Jonathan Haggerty Believes Rodtang Is His 'Perfect Opponent'
ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion Jonathan “The General” Haggerty says he will be too technical and too powerful for Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon.
The Londoner put in a phenomenal performance to defeat Sam-A Gaiyanghadao and claim the World Title belt in his last outing, and his confidence is at an all-time high.
His opponent at ONE: DAWN OF HEROES in Manila, Philippines on Friday, 2 August has posted a flawless 4-0 record in The Home Of Martial Arts to earn his shot at the gold.
Rodtang also boasts a mammoth 256-41-10 professional record overall, but the reigning World Champion showed that the numbers mean nothing to him when he defeated Sam-A in Jakarta, despite having 400 fewer bouts to his credit.
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“The main thing [that the win gave me] was the confidence, knowing that I could be in there with that caliber of fighter and have nothing to worry about,” he explains.
“I’m at the top now, and anyone they put in front of me, I’ll take and then beat – that’s the plan in my head. I feel like the main man now, but there’s a lot of people that are going to want to try and take the World Title off of me.
“There’s one thing winning it, but it’s another thing defending it. Whoever wants it can come for it, but I’m pretty sure it is staying with me.”
Although Sam-A and Rodtang are both lifelong practitioners of “the art of eight limbs,” stylistically they could not be further apart.
The Jitmuangnon representative moves forward with relentless boxing combinations in a typical muay mat style, and it makes for fast-paced, entertaining battles every time.
However, “The General” has kept a close eye on “The Iron Man” and believes his technical style and the power in his hands will be the antidote for this offense. That is exactly why he respectfully called him out just a few moments after he won the belt.
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Muay Thai warriors Jonathan Haggerty and Sam-A put on a Bout of the Year contender! ????Download the ONE Super App now ???? http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp
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“No question about it, he’s a tank, but in my eyes, he is my perfect opponent,” Haggerty states.
“I’ve studied him for a long time, and I’ve wanted this fight for a long time. Taking no credit away from him, but I think he’s sort of one-dimensional. With Sam A, he moved more for a Thai and that was tricky – I had to think a lot – but with Rodtang, I think he’s only got one dimension.
“He’s coming forward for strong punches and he’s open, and if he thinks he can stand in the middle of the ring or the cage and bang his chin and call me on, he’s got another thing coming.”
“The Iron Man” also showed how devastating his low kicks are when he dispatched Sok Thy to earn his World Title shot.
Again, Haggerty recognizes the threat, but believes he has the answers.
“He throws a lot of low kicks as well, but only to people that don’t block so it’s a no-brainer,” he continues.
“If you don’t block he’s going to keep low kicking. Once I put my block up a few times, he’s not going to want to low kick.”
“The General” has a diverse striking arsenal — as he showed with a remarkable elbow that sent Joseph Lasiri to the canvas in his promotional debut, the punches that twice dropped Sam-A to the mat, and the endless array of kicks across both matches.
He believes that faith in his skills will be the biggest factor when he puts his gold on the line inside the Mall Of Asia Arena. The Englishman knows that he has the power to change the complexion of a bout, and when Rodtang attempts to charge into his range, he will make him pay.
If he is true to his word, “The Iron Man” may finally take a step back in The Home Of Martial Arts.
“I’ve beaten him in my head already. That’s the main thing – believing that you’re going to win the fight,” the Brit asserts.
“I’m technically better than him, and people think he’s got that killer instinct, but I think I’ve got more of a killer instinct than him. Come 2 August, we’ll see who’s got it the most.
“Rodtang, I hope you bring your A-game. You’re there to be hit, and I’m going to hit you hard. Once you feel this power, you’re going to back up!”