Reigning ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion Rodtang Jitmuangnon is preparing to give a more convincing performance in his rematch with Jonathan Haggerty. The two meet on 10 January in the main event of ONE: A NEW TOMORROW in Bangkok, Thailand.
During their first encounter in August, Rodtang was the challenger coming for the champion’s belt. He was worried how the judges would score the bout, given the momentum Haggerty came in with coming fresh off a victory over Thai legend Sam-A Gaiyanghadao.
Still, Rodtang powered through and delivered one of the most impressive performances of his career. “The Iron Man” started off slow but began to find his rhythm in the third round.
“Round three was all mine,” Rodtang said. “I found my rhythm and was able to close the gap. I feel like I really overwhelmed him in that round, and saw him start to fade.”
The bout was action-packed all throughout, with each man having their moments. In the end, however, Rodtang proved true to his reputation of being an absolute tank, and showed superior strength, power, and durability over the game but outclassed former champion, Haggerty.
After five rounds of non-stop action, Rodtang was crowned the new champion. Rodtang dropped Haggerty in the fourth, which no doubt was huge on the scorecards in a five-round contest.
“He really didn’t like the body shots, and when I saw that, I switched it up to go to the head,” he said.
“I wasn’t really surprised that he got up. I wasn’t thinking about going for a knockout or anything like that, I just felt this was going to be a really important round for me. I felt like that shot (that dropped Haggerty) only hit him with 70 percent of my power, but when he went down, I felt in my heart that I had won the fight.”
Yet despite his strong performance in the last three rounds, Rodtang was unsure of the result and was surprised to hear his name called out as the victor.
“I was a bit worried about the decision because it was just such an exciting moment for me,” he said.
“Plus, international scoring is different than in Thailand. I was confident I had won, but I just really needed to hear it first.”
Rodtang looks to run it back with Haggerty this January. This time, he wants to leave no doubt and finish the bout within the distance.