Rodtang Jitmuangnon and Takeru will finally face off at ONE 165. The event is set for the Ariake Arena in Tokyo on January 28th and the two fighters will meet in a five round kickboxing bout.

There won’t be a title on the line but the fight looks set to headline ONE Championship’s first event in Japan since 2019. It will be Takeru’s first fight for the promotion and is a match that has been in the works for nearly a year.

Next in line

Takeru is the former K-1 bantamweight, featherweight and super featherweight champion and was propelled to super stardom after a kickboxing bout with Tenshin Nasukawa last year. That broke box office records in Japan and even though he lost it instantly established the the 32 year old a household name.

Rodtang is the reigning ONE Championship flyweight champion. He is coming off his first defeat in a regular fight for the promotion, a decision loss to Superlek Kiatmoo9 at ONE Friday Fights 34.

Superlek came in overweight ahead of that fight so Rodtang’s flyweight Muay Thai title wasn’t on the line. Superlek holds the kickboxing belt in the division and could be first in line to face the winner.

In the works

Takeru and Rodtang is a fight that has reportedly been in the works since the start of the year. Another matchup for this card has taken even longer to make with Shinya Aoki finally set to fight Sage Northcutt.

The two lightweights were first scheduled to fight in 2021 but Northcutt withdrew after contracting Covid-19 and Aoki ended up facing Eduard Folayang for the third time instead. Both men have made it clear they want the fight to happen and it finally will on January 28th.

Aoki (47-11-0-1) is one of the most experienced fighters in the division. He is currently on the worst run of results in his 20 year career and has not won a fight since 2021.

Northcutt (12-3) submitted Ahmet Mujtaba in 23 seconds at ONE Fight Night 10. It was his first win since 2018 and the American appears to have recovered from a damaging debut which saw him suffer serious facial injuries at the hands of Cosmo Alexandre.

Long wait

The Japanese fans have also had to wait a long time for ONE Championship to return to the country. So far there have been two events held in Tokyo, although one of them was a double header.

ONE: ‘A new Era’ took place at the Ryōgoku Kokugikan in 2019. It was headlined by Aoki who submitted Eduard Folayang in the first round of their rematch to recapture the lightweight title.

The promotion returned to the same venue for ONE: ‘Century’ the following year. This centenary event featured two fight cards in a single day and Aoki was involved again, submitting Honorio Banario in the opening round.

ONE 165, Tokyo, January 28th
Kickboxing: Takeru vs. Rodtang Jitmuangnon (Flyweight)
Shinya Aoki vs. Sage Northcutt (Lightweight)