Knowledge is power, and Alain “The Panther” Ngalani is more powerful than ever.
Last November, the athletic hulk participated in the first-ever Open Weight Super-Bout against Myanmar sporting icon and reigning two-division ONE World Champion, Aung La N Sang, in his opponent’s hometown of Yangon, Myanmar.
Ngalani, a four-time Muay Thai and kickboxing heavyweight champion, put forth a valiant effort, but ultimately fell to “The Burmese Python.” He seemed to be wearing down the local hero, but eventually succumbed to a guillotine choke late in the opening stanza.
Though he experienced defeat, the Hong Kong resident feels like he gained a tremendous amount of wisdom, and that has served to be invaluable.
“Before the bout, I was working on defending ankle locks and other things. I did not see that he was going to take me for the guillotine,” Ngalani reveals.
“I did not work on it, and now I have. It shows there is just so much to learn. I want to learn every day. It keeps me alive and motivated, and I love that. I love the whole thing. I learned from the match, and came out with more knowledge.”
As a dedicated martial artist, “The Panther” only truly battles against himself, trying to become an upgraded version every day. The cycle only stops when the desire to learn has diminished, and even after decades of competition, he is nowhere near satiated in his thirst for improvement.
Ngalani is not content at standing still in any respect when it comes to his career, and after feeling like he was dominating the bout up until the submission finish against Aung La N Sang, he believes he could be victorious if the pair met again. And, he believes they will.
With Aung La N Sang claiming the ONE Light Heavyweight World Championship in late February, the Hong Kong native has his eyes set on a rematch with “The Burmese Python,” and this time, he wants his newly-captured world title.
That means Ngalani is officially moving down a weight class.
“I am going to [drop to light-heavyweight]. I am very light for the heavyweight division. It will be easy for me to switch,” he says.
“I can see that Aung La N Sang [just challenged] for the title against [Alexandre] Machado, and I know that we will meet again very soon.”
First, however, Ngalani needs to prove himself at light heavyweight, and he will get that opportunity in just a few weeks. On Saturday, 24 March, in Bangkok, Thailand, he will meet Mongolia’s Ariunbold Tur-Ochir (4-1) at ONE: IRON WILL.
Tur-Ochir, 28, comes from an extensive combat sports background. He is a Kyokushin karate black belt, national champion in combat sambo, and an MGL-1 Light Heavyweight Champion.
Since he competed on the Mongolian regional scene, there is not too much video tape available for Ngalani to study. But that is just fine with “The Panther.” He is concentrating strictly on his own abilities, and sharpening his own skills.
“I never really focus on finding things on my opponent. I focus on myself,” Ngalani explains.
“Sometimes, my team checks and tries to find an angle to focus on. So far, they say they do not have much material to work with, so we will just stick to what we did previously. That is fine with me. I never underestimate an opponent regardless of what he has out there.”
Whatever it is the Mongolian brings to the table, Ngalani knows he can try and match it with his own striking acumen. After all, “The Panther” owns black belts in multiple striking disciplines, and is a four-time Muay Thai and kickboxing heavyweight champion with one-punch power.
Ngalani displayed that masterfully in his record-setting victory over Hideki Sekine last September, when he knocked out the Japanese competitor in 11 seconds to claim the fastest KO and stoppage victory in ONE Championship’s heavyweight history.
If Ngalani has his way, he will end this upcoming tilt against Tur-Ochir with one shot. But this time, it will be a different strike.
“The ‘Panther high kick’ to the head,” he chuckles. “That would be perfect.”