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Breaking Down The ONE Heavyweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix Semifinalists

Sep 2, 2022
Ukrainian fighter Roman Kryklia punches Murat Aygun during the ONE Light Heavyweight Kickboxing World Championship match at ONE: FULL CIRCLE

Four of the best heavyweight strikers on the planet are preparing to lay everything on the line in the inaugural ONE Heavyweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix. 

The colossal knockout artists will face off in semifinal action on the main card of ONE 161: Petchmorakot vs. Tawanchai on Thursday, September 29 – and both matchups promise fireworks.

The tournament features three competitors who’ve already established themselves with big wins in ONE Championship, as well as a promotional newcomer who wants to prove he’s ready for the big guns. 

Here’s the full rundown of each fighter who will begin their chase for Grand Prix silverware at the Singapore Indoor Stadium later this month.

Roman Kryklia

Roman Kryklia is already one of the biggest striking stars in the organization and currently reigns as the dominant ONE Light Heavyweight Kickboxing World Champion.

The towering Ukrainian owns a 47-7 career record, is riding an 11-fight winning streak, and has overwhelmed three straight opponents in the ONE Championship Circle.

He’s known for his cerebral style and relentless work rate, which includes the highest volume of strikes thrown per minute in ONE’s all-striking bouts. 

Combining this with his long limbs and incredible technique, the 6-foot-7 star has looked untouchable so far, finishing the granite-chinned Murat Aygun and Tarik Khbabez, while being on the receiving end of very little.

All of this makes Kryklia the early front-runner for success when the tournament gets underway. However, he’ll face an extremely difficult semifinal test against the next man on our list. 

Guto Inocente

With two wins and two KOs since he signed with ONE, Guto Inocente has backed up all of his talk.

The Brazilian legend – who also owns a formidable MMA game – looked sensational when he stopped the surging Rade Opacic in his tracks this past June, which followed a one-sided dismantling of Bruno Susano.

Like Kryklia, Inocente isn’t a typical heavyweight slugger. He employs plenty of unorthodox techniques and lots of movement alongside his powerful punches. 

The man with a 40-10 kickboxing record utilizes all of the fundamentals, as well as spinning kicks, lots of stance switching, and dazzling speed.

Inocente’s unique style will make for an intriguing tussle when he takes on the Ukrainian superstar in the semifinals.

Iraj Azizpour

Iraj Azizpour is also 2-0 in ONE, defeating Anderson “Braddock” Silva via decision and then stopping Ismael Londt in his second appearance. 

With a 67-4 slate overall, the Iranian is built like a tank – and he fights like one, too.

He wades forward with heavy hooks and powerful overhands that can send any opponent to the canvas, and his incredible chin gives him the assurance that he can attack without fear.

However, Azizpour is not a pure rock-em, sock-em brawler. He has rapid high kicks that can whip up to an opponent’s head in an instant, even though he’s usually at a significant height disadvantage.

He was also the last man to defeat Kryklia – in a tournament back in 2018 – and although the Ukrainian avenged that loss, the two sluggers still have a score to settle.

But first, Azizpour will need to get past a dangerous promotional newcomer.

Bruno Chaves

Bruno Chaves enters ONE with an impressive 24-1 record. 

A lifelong martial artist, the Brazilian’s father fought in mixed martial arts, and Chaves followed in his footsteps – first with BJJ, and then with kickboxing and MMA. 

The hard-hitting veteran has also competed in Muay Thai and boxing, with 18-1 and 8-0 records, respectively, so he’ll bring a full and potent arsenal to the Circle.

The 30-year-old’s main weapons are his thudding hooks and uppercuts, which he throws in solid combinations. He also fires off heavy knees that he mixes into his combos with accuracy. 

At 6-foot-6, Chaves is the second-tallest man in the tournament, and that could pose some issues for 6-foot-2 Azizpour in their semifinal clash. 

ONE Heavyweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix Semifinal Matchups

Roman Kryklia (47-7) vs. Guto Inocente (40-10)

Iraj Azizpout (67-4) vs. Bruno Chaves (24-1)

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