The Thai superstar retained his belt via split decision after a five-round World Title contest with Brazil’s Walter Goncalves went all the way to the judges’ scorecards at the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan on Sunday, 13 October.
???? RODTANG REIGNS SUPREME ????Thai superstar Rodtang Jitmuangnon ???????? overcomes a gutsy effort by Walter Goncalves to retain the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Title via split decision!????: Check local listings for global broadcast details????: Watch on the ONE Super App ???? http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp????: Shop Official Merchandise ???? http://bit.ly/ONECShop
Posted by ONE Championship on Sunday, October 13, 2019
The action started with both men trading leg kicks, but it was the challenger who struck the first decisive blow with a thumping head kick that sparked Rodtang into an instant response.
The three-time Muay Thai World Champion then caught a kick and swept Rodtang to the floor to show he was anything but overawed by the occasion, or his opponent, as he implemented a game plan to counter and frustrate the aggressive Thai.
Rodtang relentlessly worked the left kick to the body in round two and motioned to the backpedaling Brazilian to step in and meet him in the center of the Circle. However, Goncalves continued to work off the back foot and effectively countered as the 22-year-old World Champion stepped into range.
Rodtang appeared to become frustrated at the Brazilian’s apparent willingness to work off the back foot during the third period, and twice implored him to come forward and go toe-to-toe.
It prompted referee Elias Dolaptsis to warn both athletes to produce more action, and they duly responded as Rodtang connected with a series of punches that ended with the Brazilian falling to the canvas after bouncing off the Circle fence.
No count was administered, but it seemed like Rodtang was beginning to take charge, and a dump from the Thai emphasized the swing in momentum just before the end of the round.
The defending World Champion maintained the pressure in the first of the championship rounds as he pushed forward, and again, Goncalves touched the canvas off another punch, but it was ruled as a slip once again.
The action continued as the Thai continued to walk down the Brazilian, who answered with a spectacular sweep.
After an embrace and a high-five, the pair went into battle in the fifth and final round, and Goncalves drew gasps from the crowd with a spectacular question-mark kick that landed flush on the Thai’s chin. Somehow, Rodtang stood firm and pushed the pace until the final bell.
That meant the encounter went to the judges’ cards, and it was a close call as one judge scored the bout for the challenger, but the other two awarded the bout to Rodtang.
That meant the man from Bangkok claimed the 260th win of his Muay Thai career and defended his ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Title for the first time.