“The Iron Man” took on newcomer “Mini T” Danial Williams in a 61.5-kilogram catch weight Muay Thai contest on Wednesday, 7 April, and while he walked away with the unanimous decision, it certainly didn’t come easy.
Rodtang had promised to fight cautiously against Williams, and in the first round, he did just that. “The Iron Man” hung back and went kick-for-kick with the Australian, but that space gave Williams the confidence to let his hands fly.
“Mini T” connected with lefts and rights flush on the chin, even scoring a flash knockdown. In response, Rodtang continued to hang back – something fans rarely see from the Thai megastar.
Rodtang’s patience continued to give Williams the chance to land, and two more crisp right hands had the Thai shaking out his mouthpiece as he walked to the corner at the end of the first round.
In the second frame, things started to heat up as both men threw leather from inside the pocket. Williams connected with an overhand right and left hook, but Rodtang dismissed the attack and launched a left hook that sent his rival down for an eight-count.
With Williams back on his feet, Rodtang marched forward looking for the finale. But “Mini T,” to his credit, stood in front of the Thai and threw hammers and elbows. Rodtang acknowledged the attacks, after throwing two elbows himself, and sent his rival to the canvas with a push kick.
Williams stood back up, but he was walking on two steamed noodles. Rodtang proceeded to send a pair of piercing elbows through the Aussie’s guard, but “Mini T” wore the damage like a badge of honor and refused to wilt.
In true Rodtang fashion, he let out a roar after the second round finished, and that wouldn’t be the only time he expressed his growing excitement.
Williams kicked off the final stanza by catching the attention of Rodtang with a left-right combination that jolted the Thai’s jaw. Unhinged, Rodtang called on the Australian, and Williams answered. The two men battled valiantly from within the pocket – Rodtang swinging wildly and “Mini T” looking for crisp shots down the middle.
The damage on Williams’ face worsened, though, and the referee paused the action to let the ringside doctor inspect his head. When the action continued, both men went back into the fray.
But as much as Rodtang tried to finish his opponent, Williams refused to bow down. It appeared that for the first time in the ONE Championship Circle, Rodtang’s punches weren’t weakening his opponent, but instead giving him the strength to continue.
Williams fought with his heart on his sleeve in the waning moments, and although it wasn’t enough to bring the scorecards closer, it gained the respect of the man dubbed “the most dangerous striker in the world.”
After three rounds of action, Rodtang earned the nod from all three judges.
The victory moved his ONE Super Series record to 10-0 and his career record to 267-42-10.