4 Epic Light Heavyweight Kickboxing Fights That Defined The Division

Roman Kryklia defeats Tarik Khbabez at ONE AGE OF DRAGONS DA 5729

ONE Super Series has been home to some of the most exciting all-striking affairs in kickboxing history, and one light heavyweight bout will soon be added to the epic catalog.

This Friday, 4 December, ONE Light Heavyweight Kickboxing World Champion Roman Kryklia will defend his belt against Murat “The Butcher” Aygun at ONE: BIG BANG in Singapore.

Before these men step into the spotlight, we revisit four famous clashes that defined the ONE Super Series light heavyweight kickboxing division.

#1 Tarik Khbabez Vs. Andrei Stoica

In March 2019, Tarik “The Tank” Khbabez and Andrei “Mister KO” Stoica met at ONE: REIGN OF VALOR, and what followed was one of the most exciting kickboxing clashes in ONE Super Series history.

During the opening round, Stoica used his reach effectively and absorbed most of what Khbabez threw at him. The Romanian even sent his off-balance rival tumbling to the canvas with a lunging uppercut.

But once Khbabez returned to his feet, he began to light up his opponent with ripping body shots and uppercuts.

Stoica, forced to focus only on his defense, faded as the bout went on. And although he remained on his feet until the final bell, Khbabez’s aggression earned him the nod from all three judges.

#2 Andrei Stoica Vs. Ibrahim El Bouni

A month after his loss to Khbabez, Stoica was given the chance to redeem himself against “Mr. Cool” Ibrahim El Bouni at ONE: ROOTS OF HONOR.

But El Bouni, who’d also lost to Khbabez, was looking for his own redemption, which made for an action-packed and tightly contested clash between aggressive light heavyweight strikers.

Ultimately, Stoica was able to gain the upper hand as he punished El Bouni from the outside with kicks and punches.

“Mr. Cool” refused to bow out gracefully and pelted his rival with long right hands, but Stoica was rarely troubled. After three rounds of action, “Mister KO” got his redemption with a unanimous decision win.

#3 Anderson Silva Vs. Beybulat Isaev

At ONE: IMMORTAL TRIUMPH in September 2019, Silva entered the Circle for the third time of his storied kickboxing career against WMC Muay Thai World Champion Beybulat Isaev.

Isaev started the bout well, using his head movement to avoid incoming attacks while landing a variety of offensive maneuvers up and down the body.

But once Silva found his range and rhythm, things quickly escalated. After hurting Isaev with a right hand, “Braddock” followed with two thunderous rights and an uppercut that sent his foe to the ground.

Isaev managed to pull himself off the canvas, but he had trouble stiffening his noodle-like legs, and the referee waved off the contest with under a minute left in the first round.

The convincing finish announced Silva as a real threat in the light heavyweight division.

#4 Roman Kryklia Vs. Tarik Khbabez

Debuting kickboxing sensation Kryklia took on Khabez for the inaugural ONE Light Heavyweight Kickboxing World Title at ONE: AGE OF DRAGONS in November 2019.

After Khbabez’s explosive performance against Stoica eight months earlier, many thought he would claim the World Title with ease.

However, it was clear from the onset that Kryklia would be a different kind of opponent. Although “The Tank” had done well against taller opponents in the past, he never found his range against the Ukrainian colossus.

First, Kryklia punished Khbabez from the outside with jabs, rights, and step-in knees.

The deciding moment then came in round two, as Kryklia stunned the Dutch-Moroccan powerhouse with a high kick and then floored him with an uppercut.

Although “The Tank” returned to his feet, the Ukrainian punished him further to force a standing eight-count. Finally, another flurry of attacks forced the referee to wave off the fight.

That powerful finish saw Kryklia earn the belt. Now, he’ll defend it against Aygun in the next chapter of the storied light heavyweight kickboxing division.

Read more: After Stunning Debut, Roman Kryklia Ready To Cement World Title Reign

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