Hailing From ‘City Of Champions,’ Dmitry Menshikov Aims To Claim Gold At ONE Fight Night 11
Growing up in a remote region of Russia, Dmitry Menshikov didn’t have a lot of future prospects.
The 25-year-old’s options were either mining or sport, and his decision to pursue the latter has carried him to a ONE Lightweight Muay Thai World Title challenge of Regian Eersel in the main event of ONE Fight Night 11 on Prime Video this Friday, June 9.
It’s been a tough journey for Menshikov, but he never felt limited by his situation while growing up. Instead, he thinks the lack of other career paths is the reason he’s become so successful in combat sports.
His home city has already birthed some legendary martial arts competitors, and he credits that to the single-mindedness and determination of the region’s athletes.
“I was born in the city of Prokopyevsk, and I’m very proud of it. It’s a small provincial city where previously they mined a lot of coal. But we call it a city of fighters. People mainly do sport, and many fighters started there.
“There is nothing to do here but sport. We are always on the regimen – training in the morning, daytime sleep, training in the afternoon.
“We don’t go out anywhere. Don’t rest anywhere. Always training, hard work, and commitment.”
By leading simple lives and dedicating themselves to their craft, Prokopyevsk’s Muay Thai and kickboxing athletes have consistently stood out.
For his part, Menshikov believes they are simply built differently. And that’s why – despite a population under 200,000 and falling – the city is able to punch above its weight when it comes to combat.
The Russian said:
“Fighters here are harsh, with character. They have seen a lot, and that’s why they produce spectacular fights.
“We have a harsh winter, temperatures may go down to minus-40 degrees, but we don’t get cold because we warm up in the gym. We are kept warm by the workouts and the screams of our coach.”
Menshikov Wants To Make His Hometown Proud
Dmitry Menshikov hopes to etch his name into the history books alongside Prokopyevsk fighting greats such as Artem Levin, Artem Vakhitov, and Grigory Drozd – but it wasn’t always that way.
As a youngster, he loved playing soccer. And despite hearing about the local combat sports icons from his city, he was hesitant.
However, once he stepped through the doors of Empire Club gym, he knew he had found his calling:
“As a child, I always heard talks about Muay Thai and kickboxing and the well-known top fighters from our city. It was in all the talks, and I think that’s why I later joined it.
“Initially, I played football, but my father wanted me to do martial arts. We had a talk, and we decided I would start.
“I remember I didn’t want to do it that much. I wanted to continue playing football. But as soon as I entered the gym, I understood I belonged there at once, and I immediately gave up on football and dove into this.”
Menshikov was fortunate to start under the guidance of legendary coach Vitaly Viktorovich Miller, and from there, he had everything he needed to kick-start his journey to greatness.
The Russian slugger now boasts a dominant 11-fight winning streak, but dethroning Regian Eersel to claim the ONE Lightweight Muay Thai World Championship would be the biggest achievement of his career to date – and he knows it would fill Prokopyevsk with pride.
The World Title challenger added:
“After I entered the gym with my coach, Vitaly Viktorovich Miller, I had all opportunities to train, win, stick to a regimen, and do quality training, no problems whatsoever.
“The city of Prokopyevsk is the city of champions, and I want to prove to the world that I’m the best. This will be a huge victory for myself, for my family, and my city.”