Any fans who are frustrated at missing out on seeing Takeru fight Rodtang Jitmuangnon should know that they are not alone. It sound like no-one was more disappointed than the Japanese star when, after weeks of rumours, it finally emerged that his original opponent was injured.

Takeru was already well into his fight camp and the news clearly came as blow to the former K-1 champion,

“I had been preparing for months to face Rodtang, so there were feelings of frustration when he couldn’t participate.”


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Exceptional opponent

Instead he found himself matched with Superlek Kiatmoo9. It means that the ONE 165 headliner would have a title on the line with the Thai defending his flyweight kickboxing belt.

With or without Rodtang the opportunity to headline ONE 165 and fight for a title was simply too good for Takeru to turn down,

“Considering that an exceptional opponent like Superlek was arranged and it’s a world title match, I felt there was no reason to decline this offer.”

Surprisingly given that this will be Takeru’s first fight for ONE Championship he hints that it could be his last. Perhaps something has been lost in translation but it sounds like the 32 year old is openly contemplating the prospect of retirement,

“I’m approaching each fight like it could be my last. I have been training intensely. Even if this match marks the end of my career as a fighter, I believe I can still wear the belt proudly after the match, so I will give it my all.”


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Clash of styles

Rodtang won’t be injured forever and that fight should still happen. First of all Takeru has to overcome Superlek and he believes doing so would establish him as the best kickboxer in the world,

“I consider ONE the best in the world, so by defeating their champion, I will prove that I am the strongest in the world. I will definitely win.”

Takeru comes from a kickboxing background and doesn’t appear to have much experience in Muay Thai. The opposite is true of Superlek who won’t be able to use his elbows or throw knees from the clinch in this fight.

Despite Superlek being the champion it is Takeru who has the experience when it comes to kickboxing. He knows exactly how the fight is going to play out,

“I believe it will be a battle between my punches and Superlek’s kicks.”

First to fall

Takeru’s fight with Tenshin Nasukawa was a three rounder. It broke box office records in Japan but left fans wanting more after seeing the two kickboxing legends share a ring for just nine minutes.

His fight with Superlek is scheduled for five but Takeru does not believe it will last that long,

“Since this match has five rounds, it may become a match where one of us falls. I absolutely want to KO Superlek and win the belt.”