Ranking the Muay Thai and kickboxing finishes from the first half of 2022 was no easy feat. After all, the star strikers of ONE Super Series produced a nonstop highlight reel of knockouts over the past six months.
However, after combing through the video, we ultimately narrowed the list down to five.
From one-punch, walk-off KOs to dizzying flurries that led to TKOs, these thrilling finishes dropped jaws from January through June.
#5 Kryklia Batters Aygun To Retain World Title
Big men pack big power. That is certainly true of ONE Light Heavyweight Kickboxing World Champion Roman Kryklia, who’s finished two of his three ONE World Title fights inside the distance.
In the first round, Kryklia scored an eight-count on Aygun after catching him with a right hand. “The Butcher” rose to his feet and answered the count, but after the referee called for action, the challenger was visibly shaken.
As Aygun’s hands hung down to his sides, the reigning titleholder hit him with a right body kick and then followed up with a three-punch combination to earn the walk-off finish.
#4 Tawanchai Tops Saemapetch In Fast-Paced Thriller
When two elite strikers from Thailand’s Muay Thai circuit battle for bragging rights, expect the intensity to ramp up rather quickly.
The two men fought as if their three-rounder was only scheduled for three minutes, with Saemapetch sending scorching one-twos at Tawanchai and the latter teasing with high kicks.
But things grew more serious when Tawanchai backed Saemapetch into the Circle Wall, knocked him sideways with a left high kick, and met a rightward traveling head with a right hook.
The Fairtex man fell, answered the eight-count, adjusted his Muay Thai shorts, and then marched back into the fray. But so did Tawanchai, who hit Saemapetch with multiple punches and kicks before sending a zinger of a right hand down the middle to finish the seasoned striker.
#3 Harrison Survives Two Knockdowns For Epic Comeback Against Muangthai
What happens when you’re on the verge of being TKO’d by one of Thailand’s most dangerous elbow strikers?
Harrison had just been knocked down twice in the first round, and it appeared Muangthai would earn another knockdown and a breezy TKO win.
But in a turn of events that even Hollywood might consider far-fetched, “Hitman” bit down on his mouthpiece and showed why you never give up.
The British legend dropped Muangthai with a left hook after a furious combination to score his first eight-count. Then, another left hook sent the Thai wobbling to the canvas yet again.
Muangthai returned to his feet, but in a moment of sheer will, Harrison clobbered his foe with a final sequence of punches to score the first-round TKO – and a deserved US$100,000 performance bonus.
#2 Sinsamut Klinmee Upsets Nieky Holzken At ONE X
That night in Singapore, the Thai competed in ONE Championship for the first time with the odds heavily stacked against him.
For starters, he was appearing on a historic card in his promotional debut. And second, he was facing kickboxing legend Nieky “The Natural” Holzken under Muay Thai rules.
During the first round and a half, the battle looked surprisingly even, as both men volleyed head and body punches at one another.
Then, with just over a minute remaining in the second frame, Holzken threw a left hook, but Sinsamut beat him to the mark with one of his own. The punch whipped “The Natural’s” head sideways, and down he went.
With the stunning upset, the 26-year-old striker announced himself as a serious player in the world’s largest martial arts organization.
#1 Stoforidis And Isaev Both Go Down, But Only One Stands Back Up
There’s nothing that excites striking fans more than a double-knockdown. Which fighter will rise first? Who will stay down?
These questions immediately came to mind when promotional newcomer Giannis “Hercules” Stoforidis and opponent Beybulat Isaev connected with left hooks at the same time at ONE: HEAVY HITTERS on 14 January.
The chaos unfolded in the first round of their light heavyweight kickboxing tilt, and in a flash, both athletes found themselves falling backward toward the canvas. But the telling signs of who would stand up first came as they toppled down.
As Isaev dropped, his head and shoulders curled forward into his torso. He then rolled backward, with his arms flying outward as he hit the canvas hard.
On the other hand, Stoforidis stumbled backward but recovered as he dropped, landing on both his hands and bottom. And when he hopped back up to continue, the referee was already standing over Isaev, waving off the bout.