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Honor, Not Money, Matters Most To Samy Sana

For most people, the chance to win US$1 million dollars would drive them more than anything, but that is not what motivates Samy “AK47” Sana at ONE: CENTURY PART II.

This Sunday, 13 October, the Frenchman can take home that sum if he defeats Giorgio “The Doctor” Petrosyan in the ONE Featherweight World Grand Prix Championship Final.

Of course, the 30-year-old will welcome the windfall, but he is more concerned about making history.

“It’s a very big tournament – the best for a decade,” he says. “It’s for the belt, for a million dollars – all that stuff. You can’t miss it, but, to be honest, I’m not focusing on the million dollars.

“I’m not focusing on that because I’m an athlete above all. I’m here to win, I’m here to be number one, I’m here to be the best kickboxer of all time.”

Sana’s goal is not farfetched. He was already a three-time Muay Thai and kickboxing World Champion before the World Grand Prix began, and his sensational defeats of “The Boxing Computer” Yodsanklai IWE Fairtex and Dzhabar “Ghengis Khan” Askerov have improved his record to 135-9-1.

A win against Petrosyan at the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan, would be the biggest of his career, and go a long way to cementing his place in history.

It would be easy to see why a match-up against the man considered to be the best, pound-for-pound, of all time would get “AK47” fired up to compete, but he insists he will approach it with the same intensity as any other.



“I train very hard for every fight. No matter where I box, whether it’s in a parking lot or on the highest world stage, I have the same determination,” says the Phenix Muay Thai and Venum Training Camp representative.

Though he would be content to lace his gloves and go to war anywhere, Sana is in the world’s largest martial arts organization, and he is set to compete on the biggest martial arts event of all time.

Those facts are not lost on him, and he appreciates that he is in a position unlike any he has experienced in his long career – now he can show his skills to millions of fans around the world, and get the recognition he believes his commitment and skills deserve. 

“With ONE Championship, we have worldwide visibility,” he adds.

“That’s made me grow more in the eyes of the world. Even before ONE, I was very well known in the [Muay Thai and kickboxing] circuit in Thailand, in Europe, and a little bit in the world, too, but it’s true that ONE Championship propelled me to the world stage.

“It’s great for the boxers, it’s great for me, it’s great for the audience, it’s great for everyone. We really enjoy boxing in this organization, and it gives us the motivation to be able to give very beautiful fights. Here, we have everything [we need] to make a very beautiful fight.”

His star has risen with each victory in The Home Of Martial Arts – particularly those in this groundbreaking tournament – and another will take it even higher.

Sana would be the first man to beat “The Doctor” in almost six years, the first ONE Super Series World Grand Prix Champion, and the first kickboxer to ever win a grand prize of this magnitude.

However, as talk turns to money once again, “AK47” is quick to remind the world about the sensational match-up that is due to take place as he aims to write his name in history.

“My primary motivation is to be the best, to beat the best, and show the world I am number one, but many people want to talk to me about the million dollars,” he says.

“I hear about this every day. I wish it hadn’t been publicized. People won’t talk to me about anything else. I get the impression people are forgetting about the boxing, forgetting my opponents, my victories, forgetting everything.

“Money has perverted people a bit. I just focus on winning. Whether there’s a million dollars or not, I’m going to have the same determination anyway. I don’t care about the money.

“Well, it’s not that the money is nothing; of course, it’s a huge amount. ONE Championship is the only organization that has offered a million-dollar prize for a kickboxing tournament. It’s the little cherry on the cake, but it’s not my priority.

“For me, it’s about the honor. That is my motivation to succeed.”

Read more: ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix – The Story So Far