Rodtang Jitmuangnon never looked so frustrated in a fight until he met Walter Goncalves at ONE: Century Part II. The Muay Thai strikers collided on October 13, 2019, inside the Ryogoku Kokugikan stadium in Tokyo, Japan.
No less different than today, ‘The Iron Man’ was at the pinnacle of his career after convincingly taking out former ONE flyweight Muay Thai world champion Jonathan Haggerty by knockout two months before.
He single-handedly elevated the bar in terms of showmanship and skill until they were severely challenged by Brazilian debutant ‘Iron Hands’ Walter Goncalves.
The Brazilian youngster took center stage for the first time in his ONE career with prior Muay Thai fighting experience – an important asset to his game, as you’ll find out later.
He trained under legendary Lumpinee and Rajadamnern Stadium Muay Thai world champion Sagaphet and went on to win 70 Muay Thai fights before getting noticed by ONE Championship in 2019.
Used to the Thai way of fighting, Goncalves certainly showed an experience way beyond his years when he traded with Rodtang. Right from the onset, Goncalves’ striking combinations were finding their mark despite being pressured against the cage.
Rodtang would later pick up the slack with some intensity after being down one round. Both men traded strike-for-strike, throwing their hands with swinging knockout power.
Goncalves showed great awareness, dancing away from Rodtang’s right hand and countering strikes of his own, often frustrating the Thai champion.
In round four, Rodtang was clearly making mistakes. His leg kicks were often getting caught and countered, he missed a lot of power shots, which Goncalves evaded with perfection, and he was getting swept off his feet in the clinch.
Rodtang got so frustrated he couldn’t find an in, he often complained to the ref, accusing Goncalves of purposefully evading.
It was evident Goncalves was comfortable piecing him to bits from the outside, but Rodtang never stopped putting his foot on the gas. He landed great shots in the championship round to drop Goncalves, which was the deciding factor in a close-contested matchup.
Rodtang edged the win by split decision to retain his flyweight Muay Thai belt, but Goncalves walked away with a newfound reputation.
Before Rodtang’s next world title match is announced, rewatch ‘The Iron Man’ get tested like never before against Walter Goncalves below: