Janet Todd Breaks Down The Top Five Atomweight Kickboxing Contenders
Janet Todd currently sits atop the ONE atomweight kickboxing division. Her road to the world title has been anything but easy; the 34 year old’s first title shot saw her lose to Stamp Fairtex for the ONE atomweight Muay Thai title at ONE: Call To Greatness. But ‘JT’ bounced straight back and won her next three fights to earn a shot at redemption.
Todd got her rematch with Stamp for the ONE atomweight kickboxing title earlier this year at ONE: King Of The Jungle, and earned a hard fought split decision victory to win the belt.
Sitting at number one is the ONE atomweight Muay Thai champion Stamp Fairtex, who also sits in the top five of the ONE atomweight MMA rankings. The two currently stand at 1-1 in their head-to-head in the ONE Super Series. And while Todd is open to a third fight, she would prefer the trilogy bout to be for her rival’s Muay Thai title.
“Obviously, Stamp is a strong contender, and the last fight between us was very close, so I don’t disagree with the ranking at all. Her strengths are her explosiveness with her counters and right hand. This time, she adapted and got me with leg kicks.
“There’s always a little bit of an adaption on both sides, so it’ll be interesting to see a third match, and hopefully, that’ll be in Muay Thai since I’m the top contender for her belt in Muay Thai. It’ll be interesting to see that, at least for me, and I hope for everybody else too because we had an entertaining fight in Muay Thai that the fans loved.
“There will always be a really good fight between the two of us. The Muay Thai and kickboxing fights were entertaining in their own ways. I’d like to see another fight happen because, at least for me, she brings out the best in me, and I hope I do the same for her.”
In the number two spot is Alma Juniku. The Australian phenom made her ONE debut at ONE: Legendary Quest, losing via unanimous decision to Stamp whilst challenging for the ONE atomweight Muay Thai title. The 19 year old most recently lost to Anne Line Hogstad at ONE: Fire And Fury.
“I would love to fight Alma too. The atomweight division has a really strong group of young, talented fighters. She has an aggressive, pressure-fighting style and very good technique. It would be a very good fight.
“In her fight with Stamp, she had insane cardio. She was able to continue to pressure her even as the match went into the fifth round. She was applying constant pressure. She is very young, and she has so much time ahead of her to continue to refine her skills. With a younger body, you’re able to recover faster and build a lot quicker.
“I remember back in my twenties – although my twenties were probably a lot different than Alma’s and Stamp’s – I was in college, and it was more about studying hard and partying hard. It’s amazing to see the discipline that those young women have at such a young age.”
Kai Ting Chuang
Sitting in third spot is Kai Ting Chuang. ‘Killer Bee’ won the inaugural ONE atomweight kickboxing title before losing her belt to Stamp. The 25 year old is coming off a loss to Todd at the end of 2019 at ONE: Masters Of Destiny.
“We fought for me to get the contender’s spot to fight Stamp. She used to have the kickboxing belt before Stamp took it from her. Chuang is very fast. I remember watching video of her to prepare for our fight and thinking, ‘Oh, yeah, she’s fast.’ But when I was in the ring with her, it was like, ‘Whoa, she is a lot faster than those videos!’ That’s what she’s got going for her – the explosiveness and quickness of her hands.”
Anne Line Hogstad
In the number four spot is Anne Line Hogstad. In her ONE debut, she made quite an impression by beating Junika at ONE: Fire And Fury. ‘Ninja Line’ is a two-time ISKA Muay Thai World Champion.
“I don’t know her as well. I saw her fight against Alma, and I thought she was able to work in her elbows with her hands very well. She’s kind of like Alma where she’s an in-the-pocket type of fighter. But I like to challenge myself against all kinds of fighters, and that would be another fight that I would like to have as well. You’ve got to test yourself against everybody. Everybody has slightly different styles, so sometimes, it’s the style matchup that will change the way a fight would go.”
At number five is Ekaterina Vandaryeva. Although she lost her ONE debut to Todd at ONE: Century via head kick knockout, ‘Barbie’ holds a win over former UFC strawweight champion, Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
“I had a chance to fight her last year in October, and man, she’s got some long limbs. She has long arms and long legs. She’s fought some really high-profile people and has a win over Joanna Jedrzejczyk (a multiple-time MMA, kickboxing and Muay Thai world champion). If she uses her length to her advantage, it would be very difficult to come in.”
Who would you like to see Janet Todd face next?