ONE Light Heavyweight Title Fight Between Roman Kryklia & Francesko Xhaja Postponed, Superlek With Quick Three Week Turnaround to Fight Tagir Khalilov

Jun 30, 2023
Superlek walking out before fighting Nabil. Photo: ONE Championship
Superlek steps in under two-week notice to save ONE Fight Night 12's card.

Superlek is set to face Rodtang's former opponent, Tagir Khalilov, in the headliner of ONE Fight Night 12 on July 14. This Muay Thai bout was announced after the ONE Light Heavyweight Kickboxing World Title fight between Roman Kryklia and Francesko Xhaja was postponed to a later date due to an undisclosed injury.


Superlek has become a fan favorite due to his willingness to take on all opponents. His latest victory came last week, when he knocked out the towering Muay Thai prodigy, Nabil Anane in the opening round. The Thai champion defeated Daniel Puertas Gallardo in January to become the ONE Flyweight Kickboxing champion and shortly after made his first title defense knocking out Danial Williams, a late-replacement for the injured Rodtang. 

'The Kicking Machine' also proved himself to be a company man, flying to Colorado as a potential replacement for Rodtang's US debut due to Rodtang's past weight issues, showing his desire to challenge for the Muay Thai title. However, in a shocking turn to ONE fans, Superlek and Rodtang appeared to reach an agreement that they both want Thai fighters to hold as many ONE titles as they could, and instead called out Jonathan Haggerty.

Opposite Superlek will be Tagir Khalilov, who is riding a two-fight winning streak. The Russian made a memorable ONE debut two years ago, when he took on 'The Ironman' in a kickboxing bout. He scored clean hits against Rodtang multiple times, but the Thai champion edged out a razor-thin split decision victory.

After a nearly two-year absence, Khalilov made his return under Muay Thai rules, losing to Denis Puric. Short of being cut, the hard-hitting Russian made a career turnaround with consecutive upsets, knocking out Chorfah Tor Sangtiennoi and Black Panther, and emerging as a potential challenger to Rodtang's Muay Thai title.

ONE Championship reports that they are working on finding a new match-up for Khalilov's original opponent, Elias Mahmoudi.