Combat sports have always been about the best fighting the best, and the impending clash between Superlek Kiatmoo9 and Rodtang Jitmuangnon certainly fits that billing.
Superlek, the reigning ONE flyweight kickboxing world champion, will challenge Rodtang for the ONE flyweight Muay Thai world title at ONE Friday Fights 34 on September 22nd. The iconic Lumpinee Boxing Stadium will play host to this titanic clash of megastars in a meeting that could become the most historic bout in Muay Thai history.
Never has there been a time when two Muay Thai artists are in the same division, in the same generation, and in the same tier of legendary status. Rodtang and Superlek have captivated fight fans for the past couple of years now, and their world title fight in Bangkok will surely be talked about for ages to come.
Although there’s never been a Muay Thai fight with the same gravitas that this one has, there was one bout in boxing that truly captured the world’s attention.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao were regarded as the two best boxers of their generation, and they certainly belong to the conversation of being the best of all time. So when these two icons met in 2015, their match was rightfully called The Fight of the Century.
Immeasurable hype was put on the rivalry, but that anticipation slowly fizzled out once Mayweather and Pacquiao stepped between the ropes at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Many observers called the mega fight a dud, and one reason for the lackluster pace was the boxers’ age. Mayweather was already 38 during the fight, while Pacquiao was 36, and they were both past their respective primes by then. Nevertheless, Mayweather and Pacquiao had the world dancing on the palm of their hands just by the sheer mention of their names.
While the iconic boxers were already at the tail-end of their careers in 2015, Rodtang and Superlek are just at the start of their peaks. Their highly anticipated bout will undoubtedly be the opposite of what happened between Pacquiao and Mayweather. Rodtang just turned 26 while Superlek is 27, and both have insane notoriety and mainstream appeal that their contest has been talked about for months already.
They were first scheduled to trade leather this past March at ONE Fight Night 8 for Superlek’s flyweight kickboxing throne, but Rodtang had to pull out due to injury. Though Jitmuangnon’s decision to leave the card was a bummer during that time, his exit only caused a louder demand for a fight with Superlek.
Since that postponed match, Superlek went on a three-fight tear and rolled through Danial Williams, Nabil Anane, and Tagir Khalilov. Jitmuangnon, meanwhile, got to full health and defended his strap against Edgar Tabares at ONE Fight Night 10 this past May in Denver.
With these two fighters coming off spectacular wins, fans will finally get their wishes fulfilled when Rodtang and Superlek finally face each other on the holy grounds of Muay Thai.