ONE Championship is ready to unleash its first all-kickboxing showcase.
This Friday, 15 October, the world’s largest martial arts organization will broadcast ONE: FIRST STRIKE live from the Singapore Indoor Stadium, and the stakes couldn’t be higher for every fighter on the card.
Two elite athletes will throw down for World Title gold, eight contenders will vie for spots in the 2021 ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix semifinals, and two heavyweight strikers will attempt to become the front-runner for their division’s vacant crown.
But there’s even more on the line at this historic event. Here’s what every athlete will be fighting for in “The Lion City” this Friday.
Giorgio Petrosyan Vs. Superbon
In the main event, two men with bad blood will compete for the inaugural ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Title.
Giorgio “The Doctor” Petrosyan has long been considered the kickboxing GOAT. The 2019 ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix Champion owns a near-perfect 104-2-2 (2 NC) career record and has been flawless during his three-year run in ONE.
Superbon, a KLF Kickboxing Tournament Champion, has plenty of positive momentum and doesn’t want it to stop. He owns a 111-34 record and is riding a 10-fight winning streak, with his most recent victory coming over longtime rival Sitthichai “Killer Kid” Sitsongpeenong.
Naturally, Superbon will look to extend that streak, expose the Armenian-Italian icon, and claim the gold. Meanwhile, a fired-up Petrosyan would love to win the biggest prize in the sport and silence his Thai critic once and for all.
Marat Grigorian Vs. Andy Souwer
The co-main event will feature a highly anticipated quarterfinal matchup in the 2021 ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix. And the result could decide whether a superstar continues his meteoric rise or if a legend hangs up his gloves for good.
Though Petrosyan is considered the kickboxing GOAT, many pundits view Marat Grigorian as the best pound-for-pound striker on the planet.
Grigorian, a three-time Glory Kickboxing World Champion, is a knockout artist of the highest caliber, and he displayed that awesome power in his come-from-behind KO victory over Ivan Kondratev during his promotional debut last December.
Despite that highlight-reel finish, the 30-year-old wasn’t too thrilled with his performance – especially since he was knocked down during the bout – and he is motivated to produce a better showing in Singapore.
But his opponent, the iconic Andy “Souwer Power” Souwer, is fueled by something else. The Dutch legend is in the final stage of his career, and if he doesn’t win the Grand Prix, he plans to retire immediately.
While a spot in the semifinals is on the line, so is Souwer’s remaining time in the Circle.
Sitthichai Vs. Tayfun Ozcan
After months of anticipation, fans will finally witness the long-awaited battle between #4-ranked featherweight kickboxing contender Sitthichai “Killer Kid” Sitsongpeenong and #5-ranked Tayfun “Turbine” Ozcan.
Sitthichai, an eight-time Kickboxing and Muay Thai World Champion, had been considered one of the best pound-for-pound kickboxers in recent years, and though he suffered a narrow decision loss to Superbon in 2020, he can recapture those sentiments with an impressive performance in Singapore.
The Thai dynamo has openly expressed that he believes Ozcan has a “glass chin.” He plans to test it throughout their Grand Prix bout and move on to the semifinals with ease.
“Turbine” begs to differ, however.
The Dutch-Turkish athlete knows “Killer Kid” will present the toughest test of his 95-bout career, but he wants to use this quarterfinal clash as an opportunity to make a statement.
Above all, Ozcan hopes to prove that he belongs among the kickboxing elite, and he can certainly stake that claim with a victory over Sitthichai.
Samy Sana Vs. Chingiz Allazov
Sana shocked fans around the globe during his run in the 2019 ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix, as he upset legendary strikers “The Boxing Computer” Yodsanklai IWE Fairtex and Dzhabar Askerov to reach the very end. However, Petrosyan beat him in the final to claim the tournament’s silver belt and the US$1 million prize.
That result left a bad taste in Sana’s mouth, and the bitter French-Algerian has vowed to earn some redemption and go all the way in the 2021 edition.
Allazov didn’t compete in the tournament two years ago, but he is just as salty. The Azerbaijan native suffered just his fifth career loss – a narrow split decision – in his promotional debut this past April, so he’s eager to erase the memory of that defeat and catapult himself into the semifinals.
Enriko Kehl Vs. Davit Kiria
The first ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix quarterfinal of the evening may reveal the dark horse of the entire tournament, as Enriko “The Hurricane” Kehl goes toe-to-toe with Davit Kiria.
Kehl participated in the 2019 Grand Prix, but he was eliminated in the opening round. Since then, he’s built tremendous momentum, earning three victories, including one over Allazov.
Along the way, the German striker has developed a reputation as one of the most exciting kickboxers in the world’s largest martial arts organization, and he’ll do everything in his power to achieve better results in the 2021 tournament.
While Kiria didn’t compete in the 2019 Grand Prix, he is no stranger to the tournament format. And after falling to Petrosyan in his ONE debut, he is fueled to deliver a better showing.
Plus, nothing would make Kiria happier than winning the 2021 ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix, getting a crack at the division’s inaugural World Champion, and inspiring the next generation back home in Georgia.
Rade Opacic Vs. Patrick Schmid
Opening the show is a clash of titans that could decide the favorite for the vacant ONE Heavyweight Kickboxing World Title.
Rade Opacic is a young, powerful kickboxer who could truly be the next big heavyweight in the sport.
The 24-year-old Serbian began his ONE tenure with back-to-back knockout victories over accomplished veterans. Now, he wants to continue delivering on his immense potential, earn his third straight KO, and become the top dog in the division.
Patrick “Big Swiss” Schmid also wants to lead the heavyweight pack, and following his MMA loss to “Reug Reug” Oumar Kane, he is eager to redeem himself and display his true stand-up skills on the global stage.
Either a dominant run will continue or redemption will be gained in the curtain-raiser of Friday’s show.