Could There Be A Chinese Clean Sweep At ONE: NEXTGEN II?
There are three elite Chinese athletes on the bill at ONE: NEXTGEN II, but what are the odds of a clean sweep for the world’s most populous nation?
Competing in mixed martial arts, kickboxing, and Muay Thai, all three of the country’s representatives face tough opposition at the event, which airs from the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Friday, 12 November.
Take a look at what each warrior brings to the Circle and what their skills tell us about their chances of success.
Surging Mixed Martial Arts Star Tang Kai
Tang Kai faces “The Big Heart” Yoon Chang Min in a featherweight mixed martial arts battle that could impact the divisional rankings.
The Chinese striker took out Ryogo “Kaitai” Takahashi with a first-round knockout in his last outing, and he’s hoping one more victory will put him among the elite of the top five.
Tang has knocked out 10 of his opponents in his 12 career wins, and he plans to add number 11 to that list in Friday’s co-main event.
The only blemish on the South Korean’s record came at the hands of Takahashi – the man Tang finished in under two minutes – so the Sunkin International Fight Club man is confident he can outstrike his rival.
Yoon believes the 25-year-old Chinese star’s claims are bordering on arrogance, and the Team Stung product has the skills to come good on his promise to teach his foe a lesson. But Tang’s track record backs up his bold assertions.
If he can stay out of “The Big Heart’s” clutches, he has a good chance of using his speed and sharp striking to register another victory and possibly insert himself into the rankings.
Striking Veteran Zhang Chunyu
With his 60-bout professional resume dwarfing his rival’s 7-0 slate, “Bamboo Sword” Zhang Chunyu has a massive experience advantage going into his ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix alternate bout against Dovydas “Rimkenzo” Rimkus.
The Shenzhen native has performed on the global stage before. He has also faced some of the greatest strikers of his generation, so his composure will not falter when he steps into the Circle for this three-round battle.
While Rimkus is certainly a future superstar thanks to his persona and exciting fighting style, Zhang will undoubtedly feel like he is a step ahead of the Lithuanian on their respective journeys.
“Bamboo Sword” has powerful hands and an aggressive style at a level that his rival has yet to encounter. He could use this to overwhelm the Kaunas native early on, and he also has the veteran savvy to stay the course should the match extend into the later rounds.
Zhang’s ring time against the likes of Superbon, Sagetdao “Deadly Star” Petpayathai, and Andy “Souwer Power” Souwer means that he will be comfortable in pushing forward for the victory – despite “Rimkenzo” being a dangerous threat.
Muay Thai Slugger Han Zi Hao
Han Zi Hao is the joint-leading knockout artist in ONE Super Series, so any time he competes, the bout has the potential to end early – and with drama.
The Zhengzhou resident faces Victor “Leo” Pinto in a Muay Thai clash, and not only does he have a power advantage, but he also has the form coming into their bantamweight tilt.
Han has back-to-back wins in ONE Super Series, while Pinto is still on the hunt for his first victory, and this will allow the Mad Muay Thai Gym and Shunyuan Fight Club representative to press forward with conviction.
However, “Leo” is a crafty and durable opponent who will not be fazed by the occasion – especially since he defeated Han by decision when they met back in 2016.
But five years is a long time and Han has pushed himself to the top of the sport since their first encounter.
As well as his momentum, the Chinese standout will have redemption as an extra motivating factor, and he’ll fancy his chances at leveling the score with his old foe at ONE: NEXTGEN II.
Read more: 5 Fast Facts About ONE: NEXTGEN II Kickboxer Zhang Chunyu