’m really excited to watch.”
Kim and Tang are both motivated by the prospect of competing for the ONE Featherweight World Championship, and Le knows the victor will be gunning for his crown.
The Vietnamese-American still has a huge job to do against an elite grappler in Tonon, but if he passes that test, he’d welcome a date against either deserving contender.
“You guys are two of the top guys in the division, you’ve beaten some really good guys, and I’m excited to welcome you in the number one spot,” Le adds.
“If I can put Garry away, I’m ready to put you guys away next, so I’m excited for the challenge. You guys go out there, have fun, and put on a show. These fans deserve it.”
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