Chinese knockout artist Tang Kai may have booked his ticket to a world title shot, but ONE featherweight world champion Thanh Le is still interested in the possibility of moving up to lightweight for Ok Rae Yoon's world title.
At ONE X, Tang Kai needed just a little over two minutes to finish former top contender Kim Jae Woong to wrest the top contender status from the South Korean warrior. Thanh Le believes that the China-based fighter's latest win proves that he’s ready and rightfully deserves a shot at his crown.
In an interview with ONE Championship, Thanh Le said:
"Yeah I think so… he fought the No 1 contender who had a guaranteed title shot and took full advantage of the opportunity with a decisive win. Looks like he’s next!"
He understands that his latest challenger could choose to take some time to recover no matter how short his latest bout was. However, Thanh Le doesn’t want to wait too long for his challenger to be ready, especially if an opportunity for Ok's ONE lightweight world title is on the table.
"I think the timing of everything depends on Tang and when he’ll be ready. I want a quick turnaround, so if he can’t fight soon, I’ll go to lightweight and battle it out with OK and fight him after. Either way, I want to fight soon," Thanh Le said.
Tang Kai has a rocket on his back
Tang Kai has run through the competition since arriving at ONE Championship in January 2019.
The Sunkin International Fight Club product has produced four knockouts in his six wins inside the circle. He has not lost since 2017 and currently owns a professional record of 14 wins against two losses with an 86% finishing rate - all by way of knockout.
Tang Kai’s latest victory at the promotion’s 10-year anniversary showcase may have been the biggest of his ONE Championship career so far. Not only did it propel him three spots up in the rankings to claim the top contender status, but it also made him USD 50,000 richer after he was awarded a performance bonus.
His meteoric rise may appear too fast, but he has taken every challenge put in front of him and came out on top. Now that the challenge is Thanh Le, could the 26-year-old pull off another win and prove that he’s the next big thing in ONE Championship?
We may soon find out.