And because of that stunning finish, the Russian striker will head into his upcoming light heavyweight kickboxing clash against Bogdan “Bucharest Bad Boy” Stoica at ONE: NEXTGEN on Friday, 29 October, with a healthy store of momentum.
“My first victory in ONE was a great opportunity to declare myself [to the world]. It was a pity for the opponent because the knockout was tough,” he says.
Now, the 27-year-old Russian wants to keep building on his success – and his next opponent will be his toughest challenge to date.
Stoica may be new to the Circle, but he is an established veteran who has dueled with some of the world’s top stand-up specialists. Also, the Romanian has won belts in Enfusion and Superkombat, so he will make for difficult opposition.
However, Isaev has been training hard at Fight Club NORD 86 and believes that his preparation will set him in good stead to face the “Bucharest Bad Boy.”
“I have known about Bogdan as a fighter for a long time, even though I haven’t crossed paths with him. I rate him as a good fighter,” Isaev says.
“Nothing has changed in my training for him, everything is as usual. I have one of the best coaches in the world, Vitaly Miller, and also the number-one sparring partner in the world, seven-time Glory Champion Artem Vakhitov.”
The Surgut native has taken note of his rival’s weapons, but he doesn’t want to make too many assumptions before they face off.
“His strengths are his knees and his kicks. As for his weaknesses, I’ll see when the fight starts. I don’t like to underestimate the opponent,” Isaev says.
When it comes to his own weapons, Isaev believes he has a notable one in his favor – his size.
Though the WMC Muay Thai World Champion has been campaigning in the light heavyweight ranks, he is on the lighter side of the weight class and, ultimately, he views this as a benefit.
“I see my advantage in speed since I weigh less than him,” Isaev says.
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Strengths and weaknesses aside, the Russian is simply hoping to make a big impression in his next outing and then make a good run through the division.
Though he has gold in mind, Isaev has no real desire to challenge ONE Light Heavyweight Kickboxing World Champion Roman Kryklia and ideally sees his chance coming in another weight bracket.
“Roman Kryklia is my friend. I would not like to box with him, if possible. It would be preferable to fight for the belt [at middleweight], and not to think about a fight with Kryklia at [light heavyweight],” the Surgut resident says.
“I am, by nature, a fighter of the 93-kilogram division. I really hope that the organization will give me the opportunity to fight for the 93-kilogram World Title after winning the upcoming fight.”
A win against a seasoned and respected campaigner like Stoica would certainly give Isaev some extra chips to bargain with and help his chances to compete for a possible ONE Middleweight Kickboxing World Title.
Isaev doesn’t want to call his shot, though. For now, the Russian knockout artist is just determined to give it his all and take the victory on 29 October.
“The fight will show how I would like to finish,” he says.
“I don’t like to predict, especially in this heavy division. But I know one thing — I go out for every fight as if it is my last one. And I give my all, 100 percent!”