Thai superstar Superlek Kiatmoo9 is driven by a sense of national pride as he gears up for his upcoming battle against Tagir Khalilov in the headline bout of ONE Fight Night 12 on Prime Video.
When he steps into the ring against the formidable Russian knockout artist in Bangkok this Friday, Superlek, also known as “The Kicking Machine,” will be facing a man who eagerly embraces his moniker as “The Thai Killer.” Adding to the challenge is Khalilov’s consecutive first-round knockouts of esteemed Thai athletes Black Panther and Chorfah Tor Sangtiennoi. Aware of his opponent’s accomplishments, the 27-year-old Superlek aims to put an end to Khalilov’s streak and neutralize his feared boxing skills at the renowned Lumpinee Stadium.
With over 130 career victories and an impressive six-fight winning streak in ONE, Superlek has encountered numerous devastating punchers throughout his illustrious career. Drawing upon his vast experience, the pound-for-pound striking great intends to leverage his skills in the highly anticipated showdown on Friday—and he anticipates surprising Khalilov.
Superlek’s Preference: Facing Haggerty instead of Rodtang
Superlek Kiatmoo9, the reigning flyweight kickboxing champion, finds himself once again stepping into the Muay Thai ring, expressing his intention to pursue two-sport glory and the ONE Muay Thai World Title.
However, as the flyweight Muay Thai division is currently ruled by Thai megastar Rodtang Jitmuangnon, “The Kicking Machine” suggests holding off on a potential super-fight with his compatriot. This delay would provide an opportunity for both fighters to pursue dream matchups against Jonathan “The General” Haggerty, the ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Champion, or Japanese kickboxing sensation Takeru Segawa.
Superlek envisions a future where multiple Thai athletes hold ONE World Titles, which is why he prefers facing a non-Thai opponent at the moment. He explained, “I don’t believe my match with Rodtang will happen anytime soon. As I mentioned, I want all Thais to hold the belts. Moreover, Rodtang desires to fight Haggerty and Takeru. Both of them are my ideal opponents as well. Hence, I don’t think this is the right time for us to face each other.”
Above all, Superlek yearns for a fight against Jonathan Haggerty, the British titleholder he previously defeated in 2018. This bout would not only provide a chance at two-sport gold but also an opportunity to avenge the loss suffered by another legendary Thai star, Nong-O Hama, who relinquished his title to “The General” earlier this year.