After years of build-up, one of the most highly anticipated Muay Thai fights in history is now official.
Earlier today, Chatri Sityodthong, the CEO of ONE Championship, announced on his Facebook page that Rodtang will defend the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Championship against Superlek, the ONE Flyweight Kickboxing champion, on September 22 at the legendary Lumpinee Boxing Stadium. The fight will be be ONE Friday Fights 34, airing during Asia Prime Time, as a quarterly mega Muay Thai card at Lumpinee Stadium.
The two champions were previously booked for Superlek’s kickboxing belt at ONE Fight Night 8 in March, before Rodtang pulled out just days before the fight due to injuries, drawing widespread criticism from fans.
Following the cancelled bout, both Thai champions stunned their fans by telling the media that they will not fight each, as they both want Thai fighters to hold as many ONE Championship titles as possible. Instead, they called out other ONE champions like Jonathan Haggerty. Their paths then diverged but both of their stardom reached new heights.
At ONE Championship's US debut in May, Rodtang became an overnight global sensation. Against ONE debutant, Edgar Tabares, Rodtang showcased his skills in front of the cheering American crowd, knocking the Mexican out in the second round, with a self-admitted 2-day training camp. Awarded with a historic $100,000 bonus, Rodtang basked in his new fame and wealth, treating himself with a Ford Mustang and making countless media appearances from interviews and comedy shows on Thai national TV to podcasts and prank shows on YouTube. He became an international superstar, living the life that all Thai fighters aspire to have.
Meanwhile, Superlek emerged as the new hardcore fans' favourite. He knocked out late-replacement Danial Williams to defend his kickboxing title. Knowing Rodtang's past issues with making weight, he flew to Colorado and made weight as a potential replacement for Rodtang's US debut. He then took on non-title Muay Thai fights. First, he defeated dangerous Muay Thai phenom, Nabil Anane in the first round, then stepped in with two-week notice to save ONE Fight Night 12's card in July, knocking out Tagir Khalilov in the process.
While Rodtang was telling the Japanese super star Takeru to get some wins in ONE before facing him, Superlek changed his stance on the all-Thai super fight. In interviews, Superlek openly welcomed a match-up with Rodtang. After Superlek’s crushing victory over Khalilov, fans drew comparisons between their common opponents, fueling the hype.
At last, the fight that fans nearly gave up hope of happening is here. With a potential mega fight against Takeru on the horizon, the stake is sky-high on who will be the man that represents Thailand and Muay Thai for years to come.