Dovydas “Rimkenzo” Rimkus showed why he is one of the most popular rising stars in combat sports with a debut win over “Bamboo Sword” Zhang Chunyu in their ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix alternate match.
Rimkus defeated the Chinese veteran via decision after three closely contested rounds of action at ONE: NEXTGEN II, which aired from the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Friday, 12 November.
Neither fighter needed a feeling-out process after the opening bell rang. Rimkus stabbed out his push kick – which earned Zhang a warning as he tried to catch it – and “Bamboo Sword” repeatedly went after his rival’s lead leg with low kicks.
The Lithuanian’s confidence then began to shine through, and he repeatedly dropped his hands to try and goad Zhang in. Zhang refused to bite, but the debutant still found success as the round wore on, connecting with thudding punches to the body and head.
“Bamboo Sword” opened up round two with his kicking game plan still in full force, but “Rimkenzo” blocked and fired back, opening up his punching arsenal. The Fighterhouse representative stuck his jab into Zhang’s face and midsection before looping over his right hand – then turned up the heat by adding knees to his offense.
Zhang looked in trouble, and he took another blow when he was given a yellow card for continuing to catch kicks. However, the Shengli Fight Club man used it as a catalyst to come back firing, and then the pair went toe-to-toe late in the round.
“Rimkenzo” even hit the canvas after one of their fiery exchanges – but this was ruled as a slip.
“Bamboo Sword” dialed up his intensity in round three by repeatedly scorching “Rimkenzo’s” lead thigh with his right low kick, but Rimkus did his best not to show it.
He used his push kick to try to keep Zhang at bay – albeit largely unsuccessfully – and carried on popping out his punches despite the onslaught to his left leg. Both men continued to exchange punches right to the end, rounding off a fascinating battle that was neck-and-neck by the final bell.
In the end, however, Rimkus earned a majority decision verdict to maintain his unbeaten streak and push his record to 8-0 with a career-best win.