‘Warrior Blood Is Definitely In Me’ – Johan Ghazali’s Incredible Family History Of Fighters

Johan Ghazali Temirlan Bekmurzaev ONE Friday Fights 36 17

Teenage prodigy Johan “Jojo” Ghazali comes from a long line of fighters, so it’s no surprise that he’s carrying on the family tradition in ONE Championship.

On June 7 in U.S. primetime, the Malaysian-American knockout artist will clash with Vietnamese star “No. 1” Nguyen Tran Duy Nhat at ONE 167: Stamp vs. Zamboanga on Prime Video in a flyweight Muay Thai tilt that promises fireworks.

Set to go down at Bangkok’s Impact Arena, that contest will be Ghazali’s chance to extend his pristine 5-0 record in ONE as he looks to continue his meteoric rise through the flyweight Muay Thai ranks.

At just 17 years old, “Jojo” might be the planet’s most dangerous teenager – a true once-in-a-generation talent. But given his family lineage, his journey to the top of the Muay Thai world only seems natural.

He spoke to onefc.com about his unique heritage:

“My dad’s pretty well-known in Malaysia. He was part of the old-school Muay Thai scene in Malaysia.

“My mom started training in America when she was 15. My mom was a housewife before we had the gym, but now with the gym, she’s a promoter [the gym hosts the Rentap Fighting Championship]. She organizes fights now, and she’s always really into it.

“She met my dad in a Muay Thai gym, actually. My dad was in America studying at that time. I guess they both went to the same Muay Thai gym, and that’s how it happened.”

Ghazali’s warrior bloodline runs deeper than his parents – much deeper.

One of his grandfathers was Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Mohd Ghazali bin Che Mat, a high-ranking general in the Malaysian defense forces and a decorated figure in the country.

“Jojo” said:

“My granddad on my dad’s side is a war hero, a true veteran. You can easily search him up on Google. He’s done tremendous things for the country during his service, and I think maybe that fight in me really came down from him.”

The fighter blood doesn’t stop there, either.

Two of the young phenom’s great-grandfathers were professional athletes – one a professional pugilist from the early twentieth century, and the other a hard-nosed American athlete.

“On my mom’s side, her grandfather from her dad’s side was a boxer, as well. He used to fight on the undercards of some of Jack Dempsey’s shows. His name was Erick Johnson Sr. He fought under the name Swede Johnson.

“And my other great-grandfather was an American football player, you know, who was a very tough guy. There were stories about him while he was playing football. He injured his neck, and he didn’t notice until only a month after or something like that. So warrior blood is definitely in me.”

Johan Ghazali: I Want To Continue Making My Family Name Proud’

Much more than just an interesting family history, Johan Ghazali’s bloodline inspires him to achieve greatness.

Each and every time he steps up to compete against the best of the best in ONE, he’s following the tradition laid out three generations before him.

As Ghazali describes it, success in the world of combat sports is his “destiny”:

“I think it’s just my destiny to keep on this run, like getting out the hard work through sports or something important to the world. You know, if they can do it, I believe I have to continue the tradition.”

Considering his prodigious talent and impressive accomplishments at such a young age, few could argue that “Jojo” is destined for anything less than greatness.

When he takes on Nguyen Tran Duy Nhat at ONE 167, he’ll have the opportunity to take another massive step forward toward that destiny.

And if things go according to plan on June 7, he could soon find himself on a blockbuster ONE fight card in the U.S., competing for the first time in front of his extended family.

He added:

“I want to continue making my family name proud, and I can get that done here, and maybe book a fight in the U.S. and continue flourishing there too in front of a new set of fans, and more importantly, my family, who have been wanting to watch me fight live for so long.”

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