ONE Championship CEO Chatri Sityodtong stepped in front of the Thai media just an hour ago, and dropped several bombs regarding super fights that are in the pipeline for this year.
ONE Flyweight Kickboxing champion Superlek Kiatmoo9 will defend his title against fan-favorite Rodtang Jitmuangnon on March 25 in Singapore. Both fought and won on the same card at ONE Fight Night 6, two weeks ago making this a no-brainer. Chatri also said that a Muay Thai fight between the two is planned further down the line.
Short turn-around for ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai champion Nong-O Gaiyanghadao. After defending his title in front of a home crowd at ONE's inaugural event at Lumpinee Stadium, he will return on April 22 against Jonathan Haggerty in Thailand. A surprising move, considering Haggerty just moved up to Bantamweight and albeit winning a majority decision Vladimir Kuzmin, missed weight once again. Chatri however was quick to address his motivation behind the fight, "Jon's a talented individual, and beating Sam-A with just 14 fights is impressive."
The third announcement will be a rematch between two-sports champion Regian Eersel and Sinsamut Sor Klimnee on March 17 at ONE Lumpinee / ONE Friday Fights.
Newly crowned ONE Featherweight Kickboxing champion Chingiz Allazov has made his interest to challenge for his second-weight division public, when he called out Regian Eersel. With Eersel now already booked, the Thai media asked for the possibility of a Sitthichai rematch. Chatri said that he rather sees him fight Marat Grigorian, but nothing is booked yet. The two have history, as they fought twice already, a decade ago. The first bout ended in a no-contested after an unintentional illegal elbow early in the bout. The second one, just eight months after, ended in a unanimous decision for Grigorian.
Another rematch in the pipeline for 2023 is ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing champion Petchtanong Petchfergus against Hiroki Akimoto. Petchtanong won the belt against Akimoto in emphatic fashion, outclassing the tough Japanese fighter over five rounds. His effort earned him our '2022 Upset of the Year'.
The last topic of interest was Takeru. With his departure from K-1 last year and vague statements about future plans, fans and media were wondering if ONE is interested in picking up the former three-division champion. Chatri would be open to negotiate with Takeru, but it seems difficult with Takeru's lofty expectations of free agency. "If Takeru wants to go to the global stage and not just stay on the Japanese level then I'm open."