The vacant ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing Championship will be contested by the ONE Bantamweight mixed martial arts champion Fabricio Andrade and ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai champion Jonathan Haggerty at ONE Fight Night 15 on October 6.
Both fighters are arguably in the midst of career-best runs at the moment, albeit in non-kickboxing sports: Andrade has most recently capped off an eight-fight undefeated run in MMA with a four-round domination of John Lineker to capture the ONE MMA title; Haggerty stopped Nong-O Hama to capture the ONE Muay Thai title, which snapped the all-time great's ten-fight win streak and extended Haggerty's own to five consecutive victories.
A question which might immediately pop into the minds of kickboxing fans is – what about Hiroki Akimoto? The former champion, currently ranked as the second-best fighter in his weight class, seemed like a shoe-in for the vacant title, after it was revealed that Petchtanong Petchfergus had tested positive for performance enchanching drugs. Despite losing the title to the aforementioned Petchtanong, the loss was a split decision, not to mention the fact that Akimoto had beaten every other contender in ONE prior to that.
All the same, both Andrade and Haggerty have entertaining, fan-friendly styles, which should lend themselves to a great fight. Hopefully, former kickboxing champions such as Hiroki Akimoto and perhaps Ilias Ennahachi will book fights soon as well and receive a crack at the championship as well.