Superlek Kiatmoo9 shined as brightly as his ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Championship on January 28 at ONE 165.
The Thai superstar defeated Takeru Segawa to retain his title with a sensational performance that left the Japanese star unable to walk under his own power after ONE Championship's return to Japan.
Still, "The Kicking Machine" had nothing but respect for his challenger. Throughout all of the punishment, he could not drop his Japanese foe.
"There's no surprise [about what he displayed today]. That's why he's the top fighter in the world. I thought that I'm the heavy hitter, but I could not take him down, I could not drop him at all. He just kept coming right at me, so he deserved to be one of the top fighters in the world," Superlek said after the event.
Although it was a clear decision win, it did not come without some drama.
In the third round, Takeru came alive with combinations that rattled the 28-year-old. It was a moment that Superlek admits had him in some peril.
"It was at the end of the third round. I took that shot from Takeru, and my body literally froze, and the only thing that I thought in my head was that I have to have a fighting spirit; I have to do whatever it takes to survive on the third round and continue fighting on the fourth round," Superlek recalled.
After regaining his composure, Superlek rebounded in the championship rounds. The devastating leg kicks came back in full force and left Takeru's leg a myriad of colors that would make a rainbow jealous.
Superlek talked about how the kicks were a major part of his game and how the in-fight adjustments had to be made due to Takeru's tremendous preparation.
"I believe that my leg kick definitely had some effects on Takeru. I must say that he did his homework very well. I've been studying with the team on how to take him down. And one of the things is that every time Takeru came in and tried to throw left hook and right hook, I planned to do a high kick. And then, at the match, everything was so different. Takeru had been preparing himself very well to block my counterattack, so I had to adapt and survive in the ring as well," Takeru stated.
After another successful defense, Superlek has many options at his disposal. But there is one thing that is making him itch enough that he may just have to scratch — a move up to bantamweight.
"For me, going up to bantamweight is a very good thing because I think that I want new challenges in my life. I can still continue in the flyweight division, but going up to bantamweight is something I am very interested in as well," Superlek said.