Alaverdi “Babyface Killer” Ramazanov has a chance to achieve his World Title dreams on Friday, 6 December.
The Dagestan-born athlete will face surging Chinese striker “Muay Thai Boy” Zhang Chenglong for the inaugural ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Championship at ONE: MARK OF GREATNESS in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
These two young athletes may have never crossed paths, but they have a familiarity with each other. The pair have been running around with different Muay Thai groups in Bangkok’s well-established stadium circuit for the past couple of years, but now, they will finally meet in the ring for ONE World Title gold.
Ahead of their co-main event battle at the Axiata Arena in the Malaysian capital, the 25-year-old Dagestani breaks down his opponent, talks about his preparation for the biggest match of his career, and much more.
ONE Championship: You are a decorated athlete who has competed in many top promotions. Now, having been in ONE Super Series for more than a year, how do you feel the action stacks up?
Alaverdi Ramazanov: I am convinced ONE has become a promotion with the best kickboxing bouts in the world now. They have come a long way in a relatively short period of time.
Super Series cards have a very high level of competition, both big and technical fights. I think the viewers appreciate this new format — mixed martial arts, kickboxing, and Muay Thai bouts in one event. This concept must have attracted a fresh audience to ONE, and that’s always exciting.
ONE: What were your feelings when you found out that you would be competing for the ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Title in the co-main event of ONE: MARK OF GREATNESS?
AR: I am thrilled to be in the co-main event, and I am approaching this fight feeling the weight of responsibility. When I learned the title was on the line, I got very excited. I have been working towards this goal for a very long time.
I can’t say the news was unexpected. I heard ONE management was very impressed with my previous fight against Ognjen Topic and the fast KO — I heard it was one of the fastest in ONE Super Series history. I was told the promotion was ready to offer me a title fight.
ONE: How important is this World Title bout for you, and what does it signify?
AR: It is the most important thing in my life right now. Since I was little, I’ve been working hard to become the best fighter in the world.
I’ve been dreaming of becoming the World Champion, and now I have this opportunity. I will do everything possible to step out of the ring with the belt wrapped around my waist on 6 December. This win could bring big changes to my career.
ONE: Zhang comes from a martial arts dynasty with his grandfather, father, and his older brother all being professional competitors. Does that intimidate you at all?
AR: I am not bothered that he comes from a fighting dynasty. I am from Dagestan, and we have many fighting dynasties.
For hundreds of years, Dagestani men have been fighting and competing. They are my ancestors. I am a child of our Dagestani heroes, who have been known to be fearless in battles.
ONE: How closely have you followed Zhang’s career?
AR: I have known him since 2017, and once we even fought on the same card. The guy is a Top King Muay Thai World Champion – he is a beast. I’ve always seen a lot of potential in him.
I was sure he would go far because he had a series of good, solid wins. He went on to fight in America, Thailand, and China, and then he successfully debuted in ONE. Since he got into ONE, I could see it was inevitable that we would clash one day, and this day is nearly here.
ONE: What have you noticed about Zhang’s style, and why is he a good opponent for you?
AR: He has a very interesting style, but at the end of the day, he is a typical southpaw, which is convenient for me. Three out of five recent opponents I had the honor to share the ring with were southpaw. I feel like I know how they move and how to box with them.
He is a good opponent for me, definitely a worthy one. He is one of China’s most promising martial artists right now, and he has three solid wins in ONE. He definitely deserves a shot at gold in ONE Super Series.
ONE: Could you talk a little bit about your training camp? What have you been focusing on?
AR: I’ve had a one month camp in Thailand at Venum Training Camp. I remain loyal to them. Now, I feel great. The training part of the camp is over, so now I am taking it a bit easier. I’m just trying to stay healthy and strong. During this camp, we have placed a special emphasis on cardio training, on boxing technique, and on improving my speed.
ONE: Last question — how do you see this World Title bout end?
AR: The fight will be as it should be. I am preparing myself for a five-round fight. During the fight, anything may happen. Maybe it will be a five-round fight or maybe it will be a knockout.