Rodtang Jitmuangnon sets out on a quest for more gold and glory on Friday. He makes his kickboxing debut against Alejandro Rivas at ONE: ‘Fists of Fury’ in Singapore.
Rodtang is one of the highest paid fighters on the Muay Thai scene in Thailand. He fought six times in 2020 but says he has still been affected by the pandemic,
“The second wave of Covid in Thailand made things hard. I have a lot of family members I support through fighting and my father has been sick so I have a lot of demands financially. Being a fighter is like being self employed, if the fights stop like they have I have no money coming in. Luckily though I had enough money saved and also some of my family members found some other ways to earn money while the second wave was on so we could get through it.”
Adapting and adjusting
Rodtang says preparation has gone according to plan and he will not make the mistake of underestimating his opponent,
“My training has gone well, I have had a little over a month of solid training to get ready. I have watched some of Rivas’s fights already and he has a good style, I am definitely not going to underestimate him as he has a lot of experience fighting under the kickboxing ruleset and I will have to adapt to that.”
Rodtang has vast experience in Muay Thai. But he has never competed in kickboxing before and has adjusted his training camp accordingly,
“I have been working a lot more on my boxing and doing a lot of sparring, working on footwork and speed in my attacks, with the sparring I have had three partners and they keep changing all the time so they are fresh, while I have to keep going. Under the kickboxing rules I know I have to be fast in my attacks and move around quickly and throw my shots in combinations and make sure I hit the target.”
Rodtang holds the ONE Championship flyweight Muay Thai title and already has his sights set on the kickboxing strap,
“I want to build my legacy even more and become a two sport champion and fight for the kickboxing title. I hope I can get to fight the winner of Ilias Ennahachi and Superlek Kiatmoo9, who fight on the same day as me. Thats the fight I really want now.”
Ennahachi is the flyweight kickboxing champion. Superlek, like Rodtang, is a newcomer to the sport of kickboxing but has won numerous titles in the course of his Muay Thai career.
Rodtang will be an interested spectator and thinks Superlek might struggle to make the necessary adjustments,
“Ennahachi is very slick, with fast footwork and great hands and kicks. I think it will depend on Superlek and how he adapts, on if he can win. Superlek has to be fast and positive, he looked a little awkward in his first kickboxing bout and a little unsure of himself under those rules. If he has worked and adapted well since then he can beat Ennahachi, but if he is too slow I think it will be difficult for him.”
Rodtang also has a Muay Thai fight booked although his title won’t be on the line when he faces Jacob Smith at ONE on TNT in April. It looks set to be a busy year for the 23 year old and he hopes to hold two ONE Super Series titles by the end of it.