Two-time Lumpinee Stadium Muay Thai World Champion Superlek “The Kicking Machine” Kiatmoo9 is eager to gain some redemption and claim the top contender spot in his division.
He’ll get the chance to do both of those things on Friday, 31 July.
That night, Superlek will continue his historic rivalry with compatriot “The Angel Warrior” Panpayak Jitmuangnon at ONE: NO SURRENDER in Bangkok, Thailand, and the winner of their battle will position himself as the promotion’s #1-ranked flyweight Muay Thai warrior.
“The Kicking Machine” had originally been preparing to compete in March, but the global COVID-19 pandemic forced ONE Championship to postpone several events.
Despite this, the 24-year-old Buriram native continued to stay sharp during the break. He maintained his fitness routine and worked out on the heavy bag as he patiently waited to make his return.
Then, nearly a month ago, he received the all-important phone call from Kiatmoo9 Gym.
“Around the middle of June, the camp called me and told me to prepare myself. They said I might have a fight with ONE soon, but didn’t know who my opponent would be. So, I took around two weeks to adjust my body before starting full training,” Superlek explains.
“When I found out that Panpayak was my opponent, my first feeling was a normal one. I didn’t have any worries. Even though we fought many times, it was never boring. Actually, I wanted to rematch him.”
There’s a good reason Superlek wants a rematch. These Muay Thai superstars have already faced each other six times, but the recent contests have not gone his way.
The Thais initially fought to a draw in 2015 at the world-famous Rajadamnern Stadium. Then, after swapping wins and losses in their next two meetings, Panpayak defeated Superlek three consecutive times by decision – including their most recent battle in August 2018.
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Superlek may have lost the past few times, but he also gained a better understanding of his rival’s best weapons and attributes.
“We know each other very well. I’m just focused on improving my skills,” the Buriram native says. “He’s got a great left kick and left punches, which I think are his biggest strengths. He’s also taller than me.”
There will be plenty at stake when these athletes meet in Bangkok.
Panpayak, a five-time Muay Thai World Champion, is currently the #1-ranked Muay Thai flyweight according to ONE’s Athlete Rankings.
Superlek occupies the #2 slot in those rankings, so if he defeats “The Angel Warrior,” he would potentially claim the top spot and could even sneak his way into a match-up with Panpayak’s teammate, ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon.
The Kiatmoo9 Gym representative understands the importance of this contest at ONE: NO SURRENDER, but he isn’t placing extra pressure on himself.
“All I can do is try my best, whatever the result of the fight,” Superlek says. “I always come for the victory.”