Asia

Hunan, China’s Tang Kai is ONE Featherweight World Champion, dethrones Thanh Le in Singapore

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Tang Kai, 21, is ONE Championship’s new mixed martial arts champion in the featherweight division. He is fighting out of Shaoyang, Hunan, China.

As an MMA fighter, Tang has been competing professionally in 2016. He is training at Sunkin International Fight Club in Shandong, China, which is around 1,182km away from Hunan.

Formerly named Baoqing, Shaoyang is an important commercial and transportation city in Hunan and is one of the major forest areas in the province. The city is home to Shaoyang University, which was established in 1958.

The Sunkin International Fight Club is the second MMA fighter from China to become a ONE Championship champion. The first one is the reigning ONE Women’s Strawweight World Champion Xiong Jing Nan, 34, of Shandong.

Tang Kai (© ONE Championship)
Tang Kai (©ONE Championship)

In 2016, Tang won five of his six bouts in WBK. He had one loss in Kunlun Fight and one win in Rebel Fighting Championship in 2017 and two Rebel FC wins in 2018.

When Tang made his ONE Championship debut on January 25, 2019, he knocked out Sung Jong Lee of South Korea. The Chinese MMA fighter earned his second win in the Singapore-based martial arts organization when he defeated Edward Kelly of the Philippines on November 16, 2019.

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Amid the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Tang defeated Keanu Subba at “ONE: Reign of Dynasties 2” on October 9, 2020. In 2021, Tang knocked out Ryogo Takahashi of Japan at “ONE: Fists of Fury 2” and defeated Yoon Chang Min of South Korea via technical knockout at “ONE: NextGen 2”.

On March 26, 2022, Tang knocked out Jae Woong Kim, 29, of Goyang, South Korea at “ONE Championship: X” at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Central Region, Singapore. On August 26, 2022, Tang challenged then reigning ONE Featherweight World Champion Thanh Le, 36, of the United States and Vietnam at “ONE 160” at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

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Thanh and Tang co-headlined “ONE 160”. After five five-minute rounds, referee Oliver Coste raised the hand of the Chinese challenger, who was declared the winner via unanimous decision.

The victory improved Tang’s professional MMA record to 15 wins and 2 losses. On the other hand, Thanh now has 13 wins and 3 losses.

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