Alain “The Panther” Ngalani is counting down the days until he can make his ONE Championship return at full strength.
The Hong Kong resident is one of the most consistently exciting martial artists on the roster. He is an athletic, fast heavyweight with real knockout power — and this has always made him an overwhelming fan favorite.
However, he did not have the 2019 he wanted. The hulk competed in The Home Of Martial Arts just once, but he has taken some time to strengthen his body and enhance his skill set so he can hit the ground running in 2020.
“I’ve been off healing and polishing my game,” reveals the Impakt Gym owner, who last appeared in the Circle in March.
“I’ve been dealing with an injury since before my last fight, so I’m just happy to be back in shape and healthy. I’m looking forward to being back and performing very soon.”
Ngalani’s time on the sidelines has not dampened his spirit.
Instead, it has motivated him to make up for lost time when the new year comes around, and he feels like he will be an even better martial artist when he steps into the Circle next.
“I am very happy to be still doing what I love and what I’m passionate about. It keeps me going, and it keeps me alive,” the hulking athlete says.
“Every time I am about to compete, there is a lot of excitement, so I’m excited for 2020 because I know I’ll be going back on the stage and doing what I love to do.
“I’ve been training a lot, and I think that I’m learning a lot. It’s crazy that at this time in my career, I’ve already been at the top, but I am still learning and I am still improving.”
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Ngalani, who was originally born and raised in Cameroon, is one of the promotion’s elder statesmen at 44 years old.
Despite his age, “The Panther” has always kept himself in phenomenal shape, and now that he has given his body some time to get back into peak physical condition, he is ready to continue chasing his goals.
“At this point, I have been a World Champion four times already in martial arts, so it is not something new to me. But I am still excited to go out there [and compete],” he admits.
“I am looking forward to 2020. It’s as if I am just starting out. I am just as excited as my first day competing on the international stage.
“I want to have a minimum of three bouts next year. I will be in shape, and I think if I win the first two, then I could be on schedule to fight for a World Title, and that would be awesome.
“My goal is to have a year filled with wins, so that’s what I am planning to do, and that’s what I will do.”
From the sounds of it, Ngalani’s action-filled 2020 could get underway in the next few months.
“The Panther” expects the upcoming year to start quickly, and he teased a huge encounter that would put him right back in the mix at the top of the heavyweight division.
Although he remains tight-lipped on the details, the hulk is sure this is a match that the fans will be keen to watch, and one that could signal his return in emphatic fashion.
“There has been a major fight in the works for quite some time, and I hope to make it official soon,” he offers.
“It was hinted that it would be by the end of this year. There was an issue and it got postponed until next year, but I’m very excited to [potentially] start the year off with a fight.”