Roman Kryklia got off to a dream start in ONE Championship by winning the ONE Light Heavyweight Kickboxing World Title in his promotional debut. Now, Murat “The Butcher” Aygun hopes to follow in those footsteps and take the belt from his rival.
The Dutch-Turkish slugger will challenge Kryklia for the gold at ONE: BIG BANG on Friday, 4 December, and he believes he has what it takes to get the job done in his first appearance on the global stage.
“This ONE Championship belt means a lot to me, and I’m going to win it,” Aygun says of his premiere at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
“ONE is a great organization, and I want to be the best where I am — so I want to be the best in ONE Championship.”
Aygun, who holds a 16-1 record, knows that topping Kryklia’s incredible first outing will not be easy, but he’s not looking to match it stylistically.
His own style relies on forward pressure and an iron chin, so the SB Gym representative is ready to take the towering Ukrainian’s best shots in order to land his own.
It helps that “The Butcher” has never been knocked out — his lone defeat came via doctor’s stoppage due to a cut in a bout he was winning — and that will give him the confidence to come at the Gridin Gym product with his trademark intensity.
“What I really like is to stay in the pocket with not too much movement — you stay in front of me and you fight. You punch back together,” the Dutch-Turkish juggernaut says.
“I’m a fighter. I don’t go back. You can punch me, but you can’t put me down. I have a strong head, and I have the feelings in my stomach that say I cannot lose. I cannot get knocked out.”
On the other hand, Kryklia has never been knocked out either – nor does he hang around in close quarters often enough to offer his opponents the chance.
He showed that skill with his masterful display to win the inaugural ONE Light Heavyweight Kickboxing World Title against Tarik “The Tank” Khbabez at ONE: AGE OF DRAGONS in Beijing, China, back in November 2019.
The Ukrainian evaded Khbabez’s haymakers and replied with an overwhelming barrage of punches in round two to get the TKO victory after three knockdowns.
Aygun knows there is a complex puzzle to be solved, but he believes his heart and durability will be enough to keep him in the main event showdown until he creates the right opportunity.
“Roman Kryklia is a good fighter. He is tall. He likes fighting at distance and giving space, and his biggest weapon is his knee,” the Dutch-Turkish athlete says.
“My fighting style is aggressive. I like to go to my opponent, and I take a shot to give a shot. But like I said, you cannot knock me down. I stay up. That’s my style. That’s what makes me different, that I’m not giving up. You know I’m not giving up.”
It’s clear that regardless of Kryklia’s game plan, Aygun has a specific vision for his own strategy. He is dead set on walking the towering World Champion down and taking his belt from him by brute force.
That constant pressure should lead to a fascinating battle — albeit one “The Butcher” is quite sure he’ll get the better of.
“I’m going to do better than he is. I’m going to counter. I’m going to be faster than him,” Aygun states. “I hope I will win by knockout.”