‘A Dream For Me’ – Mehdi Zatout Excited To Compete In Middle East At ONE 166: Qatar

Mehdi Zatout stands in the Circle at ONE on Prime Video 3

Mehdi “Diamond Heart” Zatout was enticed out of retirement by the chance to perform in the Middle East at ONE 166: Qatar

Although the Muay Thai icon from Algeria hung up his 4-ounce gloves more than a year ago, he’ll return for a boxing bout against Zuhayr Al-Qahtani at the Lusail Sports Arena on Friday, March 1. 

Zatout wouldn’t have made a comeback unless it was for something special, but ONE’s debut in Qatar was massive enough to reignite his fire for competition.  

“Diamond Heart” spoke to onefc.com ahead of his battle at the groundbreaking event:

“To me, it’s amazing. When they announced it, I immediately informed my fighters [at Venum Training Camp] about it. But I never thought that I would be the one competing.  

“It’s crazy that ONE will be in Qatar. To be part of ONE 166 is a dream for me. Knowing it’s an Arabic country, it’s also special for me.” 

With close to 120 professional outings in Muay Thai and kickboxing, Zatout’s body was feeling the strain from a decorated career when he bowed out following a victory over Asa Ten Pow in October 2022. 

But after nursing some injuries, the renowned coach soon got back into the gym and couldn’t turn down the chance to join the historic card on March 1. 

Zatout explained: 

“I retired because I had problems with my knees, and there was so much work. I’d just had enough. I decided to come back because I like the challenge. 

“I’m happy that Chatri [Sityodtong] and ONE offered me the fight. Despite retiring, I’ve kept myself in shape and continued to spar with all of my fighters on the team. So, why not?” 

Zatout Excited To Fulfill ‘Dream’ In First Pro Boxing Fight

Mehdi Zatout will tick an item off his bucket list when he returns for a boxing bout against Zuhayr Al-Qahtani at ONE 166: Qatar.

The Algerian achieved a huge amount in his storied Muay Thai career and was happy to leave it in the past, but there was one itch he didn’t get to scratch before calling it a day. 

As a lifelong boxing fan, Zatout always wanted to compete in “the sweet science.” Now, he’s thrilled to face a new test against a specialist in the craft:

“I was actually sad when I made my decision to retire because I really wanted to fulfill my dream of competing in boxing at least once in my career. 

“When people saw me at events, they’d ask, ‘Mehdi, do you want to fight?’ I would usually respond, ‘Of course, but not Muay Thai or kickboxing.’ What made me say yes was when ONE offered this boxing fight.” 

Importantly, Zatout will get to box in authentic fashion, donning 10-ounce gloves to throw down with an undefeated foe.

And while it’s his first professional boxing match, “Diamond Heart” has been honing his skills in the sport for decades, and he’s confident that he’ll be fully prepared on March 1.

Zatout added 

“A lot of people close to me know that I love boxing. I’ve always trained in boxing. Before when I sparred with the biggest names in Europe, I’d always focused on the boxing aspect. That’s why I’m good at boxing. 

“At the beginning, I thought we would be competing in 4-ounce gloves. That’s okay, but when I found out it’s going to be a standard 10-ounce, it became more interesting for me because it will be contested under real boxing rules with boxing gloves. It will be so exciting for me.” 

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