After a couple of rumors making waves, it’s now official – Superlek Kiatmoo9 will put his coveted ONE flyweight kickboxing world title on the line versus kickboxing ace Takeru Segawa in the main event of ONE 165.
The promotion’s highly-awaited return to Japan was initially set to be headlined by a seismic kickboxing showdown between Rodtang Jitmuangnon and the three-division K-1 world champion, but the former has been forced to step on the brakes due to an injury.
ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong broke the news on his Facebook page earlier today, along with a revised poster starring the two megastars that will headline the January 28 bill inside the Ariake Arena.
‘The Kicking Machine’ was deep into his preparation for his second assignment as a divisional king against Elias Mahmoudi at ONE Fight Night 18 on Friday, January 12. Unfortunately, an injury to the French-Algerian threw a spanner in the works.
That delay might have been a blessing in disguise, though, as Superlek will now have a chance of a lifetime to square off with the Japanese martial artist, a modern-day kickboxing icon.
The 28-year-old Thai heads into this five-round clash on the back of another stellar year on the global stage of ONE Championship, and he’s looking to kick off 2024 on a similar note.
In January 2023, the Kiatmoo9 Gym affiliate bagged 26 pounds of gold with an explosive performance over Spanish fighter Daniel Puertas at ONE Fight Night 6.
Superlek followed up that majestic display with a third-round knockout of Danial Williams to defend his gold. Since then, he has ventured into Muay Thai and claimed a pair of highlight-reel wins over Nabil Anane and Tagir Khalilov.
Most recently, the Buriram native closed out his 2023 with a pristine 5-0 record, edging past Rodtang in their historic champion vs champion clash at ONE Friday Fights 34 in Bangkok.
Standing in his way next is another difficult assignment under the ONE banner, but Superlek has proved time and time again that there is no task too tough for a man who lives and breathes martial arts.
Can Takeru be the man to stop Superlek’s hellish streak?
There’s no denying that Takeru will have his hands full when he opens his promotional account against Superlek at ONE 165 in Tokyo, Japan.
But the Japanese striking dynamite, widely regarded as one of the greatest pound-for-pound kickboxers today, is used to facing some of the biggest names of this generation.
Despite his experience and advantage in the ruleset, the 32-year-old will still need to construct a solid game plan to take out any threat that his Thai rival possesses at his fingertips.
If he can counter and hit Superlek with trademark volume and explosiveness, there’s a healthy chance that there will be a crowning of a new ONE world champion at the Ariake Arena on January 28.