Breakout Star Of 2023: Teen Phenom Johan Ghazali Rips Through Flyweight Division En Route To Six-Figure Contract
Johan “Jojo” Ghazali entered 2023 as a relatively unknown 16-year-old, but he leaves it as the name on everyone’s lips.
The Malaysian-American whiz kid, now 17 years old, exploded into the global fan base’s consciousness under the ONE Friday Fights banner. He soon earned a six-figure contract to ONE Championship and competed live in U.S. primetime – where he made an immediate impact.
With a perfect 5-0 slate and four knockout finishes this year under Muay Thai rules, Ghazali fended off some tough competition to become ONE’s breakout star of 2023.
“Jojo” started his 2023 campaign at ONE Friday Fights 6 in February where he faced fellow teen phenom Padetsuk Fairtex. Many expected a hard-fought battle between the two rising stars, but instead, the Rentap Muay Thai man finished his rival in just 16 seconds.
At ONE Friday Fights 18 in May, Ghazali faced Tai Sor Jor Piek Uthai and proved that he had the guts for the battle. After two hard-fought rounds, he still had the power to separate his rival from his senses with less than 90 seconds on the clock.
Now boasting back-to-back finishes, people were paying attention, and “Jojo” didn’t disappoint when he returned against Samurai Seeopal at ONE Friday Fights 25 in July. The pair had a back-and-forth war that tested the resilience of both men, but Ghazali’s power and shot selection saw him take the unanimous decision win.
He was back again in October at ONE Friday Fights 36, where he took on Russia’s Temirlan Bekmurzaev. A wince-inducing left hook to the body put his rival down for the count in round two, changing the teen prodigy’s life forever as he was awarded the coveted US$100,000 ONE Championship contract.
Unfazed by the step-up in competition, Ghazali promised to deliver on the hype with the eyes of the world watching at ONE Fight Night 17 on Prime Video.
Facing former ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Title challenger Edgar Tabares, Ghazali finished the Mexican in just 36 seconds, almost four minutes faster than reigning king Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon did at ONE Fight Night 10 on Prime Video.
Ghazali’s perfect year has seen him go from burgeoning prospect to bona fide contender, and at just 17, the sky is the limit for the ambitious young striker from Malaysia.