ONE Championship: Puric says Rodtang has ‘no chance’ in kickboxing bout, looks to title fights ‘when I win’

ONE Championship: Puric says Rodtang has ‘no chance’ in kickboxing bout, looks to title fights ‘when I win’
ONE Championship: Puric says Rodtang has ‘no chance’ in kickboxing bout, looks to title fights ‘when I win’

Denis Puric will tackle one of the best in the business next month, but far from being intimidated by the prospect believes he can take down Rodtang Jitmuangnon at ONE 167.

At 39 years old, the Bosnian-born fighter, who learned his trade in Canada, is far closer to the end of his career than his rough beginnings in a refugee camp, but believes victory on June 8 could give him a title shot he has spent two decades pursuing.

While Rodtang is more famous for his Muay Thai exploits, the pair will clash in a flyweight kickboxing bout at Impact Arena in Bangkok and Puric said “when I win” it would open up more opportunities.

“It’s not for a title but I’m still excited because when I win it opens the door to both belts. I’m right where I need to be. It’s been a long time coming,” he said.

A relative newcomer to ONE Championship, having joined in 2022, Puric has a less-than-stellar record with the promotion, winning three of his five fights.

But his latest victory over Jacob Smith, a unanimous decision at ONE Fight Night 21, prompted him to call out Rodtang, and ONE obliged a fighter who began his journey in 1995 in war-torn Bosnia, continued in Slovenia and Canada, and then put in the hard yards in Thailand and China before his move.

“I’ve nothing but respect for Rodtang, he’s one of the best,” Puric said. “He’s a great fighter but I feel like I know I can beat him. I’m faster than him. “I feel like I’m more explosive.”

He is also not impressed by the standard of opposition Rodtang has been facing and gave a typically blunt assessment of the flyweight Muay Thai world champion’s opponents.

“Besides Superlek [Kiatmoo] and [Jonathan] Haggerty he’s never really fought a ranked fighter inside ONE Championship, a top five guy,” Puric said.

The Canadian was particularly scathing about a win over “the biggest bum in the league” Edgar Tabares, who Rodtang knocked out in the second round of their ONE Fight Night 10 clash, earning himself a US$100,000 bonus in the process.

Rodtang’s US$50,000 for beating Smith two years ago also ranked Puric, especially as he did not get anything for winning in the same manner.

Unsurprisingly, most of the crowd in Bangkok are likely to be backing the Thai megastar, and Puric is relishing the prospect of battling two opponents.

“We’re going to make history, we’re going to rock the world,” he said. “He has no chance in kickboxing rules against me. Once he feels the power he’s not going to want to fight me the way he fights the rest of them.

“Once I beat Rodtang I want it all. “I want the belts in Muay Thai and kickboxing.”

 
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