4 Takeaways From The Historic ONE Fight Night 17: Kryklia Vs. Roberts

Johan Ghazali Edgar Tabares ONE Fight Night 17 13

History was made on December 8 at ONE Fight Night 17 on Prime Video, as ONE Championship staged its first all-Muay Thai card.

The result was a truly spectacular evening of action, as the athletes produced fireworks, and the inaugural ONE Heavyweight Muay Thai World Champion was crowned in the main event.

After a remarkable event at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, here are four key takeaways from the all-striking showcase.

Muay Thai Delivers In The Spotlight

2023 has been a standout year for Muay Thai. The most extraordinary roster of striking talent has shined brightly on the global stage time and again, elevating the sport to new heights.

That upward trajectory continued on Friday, as seven of the eight contests ended via knockout, while the lone decision left jaws on the floor as a Fight of the Year candidate.

ONE Fight Night 17 showed that Muay Thai in small 4-ounce gloves might be the most thrilling martial arts spectacle on the planet. Anything can happen at a moment’s notice with pristine technique and unmitigated aggression, and fans wait with bated breath for the next exhilarating moment.

This time, the drama came in U.S. primetime, as rising names and established superstars alike delivered barnburners and show-stopping finishes throughout the evening.

“The art of eight limbs” has enjoyed unprecedented growth over the past 12 months – and it’s showing no signs of slowing down.

Kryklia Continues To Build Legendary Resume

Roman Kryklia added 26 pounds of gold to his collection with a second-round KO of Alex Roberts.

Already owning the ONE Light Heavyweight Kickboxing World Title and the 2022 ONE Heavyweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix silver belt, the Ukrainian superstar is now a two-sport, two-weight king.

The 32-year-old secured his historic victory with a crisp left hook early in the second frame after dominating for much of the contest.

At this point, the Golden Belts representative is proving to be not only one of the premier strikers in the higher weight classifications, but also one of the best pound-for-pound competitors in the world.

With a 50-7 career record, a perfect run in ONE, and a growing list of prestigious accolades, Kryklia is becoming a kickboxing icon while making his case as a modern-day GOAT.

“Smokin” Jo Keeps Himself In World Title Conversation

In October, “Smokin” Jo Nattawut stepped up on short notice and lost a closely contested kickboxing match to Thai megastar Tawanchai PK Saenchai. On Friday, the Thai fan favorite returned to his preferred art form of Muay Thai and had a full camp to prepare for American phenom Luke Lessei.

But Lessei was equally prepared for a slugfest. For nine minutes, the two warriors fought tooth and nail inside the ring, with roars from the crowd echoing off the hallowed walls of Lumpinee Boxing Stadium.

The Iowa native came on strong in the final round, but he was unable to finish the job. Instead, Nattawut’s durability shined through with a unanimous decision win, proving his mettle is still among the elite as he searches for a World Title opportunity in the new year.

The #4-ranked featherweight Muay Thai contender successfully defended his position, giving him a vested interest when Tawanchai defends the divisional gold against Superbon Singha Mawynn at ONE Friday Fights 46 on December 22,

Ghazali Could Be The Future Of Muay Thai

After a thrilling 4-0 run in the ONE Friday Fights event series, Johan Ghazali got his chance to show a U.S. primetime audience why he might be the future face of global Muay Thai.

“Jojo’s” flawless 36-second knockout of Edgar Tabares only furthered that case. The 17-year-old pressured his Brazilian foe into the corner and unleashed a punishing left hook to the liver.

The swift and decisive victory highlighted why Ghazali’s hype has been well-deserved and is merely the beginning of a long career under the spotlight.

In his post-match interview, the Malaysian-American prodigy said he hopes to compete in the United States next year. Following a pristine 2023 that put him on the map, 2024 could be the year when he becomes a global superstar.

More in Features

Jozef_Chen hero 1200x1165
Ok Rae Yoon Lowen Tynanes ONE Fight Night 10 66
Rodtang Jitmuangnon Denis Puric ONE 167 142
Rodtang Jitmuangnon
Tawanchai PK Saenchai Jo Nattawut ONE 167 78
Tawanchai vs. Nattawut II faceoff
Rodtang Jitmuangnon Edgar Tabares ONE Fight Night 10 36
Johan Ghazali Edgar Tabares ONE Fight Night 17 21
Superlek Kiatmoo9 Rodtang Jitmuangnon ONE Friday Fights 34 80
Tawanchai PK Saenchai Superbon Singha Mawynn ONE Friday Fights 46 48
Tawanchai PK Saenchai Jo Nattawut
Marat Grigorian Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong ONE 165 31