Giorgio “The Doctor” Petrosyan has one of the most distinctive and irrefutable nicknames in the world of martial arts.
The Armenian-Italian superstar – who will return to action against Samy “AK47” Sana at ONE: CENTURY Part II on 13 October – is renowned for his surgical precision and cerebral approach to picking his opponents apart.
His meticulous approach to combat has led him to an array of World Titles, and it has been crucial on his road to the ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix Championship Final in Tokyo, Japan.
Although Petrosyan is always improving, and he first climbed to the top of the kickboxing world a decade ago, he can trace the inception of his now-famous nickname back even further than that.
The man from Milan was still a teenager when he was christened with the moniker that reflects his approach in the ring so well.
“They call me ‘The Doctor’ because I’m very accurate with my strikes. I was given this moniker quite a few years ago, and it has stayed with me to this day,” he explains.
“I was given this nickname by a referee in 2004 when I fought against a French guy. I knocked him out in the first round with four low kicks. He saw photographs of the bout, and realized it was four different kicks, but it looked like the same kick.
“From that day on, I was nicknamed ‘The Surgeon’ because that looked like a single kick, while it was, in fact, four different kicks – same target, same stance, same technique. From ‘The Surgeon,’ it then turned into ‘The Doctor.’”
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Though it was Petrosyan’s low kicks that inspired the nickname, every other element of his striking repertoire is just as precise.
The 33-year-old is now recognized more for his stunning boxing arsenal, but all of his weapons seem to be just as sharp, and he never wastes a strike.
He will also never throw wild shots that veer wide of the mark. Instead, he carefully considers his placement before he unleashes the heavy artillery.
“Accuracy is crucial because you can’t just wing it in the ring,” he explains.
“There are some spots where you should strike your opponents – it can’t be random. So, if you are fast and accurate, then you do have a bit of an edge.”
Just like a medical doctor has to keep up to speed with the latest research and advancements to be effective, a martial arts physician must also move with the times.
However, even when the two-time K-1 World MAX Grand Prix Champion has overhauled his style, to adapt to new promotions, new rules, and new opponents, precision is always at the forefront of his game.
It is not easy to adapt and implement new changes at the elite level, but Petrosyan has done it seamlessly and without any outward sign of teething problems.
Furthermore, he has always maintained the ability to bring excitement whenever and wherever he competes.
“I always try and change my style so as not to give my opponents any hints. Then again, if you have good speed and counter-attacking skills, that’s one hell of a head start, because not all of your opponents have good timing,” offers “The Doctor.”
“I learned all these techniques when I started out in Muay Thai, and then when this big promotion came to life in Japan, I had to switch up my style because K-1 was kickboxing.
“We took a little bit of Muay Thai’s defensive techniques and kickboxing’s punching. We mixed all of that together for my style to be successful in the ring, and the fans seem to enjoy it.
“I’m good at counter-striking, that was my style after all. Still, my latest fights ushered in a more aggressive Giorgio, and this, as always, depends on the opponent I’m facing.”
The constant quest for improvement is a testament to Petrosyan’s studious nature and humility, despite unparalleled success. He is regarded as the best kickboxer of his generation, and it is precisely because he has never rested on his laurels.
He has always wanted sharper, more advanced instruments in his surgical toolkit, and that is what has kept him at the top.
“I keep working on my shortcomings and flaws day in, day out, and I’m always looking to keep improving and get better,” he concludes.
ONE: CENTURY is the biggest World Championship martial arts event in history with 28 World Champions featured across various martial arts. No organization in history has ever promoted two full-scale World Championship events on the same day.
The Home Of Martial Arts will break new ground as it brings multiple World Title bouts, a trio of World Grand Prix Championship Finals, and several World Champion versus World Champion matches to the famous Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan on 13 October.