‘Had To Push The Boundaries Of My Mental Strength’ – Liam Harrison On Journey Back From Devastating Knee Injury

Nong-O Gaiyanghadao drops Liam Harrison at ONE on Prime Video 1

Following the worst setback of his career almost two years ago, Liam “Hitman” Harrison is finally ready to return in U.S. primetime on Friday, June 7. 

The British legend has been on the sidelines since suffering a devastating knee injury against Nong-O Hama in August 2022, but he’s now counting down the days until his bantamweight Muay Thai matchup with Katsuki Kitano at ONE 167: Stamp vs. Zamboanga on Prime Video in Bangkok, Thailand.

Harrison tore his ACL, MCL, and meniscus in his ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Title loss to former king Nong-O, and coming just four months after his epic Fight of the Year victory over Muangthai PK Saenchai, the contrast was even more stark. 

“Hitman” recalled the roller-coaster situation to onefc.com

“This sport is the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows. I say this all the time. The fight before [the injury against Nong-O], I fought Muangthai. I knocked him out in the first round, it got voted Fight of the Year, five knockdowns in the space of 90 seconds. I got a $100,000 bonus from that fight.  

“Then the next fight I leave on a stretcher and get put in the back of an ambulance. So what can you do? You’ve got to suck it up and be able to come back strong. And that’s what I’m doing.” 

Although Harrison is known as a resilient fighter with a never-say-die attitude, he admits to struggling with being unable to compete in the sport he loves following surgery in January 2023. 

Though he’s beaming with confidence now, “Hitman” fell to one of his lowest ebbs as he wondered whether he’d ever fight again.  

The 38-year-old shared: 

“It was very hard mentally to come back from this, especially as an older athlete. I had to push the boundaries of my mental strength. Luckily, I had a great rehab team behind me and great support from my family and friends.” 

Liam Harrison Returning ‘Stronger Than I Was Before’

Shortly after sustaining the injury at ONE on Prime Video 1, Liam Harrison tried to get back to work. However, it was clear the effort was only undermining his recovery.  

Following surgery to repair his damaged knee, the three-time Muay Thai World Champion knew he couldn’t rush his body’s road back to full fitness, prompting him to follow the doctor’s orders and stay disciplined with the timeline for his rehabilitation. 

After briefly toying with retirement, Harrison quickly dialed back the clock by being patient and trusting the process:

“When I was injured and out for the injury, all I worked on was explosive movements and things like that. So I changed my training, changed up a lot, and I feel like I’ve come back stronger than I was before.” 

Now unhindered by his injury, Harrison has his pedal to the metal for his clash against slick Japanese striker Katsuki Kitano.

“Hitman” is grinding day in and day out with some of the UK’s best athletes at Bad Company in Leeds, and he feels like a new man after years of chronic pain during training sessions.

Believing a happy fighter is a dangerous fighter, Harrison added: 

“Now I’m back to training like I was before. Getting lots of hard, hard sparring rounds in because, obviously while I’ve been out with injury, that’s what I missed. So I’m getting all that locked in now. I’m sparring with some real heavy hitters, some real sharp guys, and I’m just enjoying it. 

“I was in pain all the time. The main thing is now I’m not. And I’m enjoying it again. So it’s gonna be good to be back.” 

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