‘I’ll Finish It In The Second Round’ – Kwon Won Il Expects Another KO In Pivotal Showdown With Artem Belakh
“Pretty Boy” Kwon Won Il is planning for business as usual when he returns to the global stage of ONE Championship this Friday, June 9.
The South Korean slugger will take on Artem Belakh in a key bantamweight MMA clash at ONE Fight Night 11: Eersel vs. Menshikov on Prime Video, and as one of the most exciting knockout artists on the roster, he’s aiming to deliver another trademark finish at the famous Lumpinee Boxing Stadium.
Belakh proved he belongs at the top level when he dominated former ONE Bantamweight World Title challenger Leandro Issa last October, so Kwon knows he has a tough test ahead.
However, the hard-hitting “Pretty Boy” thinks he’ll be a step ahead of his Russian rival when they meet in Bangkok, Thailand.
“Artem seems like a good guy. He’s too nice to provoke. In my opinion, his main strength is his physical power. However, he lacks speed, and I possess a greater range of skills.
“To excel in my strengths, I focused on improving my striking skills. Since my opponent is strong and good at wrestling, I also trained to defend against wrestling techniques.”
Belakh’s debut victory earned him the #5 spot in the bantamweight MMA rankings, but #4-ranked Kwon has won four of his last five and is gunning for the top dogs.
His only defeat in that span came to now-ONE Bantamweight World Champion Fabricio Andrade, and “Pretty Boy” thinks another spectacular KO would be enough to earn a rematch with the reigning king.
With that in mind, Kwon is determined to end Belakh’s night early – and walk away with some extra cash, too:
“In ONE Championship, all my wins have been finishes. Of course, there will be a finish this time, and this time, I will work harder to get a performance bonus.
“Just watch the fight. I’ll finish it in the second round. Then a Fabricio Andrade rematch will be next.”
Kwon Relishing New Role As Head Of Seoul-Based MMA Gym
It’s been a chaotic few months for Kwon Won Il.
The South Korean star hasn’t just been deep in preparation for his next battle in ONE Championship – he’s also been setting up his own gym, P-BOY MMA.
Back in December, “Pretty Boy” announced that his training center was on the way. The construction is now finished, and Kwon is enjoying every minute as the new head coach at the facility in Seoul:
“I have been busy with my business lately. I recently opened a gym called P-BOY MMA.
“I have always dreamed of being an entrepreneur. The gym is just the beginning. I always enjoy new challenges.
“There have been no difficulties for me [opening the gym]. If they happen, I just laugh them off and overcome them.”
Since opening the doors in January, Kwon has already started to amass some talented athletes to represent his gym, but he’s not going to rush their rise.
For now, he’s content bringing new people to martial arts and giving them the benefits of training, all while cultivating a positive culture that will keep them coming back for years.
“Pretty Boy” explained:
“I already have my own team, but I have no expectations. I just want everyone to be happy and enjoy training it.
“The motto of my gym is, ‘Slow but solid.’ P-BOY MMA is a gym where everyone can come and enjoy it without any stress.”