Following a jaw-dropping and historic win against a Muay Thai icon, Kohei “Momotaro” Kodera has confidence that he can take out anyone in ONE Super Series – including a former World Champion.
The Japanese superstar has been rewarded for his 41-second KO of martial arts legend Singtongnoi Por Telakun, by being been thrust into a match-up with Thai entertainer “The Baby Shark” Petchdam Petchyindee Academy at ONE: FIRE AND FURY.
“Momotaro” is dreaming of wearing a ONE Championship belt, and if the WBC Muay Thai International Champion can take out this knockout artist from Bangkok on Friday, 31 January, in Manila, Philippines, he will make a strong case to jump to the front of the queue for a shot at the gold.
The 29-year-old from Tokyo earned his first win in the Circle at the start of last year with an impressive victory via unanimous decision against Kenny “The Pitbull” Tse, but he blew that out of the water with the fastest finish in ONE Super Series history in September.
At ONE: IMMORTAL TRIUMPH, he amazed even himself with a tornado of offense that brought about one of the most sensational finishes of 2019. “Momotaro” sent his opponent tumbling across the ring with a barrage of punches, elbows, and knees that left him unable to answer the referee’s count.
“I was the most surprised of anyone to get the KO win in the first round – I was very happy,” he says.
“Everyone around me was surprised. I didn’t think I would win like that!”
After such a memorable performance, it was only right that another elite opponent would be next for Kodera, and he is fired up to test his skills in “the art of eight limbs” against the former ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Champion.
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“I knew that even if I won [against Singtongnoi], another strong opponent would be coming, and this time it’s Petchdam,” he adds.
“I knew that at some point I would face him, so now I’m feeling excited, and I’m looking forward to it.”
Petchdam rocketed to superstardom on the global stage with a trio of highlight-reel knockouts in his first three bouts before he claimed gold. He is a southpaw like “Momotaro,” but has a different style – one that makes the most of his incredible power.
Kodera expects he will not be able to stop the Thai star from throwing his best shots, so he has prepared accordingly.
“His attacks from his left are strong – his left middle kick and cross. He also has a strong heart,” he says.
“I’ve been working on those left-side attacks on the pads with my coach to get the muscle memory. Even though we’re both southpaws, I think he’ll come with hard left kicks.”
Though he acknowledges Petchdam’s strengths, “Momotaro” has no trouble performing under pressure, and he believes there are a few ways he can get the upper hand during their contest in Manila, Philippines.
The Asaka native expects he can cause a lot of trouble with his footwork, kicking ability, and fast hands – particularly in 4-ounce mixed martial arts gloves.
“With the open-finger gloves I’ll look for spaces. I think I have that opportunity with those gloves in punch exchanges,” he explains.
“My kicks are my specialty, so I want to show a variety to excite the crowd. If I beat him it’ll shock the world, so I’m really motivated in training right now.”
Petchdam is also a fast starter, so fans at the Mall Of Asia Arena may get to see “Momotaro” try to repeat the fireworks of his last match.
If the man from Bangkok does not crumble under the pressure like Singtongnoi, they can still expect a memorable battle as two of ONE Super Series’ most dynamic athletes go toe-to-toe on the main card.
“I’m going to continuously attack from the get-go. I don’t think he’s the type to take his time, so it’ll be action from round one,” he promises.
“I’m treating every match as my last this year. I can’t let this chance pass by. I’m really glad to face such a top fighter, so I want to seize this opportunity.”