Just a few weeks after defeating Jonathan Haggery for the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Championship at ONE: DAWN OF HEROES in Manila, Thailand’s Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon finds himself in the ONE Championship ring once more when he defends his title for the first time against Brazilian challenger Walter Goncalves at ONE: CENTURY in Tokyo, Japan on 13 October.
The Rodtang-Goncalves clash will be one of the four World Titles on the line in the historic two-card extravaganza to celebrate ONE’s 100th live event.
Rodtang hasn’t had too much time to celebrate his first world championship under the ONE Championship banner, as he’s set to make his return to the ring just a little over two months since dethroning the impressive Haggerty for the title.
“It hasn’t even completely sunk in yet,” Rodtang said of winning the championship. “But that’s how the fight game is, and I’m here to prove that I’m a fighting champion and that I’ll take on all comers.”
Against Haggerty, Rodtang was facing a longer, rangier athlete that had previously proven his mettle by taking down the legendary Sam-A Gaiyanghadao. Rodtang admits that avenging Sam-A has proven to be a little bit of added motivation.
“Of course, I wanted to win the title and avenge Sam-A. Sam-A is a legend in our country. No disrespect to Jonathan [Haggerty] because he is an amazing competitor, but I felt that it was my duty to bring the ONE title back home to Thailand,” he explained.
That he did, as he was able to put on a spectacular performance en route to a unanimous decision win after five rounds. Now, Rodtang will be the one doing the defending as he faces newcomer Goncalves who is also out to make a name for himself.
“Walter Goncalves is a dangerous fighter, not just because he’s a former world champion, but also because he’s coming in with something to prove. He’s going to be making his debut on the biggest martial arts event in history, against the champion.
“Definitely, he’ll be very hungry and very motivated for this fight. I can tell because I was in the same position just a few months ago.”
While Rodtang can relate to his first challenger, he says that he won’t be letting history repeat itself in ONE Championship’s biggest offering yet.
“Goncalves will be looking for the upset, but I won’t let that happen. I plan on having this belt around my waist for a very long time.”