Thai striking star Superlek "The Kicking Machine" Kiatmoo9 is one of eight participants who will compete in the opening round of the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Grand Prix at ONE 157: Petchmorakot vs. Vienot this Friday, 20 May, at Singapore Indoor Stadium.
The #2-ranked flyweight Muay Thai contender faces Japan’s Taiki “Silent Sniper” Naito in quarterfinal action on the evening’s lead card, and he feels confident of his chances to take home the tournament’s coveted silver belt.
“I’m super excited to be part of the Muay Thai World Grand Prix, because this is a very big tournament and it’s under the rules of Muay Thai that I am good at, too. I think I'm one of the best Muay Thai fighters to show my skills in this competition. And I will do my best,” Superlek said.
The four-time Muay Thai World Champion has every right to fancy his chances of coming out on top in the Grand Prix. He holds a 4-1 record in ONE across kickboxing and Muay Thai, and his most recent battle in “the art of eight limbs” saw him scoring a unanimous decision win over fellow Thai striking star “The Angel Warrior” Panpayak Jitmuangnon.
Superlek has more than 160 fights to his name, four times the amount of his upcoming opponent, and he has won the Lumpinee World Title in two different weight classes.
On the other hand, Naito has earned 34 wins in his career, with a third of those coming by knockout. The Japanese Shootboxing Champion holds a 5-1 striking slate in the Circle, and his only defeat came at the hands of top-ranked contender Jonathan “The General” Haggerty.
“The Kicking Machine” is aware of his foe’s abilities, and though he gives him credit for certain aspects, he’s ultimately unconcerned by him.
“I just watched his previous fights with Petchdam and Jonathan Haggerty to study him. I think he is good at his kicks and low kicks. His Muay Thai stance is also nice. But I found that his defense isn’t that good. He often leaves holes for opponents to throw punches at him,” Superlek said.
“Certainly, his previous performance was good, but I'm not worried about him at all because I believe in myself that I will overcome him this time.”
That said, the Buriram native has been preparing all the same. He faces stiff competition throughout the tournament, and he is aiming to make a statement against Naito in the opening round.
“I would say that I haven’t got just my deadly kicks. I will add elbows and fists, too. I’ve sharpened my elbows for this fight. There must be bloodshed if my elbow can connect,” Superlek said.
Watch ONE 157: Petchmorakot vs. Vienot live on Disney+ Hotstar, beginning with the lead card at 2:30 p.m. India Standard Time (IST) on Friday, 20 May. The main card broadcasts live on Disney+ Hotstar at 6 p.m. IST.