The ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix quarterfinals are in the books, and four World Champion strikers are ready to take the next step toward the sport’s biggest ever prize at ONE: DREAMS OF GOLD.
Every match-up in the bracket so far has lived up to the hype, and showed that anything can happen when elite-level athletes square off in a tournament format.
Favorites crashed out, new frontrunners emerged, and each participant showed a lot of potentially match-winning skills, which has created even more intrigue around the semifinal bouts.
As Giorgio “The Doctor” Petrosyan, “Smokin” Jo Nattawut, Samy “AK47” Sana, and Dzhabar “Genghis Khan” Askerov prepare to battle at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand on 16 August, and take aim at the US$1 million grand prize, check out five questions that will deliver answers about the shape of the bracket to come.
#1 Will Petrosyan Repeat His Debut ONE Performance?
Petrosyan completely outclassed Nattawut in his ONE Super Series debut in April last year, and he will be confident he can repeat the feat.
“The Doctor” made the always-aggressive Thai backup throughout, and answered almost every one of his best shots with brilliant counterpunching that was fast and powerful.
If the Italian can perform like that when they meet again, he should have no trouble making his way into the final. The blueprint is there – now he just has to follow it in Bangkok.
#2 Can Nattawut Make His Power Count?
Smokin' Jo Nattawut turns up the and finishes Sasha Moisa with a third-round TKO, moving on to the ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix semifinals!Watch the full event on the ONE Super App http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast
Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, May 17, 2019
Nattawut will stand across from Petrosyan with the same intention he has in every contest – to score an emphatic finish.
Despite his history with his rival, he will be confident in his ability to overcome the obstacles he faced in their first meeting and get the stoppage after another sensational third-round TKO victory over Sasha Moisa last time out.
The Thai star’s stopping ability has been proven with his wins over Moisa and Yohann Fairtex Drai in The Home Of Martial Arts, and even though he did not stop George Mann, his punches still caused considerable damage.
If “Smokin Jo” can somehow find his rival’s chin on 16 August, it will be tested to its limit.
#3 Will Sana’s Range Be His Route To Success?
Sana’s dominant win over “The Boxing Computer” Yodsanklai IWE Fairtex shocked fans around the world, but it was no surprise to the rangy Frenchman, who came in with a game plan and executed it to perfection.
He used a potent array of strikes in every range. Most notably, his massive reach was a huge factor in the unanimous decision verdict that went in his favor.
Sana’s straight right crunched into “The Boxing Computer’s” jaw time after time, and he can whip his roundhouse kick high to the head with no trouble. He can also pierce the tightest of guards with his far-reaching front kick through the middle.
He has a 12-centimeter height advantage over Nattawut and Petrosyan, and is 20 centimeters taller than his semifinal rival Askerov, so if he can continue to use it well, his towering frame will be an asset against any opponent en route to the tournament gold.
#4 Can Askerov Get Past The Reach?
Dzhabar Askerov puts on a striking masterclass against Enriko Kehl to win by unanimous decision and advance to the ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix semifinals!Watch the full event on the ONE Super App http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast
Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, May 17, 2019
The shortest of the tournament’s competitors will go up against the tallest, and he will have to learn from Yodsanklai’s mistakes.
The Thai legend did land on Sana, but he often paid a heavy price when he closed the distance and left empty-handed. He has to make the Frenchman miss, or ensure he lands significant offense – possibly high-volume combinations – when he comes forward.
One thing that the Muay Thai style of Yodsanklai did not offer was the range of unorthodox techniques. Spinning strikes like “Genghis Khan’s” ‘rolling thunder’ make him hard to predict, which could give him a route around “AK47’s” defenses at ONE: DREAMS OF GOLD.
#5 Who Is The Favorite Now?
The ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix semifinals are SET! Giorgio Petrosyan vs. Smokin' Jo Nattawut Samy Sana vs. Dzhabar Askerov : Check local listings for global TV broadcast
Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, July 12, 2019
Yodsanklai and Petrosyan were the frontrunners before things got underway in Singapore, but one of those men is out of the running, and the other’s aura of invincibility has been tempered.
The quarterfinals proved that at the elite level of martial arts, any athlete has the skill win on his best day, and each of the remaining competitors has what it takes to beat anyone when they are firing on all cylinders.
“The Doctor” still has a strong claim to be the best pound-for-pound kickboxer in the world after he adapted to the challenge of Petchmorakot and came out with his hand raised. He also has already beaten his semifinal opponent.
However, Nattawut has looked better in every match since then. He also defeated Sana via decision earlier this year, and he was the only competitor to win via KO in the first round.
16 AUGUST. BANGKOK. Petchdam Gaiyanghadao – defends his ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Title against Dutch destroyer Ilias Ennahachi! Stamp Fairtex begins her quest for a mixed martial arts World Title against undefeated phenom Asha Roka! Giorgio Petrosyan vs. Smokin' Jo Nattawut and Samy Sana vs. Dzhabar Askerov in the ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix semifinals!: Bangkok | 16 August | 7PM | ONE: DREAMS OF GOLD: Get your tickets at http://bit.ly/onegold19: Check local listings for global TV broadcast: Watch on the ONE Super App http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp : Prelims LIVE on Facebook | Prelims + 2 Main-Card bouts LIVE on Twitter
Posted by ONE Championship on Wednesday, July 17, 2019
On the other hand, Sana dropped Yodsanklai, handed him his first defeat in eight years, and showcased his ability in every range, so it is not easy to suggest he does not have the tools to defeat anyone.
Askerov may be a wild card, but like his fellow semifinalists, he is a multiple-time World Champion, and he looked explosive and unpredictable in May.
Only one man can take the World Grand Prix crown, and there are plenty of reasons to motivate them toward the gold – respect, glory, and one million American dollars.