Ilias Ennahachi knows what it takes to beat a top Thai opponent. He claimed ONE Championship’s flyweight kickboxing title by stopping Petchdam Petchyindee at ONE: ‘Dreams of Gold’ in Bangkok.

He faces a similar type of test at ONE: ‘Fists of Fury’ this Friday. Ennahachi has been matched with another opponent who has enjoyed sustained success in his Muay Thai career but is a relative newcomer in kickboxing terms.

The Dutchman feels that his kickboxing background will give him an advantage when he defends his title against former Lumpinee champion Superlek Kiatmoo9 in Singapore,

“I think in Dutch kickboxing we are more complete. I think the Muay Thai fighters are more focused on the kicks, but we are complete with kicks, knees, and punches. When the Thai fighters go to fight kickboxing, they must punch again.”

Thinking man

Superlek has only ever had one kickboxing bout. It sounds like Ennahachi has seen it and he doesn’t sound overly concerned,

“I have seen one of Superlek’s fights. He’s a good fighter, ONE Championship only has good fighters but I am not focused on him. I focus on myself. On the day of the fight, then you can see if my opponent is a very good fighter or not.”

Sometimes fighters from a Muay Thai background seem reluctant to punch. That is certainly not the case for Ennahachi who is very confident in his boxing,

“I have boxing, I don’t have to only fight with kicks, but I think the difference is I fight with my head. I think a lot in my fights.”

Future foe

Rodtang Jitmuangnon makes his kickboxing debut this week and Ennahachi says he would be open to a fight with the flyweight Muay Thai champion,

“A lot of fighters want to fight with me because I am the champion. It’s normal. If Rodtang wants to fight with me, let’s fight. He is beatable, but I am ready for any fighter ONE Championship gives to me.”

He is not looking past Superlek and says training for this fight has been intense,

“I have trained hard for this, three times every day, and I see myself going back to my country, my family, and my team with the belt. Superlek is a very important fight for me. Every fight is very important so I can stay number one and see what is next for me.”

Real deal 

This is only Ennahachi‘s third fight for ONE Championship. He was handed a title shot on his promotional debut in 2019 and has held the flyweight kickboxing belt ever since.

So despite holding a title Ennahachi still feels his reputation is on the line every time he fights. That will be the case again on Friday and the champion wants to show once again that he is the real deal,

“You can show the people you are the real champion when you stay the champion and remain at the top. Every time I fight for the title and defend it, I can show the people that I’m still number one.”