“The Kicking Machine” Superlek Kiatmoo9 has achieved an incredible amount of success in Muay Thai, but his fresh foray into kickboxing has made him more motivated than ever.
With an impressive debut victory in his new sport last September, the Thai star punched his ticket to a ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Title challenge against divisional king Ilias “Tweety” Ennahachi at ONE: FISTS OF FURY on Friday, 26 February.
Superlek — a two-time Lumpinee Stadium Muay Thai World Champion — says he will enter the Singapore Indoor Stadium with a renewed sense of determination.
“I want to improve myself by learning new things from kickboxing in ONE Championship. It has helped a lot to improve my speed and sharpen my technique,” the #2-ranked contender offers.
Though there are many similarities between the stand-up arts, there are also many differences. For that reason, not every proponent of “the art of eight limbs” has been able to cross over successfully.
However, Superlek has been carefully studying the subtleties of kickboxing so that he can truly threaten a World Champion with much more experience in the domain.
“I need to adapt my fighting style. Kickboxing focuses on punching and scoring — and the only way to earn a score is by hitting the target,” the Thai offers.
“When it comes to training for kickboxing, I focus on speed, trying not to break the kickboxing rules, and trying to put together combos to increase my chances of hitting the target.”
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One man who’s made an incredible transition from Muay Thai to kickboxing is Capitan Petchyindee Academy.
The Bangkok resident opened his kickboxing slate with a record-setting six-second knockout and then defeated Alaverdi “Babyface Killer” Ramazanov this past January to become the ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Champion.
Superlek is looking to his countryman for some extra tips on how to convert his past success into World Championship glory in a second sport.
“I watched Capitan and I would like to congratulate him. I am glad to see his victory,” Superlek says.
“I will be studying the style that made him become the World Champion in order to adapt it with my style.”
Opposite Superlek, reigning king Ennahachi has looked phenomenal at the top of the flyweight ranks in ONE Super Series.
“Tweety” debuted with a knockout win over Petchdam “The Baby Shark” Petchyindee Academy to win the gold and then added a successful ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Title defense to his resume against “Metal Storm” Wang Wenfeng a few months later.
The Dutch-Moroccan athlete brings a lot of tools to the table that Superlek must be aware of, but the Kiatmoo9 representative has done his homework.
“He is tough. He has agility and speed, many years of experience in kickboxing, and his head kick and his punches are also dangerous,” Superlek says.
“[But his weakness] will be his power. At the end of the match, he will not be as powerful as he was at the beginning of the match. He will be exhausted.”
“The Kicking Machine” is a relentless warrior who’s competed for five rounds during most of his career under Muay Thai rules, so keeping a sustained pace for the duration of this battle should not be a problem.
He believes that element of his martial arts background – along with his attention to detail – will lead to impressive results.
“In my preparation, I always study for every single movement,” Superlek says.
“My advantage is my experience in Muay Thai and my footwork. I will make him uncomfortable so he cannot move anywhere and use his agility.”
The Thai hero is adept at shutting his rivals down, especially with his feared right kick, but Ennahachi presents an all-new pattern that will need to be broken.
Still, Superlek is confident that he has the tools to win — and if the going gets tough, that his hunger will push him through.
That hunger already helped “The Kicking Machine” escape poverty in rural Thailand. Next, winning the ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Title would open new doors, bring in massive opportunities, and allow him to support those around him.
“This is the most important [fight for me] because it will be my first challenge for a ONE World Championship, and I need it to decorate my gym and for my family’s honor. I will make it happen,” he states.
“If I win and Rodtang [Jitmuangnon] wins his fight [on the same night], there is a high chance we could face each other in kickboxing. That will be the most exciting match for the audience around the country if it happened.
“Ilias Ennahachi, I am coming to take the World Championship belt from your hands.”