Aslanbek Zikreev’s superior striking earned him the razor-close win in his promotional debut.
The Russian scored a split-decision victory over #2-ranked strawweight kickboxing contender “Golden Boy” Wang Junguang in their ONE Super Series main event clash at ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX IV on Friday, 20 November.
Round one saw both men landing punishing low kicks to get the action started at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, but it was only a matter of time before Wang landed a walloping right hand that snapped his rival’s head back.
Zikreev, looking to retaliate, pushed forward and connected with a left hand that got the attention of the Chinese athlete. But every time the Russian striker tried to match “Golden Boy” in the furious exchanges that followed, Wang’s counter left and right hooks were short, crisp, and accurate.
A thudding left hook from Zikreev started the action in round two, and this time it was Wang who had to push forward and try to make something of the match. Unfortunately for him, he kept walking into punishing left hooks.
With Zikreev’s confidence oozing, the Russian began to mix up his attacks, throwing stomach-piercing knees to try and soften up his jumpy opponent. A few made their way through Wang’s defense, but at the end of the round “Golden Boy” made sure to clip Zikreev with one final left hook.
Going into the third and final round, the fight could’ve gone either way, and both men knew it.
Wang desperately launched wild hooks as he stalked the Russian from one side of the Circle to the other. Zikreev, although on the back foot, seamlessly scored with counter punches and knees.
The Chinese star continued to press the action throughout the stanza, but the Russian showed some of the slickest footwork of the night, sidestepping and countering Wang like a matador evading a charging bull.
After three nail-biting rounds of back-and-forth action, the judges gave the split-decision win to Zikreev. The victory was his first in ONE, and after defeating the #2-ranked strawweight kickboxing contender, he may have just made himself the next big threat in ONE Super Series.