The dream fight between Thai superstar Rodtang and former three-division K-1 champion Takeru might be a reality soon.
The two fighters are trading words on social media after Takeru announced earlier this week, that he's fulfilled and finished his contract with K-1 and his old gym KREST, and is now a free agent. A welcome surprise for kickboxing fans, that thought the career of the 'Natural Born Krusher' might have come to an end after his loss to Tenshin Nasukawa in June this year.
Rodtang, who had his eye on the Japanese scene since his loss to common rival Tenshin Nasukawa, is confident he has what it takes to beat Takeru.
Both athletes have a very similar style – always marching forward, pressuring, and not afraid to take a punch to dish two out.
Rodtang was quick to call out Takeru, once the news broke out.
While Takeru seems willing to take the fight – it's certain that most championship-level fighters would be.
What it really comes down to are contract negotiations. ONE Championship who's been looking to break into the Japanese market has only found middling success in the land of the rising sun. A lucrative market, without a question – ONE Championship and most other international promotions seem like an afterthought for many Japanese fans, who'd rather watch local promotions such as K-1, RISE, and RIZIN. Something that would most certainly change with the signing of Takeru.
Being the brightest star the 'new' K-1 has produced since its inception exactly 8 years ago, Takeru might be the name ONE Championship needed to put themselves on the map in the combat sports-crazed country. It would also help further elevate the status of the many Japanese athletes on the ONE roster. ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing Champion Hiroki Akimoto, who's up there with the best, doesn't quite enjoy the stardom that his K-1 and RISE counterparts do in Japan.
Rodtang, who's looked unstoppable during his ONE tenure, is no stranger to Kickboxing rules, having put Tenshin Nasukawa to the test, giving him the hardest fight of his career.
With the limited Muay Thai experience Takeru has, it would make sense to contest this under kickboxing rules, but the Japanese fighter has always shown interest to test new waters. With ONE Championship's willingness to put on the mixed-rules bouts, something Rodtang is no stranger to, that would also be something that can't be ruled out.
The Thai star is scheduled to take on fellow champion Joseph Lasiri at ONE on Prime Video 4 on November 19. The ONE Strawweight Muay Thai champion moves up to challenge ‘The Tank’, after just recently claiming his title. The Moroccan-Italian can never be counted out, having scored huge upset wins over both Prajanchai, and earlier in his career, against Hiroki Akimoto.