This Thursday, September 29, knockout artist Iraj Azizpour will look to extend his winning streak, punch his ticket to the ONE Heavyweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix Championship Final, and potentially meet a longtime rival.
Azizpour has certainly been impressive since joining ONE Championship.
Now, the Tehran native will try to score another finish in this pivotal semifinal matchup.
At 6-foot-6, he’ll hold the height and reach advantages over the compact but ultra-powerful Brazilian, and he will enter the clash with major ambitions.
Azizpour told ONEFC.com:
“I don’t care about how tall he is – what’s important is the fight. My hands and my feet are my biggest weapons – and they are both strong.
“I beat two very good competitors, and I can beat Chaves. My goals are much bigger than that. What I want to do is to beat the best fighters at ONE. I want to be able to face all the biggest fighters around the world.”
A black belt in kung fu, Azizpour is the owner of a thudding right hand and arguably the division’s best head kick – weapons he will aim to employ on Thursday.
With those factors in mind, his prediction for the matchup with Chaves is simple and direct:
“I will knock him out.”
A Trilogy Fight With Roman Kryklia?
A win at ONE 161 would plant the 33-year-old Azizpour in the ONE Heavyweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix Championship Final, where he could potentially face old foe Roman Kryklia.
Krklia, the reigning ONE Light Heavyweight Kickboxing World Champion, is set to battle Guto Inocente in the other semifinal bout on Thursday.
Azizpour and Kryklia are already familiar with each other, splitting a pair of fights in 2018 and 2019. So naturally, the Iranian is salivating rubber match.
“I don’t care who I may face in the final, but I would like to face Roman Kryklia. There is unfinished business there, and I’d like to make sure that I finish that story. In the second round against him in our second match, I was not prepared as well as I should’ve been prepared, and I made a mistake. That is why I would like to face Roman again.”
Azizpour saw something in those first two contests that would give him confidence against the light heavyweight kickboxing king in a potential third meeting.
And this time, the prestigious silver belt would be the line.
“I want to face Kryklia again so that I can correct my mistake, to prove that I can beat him. In our last fight, he surprised me and therefore, he was able to beat me. But in the third match, I will beat him.
“Roman is strong, he hits strongly. But he has a weakness that I don’t want to speak about. You will see his weakness when we fight in the Circle.”