Davit Kiria did not have the start he wanted in ONE Championship. But if he wins his upcoming ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix quarterfinal bout, he’ll be on his way to getting the conclusion he’s always dreamed of.
“It’s a really big opportunity,” Kiria says. “I have to be honest, I’m very happy to be one of the eight men in the Grand Prix. It’s a really big thing in my life, in my fight career.
“All the preparation is going very well. I’m really focused, and I will put all my energy to use in this tournament.”
In Kehl, he’s facing a multiple-time Kickboxing World Champion who most recently beat fellow Grand Prix participant Chingiz “Chinga” Allazov in a Fight of the Year candidate. The German striking ace scored that victory behind his incredible punching power, which will also make him a dangerous competitor in the upcoming tournament.
- 10 Facts About Kickboxing GOAT Giorgio Petrosyan
- Allazov Excited To Compete In ‘Really Cool’ Kickboxing Grand Prix
- Samy Sana Ready For Second Shot At GP: ‘Just Imagine My Determination’
Kiria, however, would rather not think about what makes Kehl such a strong opponent. Instead, he’s focusing on the areas he can exploit once they step into the Circle together.
“I don’t think about his advantages. I think about his weaknesses because this is the main thing that will bring me success. But I know he’s working hard. He’s dreaming hard,” the Georgian says.
“He wants to win, like me, and that’s what makes this fight great. But of course, I have to defend myself from Kehl. He’s a good puncher. He’s a good kicker.”
That said, Kiria thinks that self-belief will be his greatest asset against “The Hurricane,” and he hopes that mindset will propel him to victory.
“I always feel confident in myself,” he continues. “And I will always think that I’m better than everyone. Without this mindset, you cannot succeed, you cannot be at the top level – where I am now.
“I believe in myself and my advantage is in my experience. My advantage is my hard work. I’m working more than 100 percent, and I’m investing my soul into this fight. I will use all my advantages and all my experience to win this fight.”
Ultimately, Kiria has ambitions that extend beyond his quarterfinal bout. On the same night he fights Kehl at ONE: FIRST STRIKE, two of his old foes will compete for the inaugural ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Title in the main event.
Those men are #1-ranked Giorgio “The Doctor” Petrosyan – who won the 2019 ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix – and #2-ranked Superbon. Should Kiria go on to win the 2021 tournament, he’ll get the chance to face the winner of that bout.
That possibility has been in the back of his mind, but for now, his focus remains on Kehl.
“My strategy is to catch him, and if my strategy works, then I’ll catch him. But because the fight is part of the future, I cannot say exactly how I will win. But my goal is to win, and it will happen for sure,” Kiria states.
“We will see in the cage. But I will do what I always do. I will use my mind and, as I said, my experience. Everybody has some weaknesses, and that’s the point – that I have to use his weakness to win this fight.”
Strengths and weaknesses are what propel athletes either upward toward victory or downward toward defeat, and Kiria has experienced both the highs and the lows over the course of his storied career.
Now, he wants to continue ascending the ranks to prove to himself, his family, and his country that all the sacrifices were well worth it.
“I chose this sport. I chose martial arts – kickboxing. And if I’m in this business, if I’m in this life, I want to be the best. And if I want to be the best, then I have to win this tournament because this tournament is the biggest tournament on the planet today,” Kiria says.
“Everybody in it is the best. They are the top eight fighters on the planet, so winning this tournament means everything to me because I’ve dedicated my life to this sport.”