Next Friday, 6 September, the Algerian S1 Muay Thai World Champion will face the biggest test of his career in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam when he challenges Nong-O Gaiyanghadao for the ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Title.
The 20-year-old from Paris, France knows he will be up against a legend of “the art of eight limbs” when he steps under the lights at the Phu Tho Indoor Stadium, and he has a lot of respect for his rival.
“My opponent is the World Champion of the organization, he’s a huge fighter, and so far he’s undefeated in this promotion,” he says
“He had a very big career in Thailand, he’s the four-time World Champion of Lumpinee [Stadium], World Champion of Rajadamnern [Stadium], he has fought with the best athletes. It’s an honor to fight with him.
“I think his biggest assets are his back leg and his hooks. I know he’s a powerful boxer, and that it will be a very tough fight, but I have trained for this, and I’ll be ready.”
Delval hails from the Mahmoudi Gym that produced fellow ONE Super Super Series star Elias “The Sniper” Mahmoudi, and his skills and confidence have been bolstered by more than a month’s training in Thailand.
The Algerian is riding an impressive 30-5 record for a young athlete, and he trusts that the work that he has put in with his coaches will take him to another victory and the biggest prize in martial arts.
Despite Nong-O’s strengths – or the fact he has promised his fans to go for a knockout – “The Truck” is not overawed by his rival, and he says he will have a lot going for him when he steps into the ring.
“I used to watch some of his fights on the internet – as I said, he has fought with the best fighters – and I can’t see a lot of weaknesses, but it depends on who he’s fighting,” he says.
“I think my advantage will be my [height and reach advantage] and my determination.
“I have some very good coaches with me, who gave me a game plan, so I think I’ll perform a beautiful fight. I have youth on my side, and I think this can play a big part in the result.”
“The Truck” has a rare opportunity to face one of the all-time greats and compete for the most prestigious prize in martial arts in Ho Chi Minh City, and he has made sure to leave no stone unturned in his preparation.
That has filled Delval with positivity for a contest that would make other athletes of his age wilt under the pressure. He has defeated other Thai opposition against the odds in the past, and now he is ready to do it again and shock the world.
“It makes me very happy to have the opportunity to fight for the ONE Championship belt, especially when it’s my first fight, and I’ll do everything possible to win this fight,” he adds.
“Nong-O, may the best man win. I’ll do everything to be the best.”