‘It’s Time For Him To Pass The Torch’ – Nico Carrillo Hopes To Usher In New Era By Beating Nong-O

Nico Carrillo Furkan Karabag ONE Friday Fights 13 56

Nico “King of the North” Carrillo feels like he’s on the cusp of making history in the Muay Thai world.  

This Friday, December 22, the Scottish rising star will battle one of the sport’s most iconic athletes in Nong-O Hama, and he can’t wait to prove himself against the former ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Champion at ONE Friday Fights 46: Tawanchai vs. Superbon.

It’s already been an incredible year for Carrillo, who earned a six-figure contract with ONE Championship after a pair of impressive TKO victories at ONE Friday Fights.

He now owns the #5 bantamweight Muay Thai ranking and is aiming for a run to the top – starting with the #1-ranked contender at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.  

The 25-year-old spoke to onefc.com ahead of his return:

“I was absolutely buzzing when [ONE] came to me with Nong-O. I thought they would maybe give me Saemapetch Fairtex or Felipe Lobo first. That fight, then maybe another fight before the World Title fight, but I obviously jumped on the opportunity to fight Nong-O.  

“Especially after him coming off such a bad knockout (to Jonathan Haggerty). At his age, I just don’t feel like he can recover from that so well, so it’s probably the best time to fight him. Then it’s off to be the World Champion next year.” 

Until his loss to Haggerty earlier this year, Nong-O had ruled the bantamweight Muay Thai division with an iron fist. The Thai was 10-0 in ONE with five straight knockouts, confirming his status as an all-time great.  

Despite his defeat, Nong-O still believes he has gas left in the tank, and Carrillo knows that a victory on Friday would bring him an incredible amount of prestige – and even bigger opportunities in the division. 

The Scottish sensation is eyeing a matchup with current ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai and Kickboxing World Champion Haggerty, which would give him a chance to show he’s the best non-Thai in “the art of eight limbs.” 

Carrillo said: 

“The magnitude of the fight is absolutely massive. A lot of people would go into a fight like this with the mindset of, ‘I’ve nothing to lose, it’s Nong-O.’ That just isn’t my mindset. I’ve got everything to lose. Because in this game, it’s snakes and ladders. You lose one fight, and you’ve got to work your way back up to the top. 

“Beating Nong-O would put me down arguably as one of the best foreign Muay Thai fighters ever, apart from Haggerty, which is also in my mind. Then it’s off to fight him to prove who the best-ever foreign Muay Thai fighter is in history. Is it me, or is it Haggerty?  

“And I’m not looking past Nong-O because I know I’ve got a massive task at hand, but the day I signed with ONE Championship, I had gold on my mind.” 

Carrillo Praises Nong-O But Sees Route To Victory 

Nong-O didn’t amass eight ONE World Title wins by accident, nor were his Lumpinee Stadium and Rajadamnern Stadium Muay Thai World Titles a fluke. 

The 37-year-old is one of the best to ever throw down in “the art of eight limbs,” and Nico Carrillo is not dismissing that level of skill and experience. 

Still, the burgeoning Scottish striker knows that no man is infallible, and he has scouted some areas of weakness to target at ONE Friday Fights 46. 

Carrillo explained: 

“Letting him get his momentum is probably his biggest strength. He’s quite hard to stop once you let him get going. His IQ is one of the best in the world for the last decade or two. He’s an amazing puncher, kicker, everything. He’s all-rounded. He’s amazing.  

“His weaknesses, from what I’ve studied, are that he drops his hands when he leans in. When he’s getting boxed, he doesn’t try to get out of the way of the shots – he just waits for them to be over so that he can then throw them back. Then when he does, he lunges in with his hands down, so there’s lots of little stuff that on December 22, I’m going to be sure to exploit.” 

Carrillo is a skilled fighter in his own right, with devastating boxing and heavy kicks that can cause problems for any opponent. Beyond that, he’ll bring physical and mental attributes to the table against Nong-O. 

Not only does “King of the North” expect to be the stronger man when they go toe-to-toe, but he also thinks his desire will lead to victory, with his legendary foe unable to match his motivation. 

Carrillo added: 

“I believe the size will definitely be a factor. But not only size – also the strength and the power. This doesn’t only come from my size. This comes from me training specifically explosively for the last five or six years. That’s why I can make this weight comfortably, and that’s why I can be so explosive and powerful at the weight.  

“Another factor will be that I’m younger, I’m hungrier. Nong-O has already had it all. He’s already had the belts, the riches, the fame. I believe it’s time for him to pass the torch to a younger, hungrier person more deserving of the title shot.” 

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