Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon says he will leave no doubt about his credentials as ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion when he renews his rivalry with his toughest opponent this Friday, 10 January.
That contest last May went back and forth for all five rounds to a close, nailbiting decision, but Rodtang has promised he will retain his belt in a way that will leave no doubt about the result.
The first encounter between these two warriors ended with a hard-earned victory for Rodtang after a long match that pushed both men to their limits.
Rodtang started slow, but roared to life when it mattered and put Haggerty down for a count in the first of the championship rounds. That was the decisive moment of the contest and is why he says he deserved the judges’ nod.
“I think that Haggerty won rounds one and two. I won the third, and got a 10-8 on the fourth when I knocked him down,” he explains.
“Not much happened, in round five so you could score [that round] a draw.”
Haggerty was gracious as he accepted defeat, but he believes he won three of the five rounds and has a few tricks up his sleeve that can help him turn the tables in the rematch.
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“The Iron Man” accepts that the British challenger can give him a lot of problems if he does not bring his A-game, but he is certain that he will get his hand raised again.
What’s more, this time he plans to be more aggressive in his pursuit of a finish to give his hometown crowd an emphatic conclusion to the night’s bouts.
“In round one, I will still be tentative and see what he brings,” he explains.
“He’s going to be similar to last time. I can’t be slow because he can beat me on the outside. I need to go in hard and fast. He can’t take a body shot, that is his weakness.
“My punches will knock him out, but I still have to wait for the opportunity. I am confident, but I can’t be careless. I will knock him out, but will have to wait until the 10th to find out how.”
Rodtang is also looking forward to this assignment because it is his first ONE Super Series World Title bout in his homeland.
“I’m happy that this fight will happen in Thailand because it is a Muay Thai title and should be fought for in Thailand,” he says.
The majority of the crowd at the Impact Arena will be rooting for the 22-year-old Phatthalung native, including a large group of his most passionate fans, which will include his biggest supporters.
“I’ll be bringing my parents up to watch this fight. I’m really excited they will be coming,” Rodtang adds.
“I have probably more than two vans coming with my whole family plus everyone from my gym will be there. It is the first time my parents will see me fight.”
Though Rodtang will go into his second meeting with Haggerty with added motivation to perform in front of his mother and father, as well as confidence because of his game plan, he is far from complacent.
As number one in his division, he knows that there is a target on his back. Every man he faces in 2020 will be fired up to knock him off his perch, and he will have to be at the top of his game to maintain his status.
“Everyone wants the title, and will be coming hard to get it,” the 22-year-old says.
“The opponents are getting harder, better, and so I have to get better and stronger.”