Thanh Le is deep into preparation for his fight against Garry ‘The Lion Killer’ Tonon at ONE: Lights Out on March 11.
However, the ONE featherweight champion will also be keeping an eye on the battle between top-ranked contender Kim Jae Woong and No.4-ranked Tang Kai. That clash is set to go down this Friday, January 28, at ONE: Only the Brave.
Thanh Le views these two stars as potential challengers to his throne in the future. In fact, he has already begun taking notes on their respective strengths.
“At Only the Brave, we have Tang Kai versus Kim Jae Woong. Interesting, interesting fight for the division. Two high-level guys, great strikers. I’m interested to watch it. You guys need to tune in. It’s going to be fireworks.”
Assessing Kim, he said:
“We’ve got Kim Jae Woong, who’s a little more sturdy, a little more based, plots forward, always ready to fire the power shots. [He’s] got a good right hand, obviously – we’ve seen that in his last fight versus Martin [Nguyen].”
Moving on to Tang, Le continued:
“And then we have Tang Kai, who’s got a lot of movement, some glimpses of taekwondo feet in there, which I like a little bit. [He] picks his moments really well. So, it’s going to be a really, really good fight. I think it’s going to be a high-level striking match.”
Thanh Le couldn’t pick a clear winner between the two featherweight warriors. However, he did break down a couple of scenarios where either man could snatch the crucial victory.
“Predictions. I think if Kim takes it, it’s going to be later in the rounds. I think he’s going to work some intercepts and try to go at the same time as Tang. And I think if Tang wins, it’s going to be early. I like his in-and-out movement. He picks his moments really well. It’s going to be a hard-fought battle and I’m really excited to watch.”
Thanh Le: “If I can put Garry away, I’m ready to put you guys away next”
The featherweight king will defend his ONE gold for the first time against Tonon, who may be the trickiest opponent he’s faced inside the Circle to date.
That said, the 36-year-old champion is confident that he’ll successfully dispatch the grappling wizard. He’s even ready for the other challengers that the promotion will eventually line up for him – including Kim and Tang.
“I’ve obviously got my hands full preparing for Garry [Tonon]. And if and when I get past Garry, one of these guys might be next in line and I’m excited for the challenge.”
Thanh Le then sent a message directly to the featherweight competitors competing this Friday.
“You guys are two of the top guys in the division. You’ve beaten some really good guys and I’m excited to welcome you in the number one spot. If I can put Garry away, I’m ready to put you guys away next.”
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Tune in to ONE: Only the Brave this Friday to see which featherweight contender moves closer to a shot at Le’s gold.