ONE Lightweight Kickboxing World Champion Regian “The Immortal” Eersel does not feel like he gets the proper amount of recognition – and he plans to remedy that the only way he knows how.
The Dutch-Surinamese powerhouse will make his next World Title defense against Islam Murtazaev in the main event of ONE: WINTER WARRIORS on Friday, 3 December, and he believes another dominant performance will make him impossible to ignore.
“I don’t feel that I have respect and the fame that I deserve yet. But I think that it’s going to come,” Eersel says ahead of his return to action at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
“At this time, you see that fighters have a big mouth, and they get more popular because of it – I’m totally not like that. I let my actions speak for themselves.”
Eersel has been flawless in ONE Super Series to date, racking up five straight victories to claim the gold and continue holding it.
Next up is Murtazaev, who is new to ONE Championship but brings an impressive 20-4 career record to the global stage.
“The Immortal” understands that his lengthy reign over the division means new faces will be drafted to test him, and he’s not taking the Russian lightly.
“I think that the other fighters have to catch up. I have already defeated the top three, so it’s pretty special that they have to [bring in] someone else,” Eersel says.
“Does he deserve to go up against me right away? I have mixed feelings about that. But I understand the situation, and I’m happy that he can fight.
“I think he’s at my level. Otherwise, ONE Championship wouldn’t put him up against me. He accepted the fight, and, of course, every fight is crucial [because the challengers will try] to take the belt from me. I see it as a challenge.”
For his part, Murtazaev will offer up a unique threat to “The Immortal” given his unorthodox, destructive skill set.
Moreover, the Russian stated that there will be surprises in store for the reigning king, who’s been studying the dangerous challenger closely.
“In Islam, I see a driven, aggressive young man that comes to hit hard,” Eersel says.
“He has an aggressive style and likes to fight from the front. I think he’s good and also unpredictable at some moments. I love how he says his style is going to be a surprise for me, and, of course, we’ll see that in the Circle.
“I think his biggest weapons are his spinning back kick technique – he’ll use this to try and eliminate me – and his aggression.”
Of course, everybody knows that Eersel does not take a backward step for anybody. The 28-year-old Sityodtong Amsterdam athlete will meet his challenger in the middle and see if he can keep up.
“It will be a rough fight. We are both super-aggressive fighters,” the defending titleholder says.
“I think the one who will win the fight is purely the one who shows the most aggression, has the best condition, and the will to win.”
With 26 knockouts among his 56 triumphs, Eersel loves to get the job done early. That’s high on his agenda for this upcoming battle, but whether he can finish Murtazaev or not, his mind is solely focused on victory.
If he can defend the ONE Lightweight Kickboxing World Title in impressive fashion once more and keep his stranglehold on the division, it will be hard for the combat sports world to deny his greatness.
“I’m looking for the knockout in every fight, but you also need to be ready to fight for five rounds,” Eersel adds.
“I’m open to moving up a weight division or trying another sport like Muay Thai and going for the title. But I don’t have the feeling that I’m finished with my weight division. I have only defended my title twice, and that’s much, too little for me.
“If I win this fight, it will mean that once again, I’ve reached a milestone in my career and defended a World Title. It is an important part of my legacy. Then the story will be who is next.”
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