Chinese sensation Tang ready to defend title in rematch with Thanh

Chinese sensation Tang ready to defend title in rematch with Thanh

Mahmoud Elmazaty, The Peninsula

Tang Kai, the undefeated featherweight MMA world champion and the first Chinese athlete to clinch a title in the ONE Championship, is set to defend his unbeaten record against Thanh Le in a highly anticipated rematch tomorrow at the Lusail Sports Arena.

Speaking exclusively with The Peninsula, Tang shared insights into his MMA journey, his aspirations, and his upcoming bout.

At 28, Tang, who previously dethroned Thanh Le in 2022, is looking to extend his flawless record in the ONE Championship to 8-0.

He expressed excitement about competing in Qatar, a nation celebrated for its hosting of significant sports events.

“I am happy to be here and show my talent to the MENA fans,” Tang remarked, acknowledging Qatar’s prestigious status in the sports world.

Tang’s venture into MMA began during his university years when he opted to switch from wrestling to pursue a career in mixed martial arts.

“This decision was fuelled by my growing passion for the sport after watching several MMA fights,” he said.

“I didn’t see myself as a world champion initially, but through hardwork and dedication, I realised my potential to reach the top,” Tang reflected on his early career aspirations.

Since turning professional in 2016, Tang Kai has compiled an impressive record of 10–2, predominantly competing in China before joining the ONE Championship.

His debut in the ONE Championship in January 2019 marked the beginning of a victorious streak, leading him to challenge and defeat the former world champion Thanh for the featherweight title in August 2022.

The rematch with Le, initially delayed due to Tang’s injury, is now set for ONE 166 in Qatar.

“I am totally recovered and feel fit to finish this fight with a KO this time,” Tang confidently stated, indicating his readiness for the upcoming challenge.

Training in Thailand with his coach Liu and their supportive team, Tang Kai’s regimen is a testament to his discipline and commitment.

Tang signs autographs for his fans.

His coach shared, “We are all family; we train, eat, and live together, supporting each other in every way.”

“Tang’s meticulous attention to his diet, workout, and healthy habits is evident in his physical condition and performance,” Liu added.

Tang Kai’s success has not only elevated his status but also inspired many in China to pursue MMA.

His influence has significantly contributed to the sport’s growing popularity in his home country.

Tang encourages young enthusiasts, “Follow your dreams, have faith in yourself, remove all distractions, and stay focused on your goals.”

As the fight night approaches, Tang Kai invites fans to witness what promises to be an electrifying performance.

His journey from a wrestling hopeful to an MMA world champion underscores the power of perseverance and the pursuit of excellence in the competitive world of mixed martial arts.

Fans can purchase tickets for ONE 166: Qatar at Virgin Megastore or Q-Ticket.