The American, who is scheduled to face promotional newcomer Ekaterina “Barbie” Vandaryeva, feels honored to compete at ONE Championship’s historic 100th event inside the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan on Sunday, 13 October.
However, this particular showcase holds even more significance for “JT.”
In addition to competing alongside some of her favorite athletes, Todd — a two-time IFMA Pan-American Muay Thai Champion — will finally fulfill a lifelong ambition of performing in “The Land Of The Rising Sun.”
Several of her family members — including her mother — come from Japan, so receiving the chance to display her world-class skills in the nation’s capital has brought her a tremendous amount of joy.
“First of all, to be on this card is amazing,” the 33-year-old begins.
“Then to be able to fight in Japan in front of my friends and family out there, it’s literally a dream come true for me.”
Although she is thrilled to perform in front of the Japanese audience, Todd knows she must keep her emotions in check when she steps into the Circle for her atomweight Muay Thai showdown with “Barbie.”
“There’s always pressure with fights. I feel like I’ve learned how to deal with that pressure. Nerves always come in, but I’m honestly excited,” she continues.
“My Japanese family has never seen me fight live and as much as I do enjoy kickboxing, too, [I am excited about] being able to fight in Muay Thai, which is what I started in. I’m very excited about that.”
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The last time Todd competed in “the art of eight limbs” was back in February. She challenged two-sport ONE World Champion Stamp Fairtex for the inaugural ONE Atomweight Muay Thai World Title in her promotional debut.
Although “JT” fell short of claiming gold that night in Singapore, she entertained the masses throughout the five-round clash.
Since then, she has displayed her dominance in the kickboxing arena.
The American sensation scored three knockdowns in a single three-minute period to earn a second-round TKO victory over Wang Chin Long in May, and then she overpowered Wang’s Iron Boxing teammate, former ONE Atomweight Kickboxing World Champion “Killer Bee” Chuang Kai Ting, en route to a majority decision.
Todd does not shy away from facing the sport’s top competition, and she is happy to square off against Vandaryeva in the Japanese capital.
The 28-year-old, who hails from Minsk, Belarus, is a three-time Muay Thai World Champion. She has several impressive victories on her resume, including a win over Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
“These are the types of people I want to keep fighting,” the California native says.
“I want to fight people with experience, people who are going to push me to be better. I honestly think the fighters that really challenge you bring out the best in you.
“That’s what I really look forward to, and ONE Championship has done a really good job of doing that for me.”
This time, the challenge for Todd will be to combat her opponent’s experience and also deal with the Belarusian’s 10-centimeter height advantage.
It is a tricky match-up for “JT,” but the American and her head coach Bryan Popejoy believe they have the blueprint to defeat the revered veteran.
“She definitely has a lot of range. She has long arms, so she tries to use that range,” the American observes.
“I’m going to try to use my footwork to control that range. I’ve got to close the distance in order to hit her. That’s always the plan — to get in at the right moment and land my strikes. I plan to chop down those long legs she has and dig into the body with my kicks.”
Leaving the Ryogoku Kokugikan with a victory would mean a lot to Todd, who wants nothing more than to make her loved ones immensely proud.
Beyond that, it would be her third consecutive win and could potentially lead to a rematch with Stamp for the ONE Atomweight Muay Thai World Title.
Todd’s ultimate goal is to secure that second battle with the Thai star, and she will do everything in her power to vanquish any opponent who stands in her way.
“A win here is very important because it is in Japan in front of my family and friends,” Todd says.
“I also think all fights are important because it’s another step towards being able to challenge for the belt again.”
ONE: CENTURY | ONE Championship’s 100th Live Event | Tickets: Purchase here
- Watch PART I in USA on 12 October at 8pm EST and PART II on 13 October at 4am EST
- Watch PART I in India on 13 October at 5:30am IST and PART II at 1:30pm IST
- Watch PART I in Indonesia on 13 October at 7am WIB and PART II at 3pm WIB
- Watch PART I in Singapore on 13 October at 8am SGT and PART II at 4pm SGT
- Watch PART I in the Philippines on 13 October at 8am PHT and PART II at 4pm PHT
- Watch PART I in Japan on 13 October at 9am JST and PART II at 5pm JST
ONE: CENTURY is the biggest World Championship martial arts event in history with 28 World Champions featured across various martial arts. No organization has ever promoted two full-scale World Championship events on the same day.
The Home Of Martial Arts will break new ground as it brings multiple World Title bouts, a trio of World Grand Prix Championship Finals, and several World Champion versus World Champion matches to the famous Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan on 13 October.