A new chapter in ONE Championship history is scheduled to be written, bound, and published when the organization crowns its second women’s world champion on Saturday night, as ONE: KINGS OF COURAGE wows an expectant crowd at the Jakarta Convention Center.
Singapore’s Tiffany Teo (7-0) looks to hold the ONE Women’s Strawweight World Title alongside the much-heralded Angela Lee, who reigns supreme as the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion. If this comes to pass, it will be a wonderful coup for Singapore sport, as both women fight under that nation’s flag.
Coming to ONE Championship with a 3-0 record, Teo rumbled her way past four opponents — Walaa Abass via second-round submission, Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol then Rebecca Heitzman by decision, and Puja Tomar with a first-round armbar — to reach her world title shot.
It was clear early on, that if her unbeaten status could be maintained, she was a sure bet to battle for the belt.
As a striker, she has muscular weight in all the right places, solid legs and shoulders enable her to impose in the standup, but her dexterity and nimbleness mean she’s also no slouch at close quarters. She’ll need that against her Chinese opponent.
30-year-old Xiong Jingnan is 13-1, and has proven to be tremendous finisher with almost all her wins by knockout, with her only loss coming two-and-a-half years ago by decision.
In 2016, she knocked out Mona Samir, who is known well to ONE Championship fans, in four minutes, and followed that up with two more wins before making her ONE debut. In that contest, she met April Osenio of the Philippines’ famed Team Lakay.
Osenio had beaten Ann Osman a year earlier, and Xiong’s first-round TKO of the Filipino put her in an elevated position, and proved impressive enough to push her to the verge of a world title.
Against Osenio, she exhausted her opponent with a prolonged guillotine attempt, and while Osenio eventually broke free, it left the Lakay warrior with orientation and fatigue issues.
Xiong took full advantage to fall Osenio with a series of devastating left and right hands, prompting referee Yuji Shimada to call a halt to the contest.
This will be a fine bout full of attrition, because both women are strong, and can withstand the draining affair that this promises to be.
I have a suspicion that Xiong might just be the grittier of the two, winning by a late third-round stoppage.
Steve Dawson is a ONE Championship presenter and commentator, a Fox Sports presenter and an author of sporting biographies. He can be found on Twitter & Instagram as @Gulasahi