There are very few athletes in the world who would remain calm at the prospect of competing for $US1 million dollars on the biggest martial arts event in history.
From the sounds of it, Giorgio “The Doctor” Petrosyan is one of them.
The Italian-Armenian superstar will face off against Samy “AK47” Sana in the ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix Championship Final at ONE: CENTURY PART II in Tokyo, Japan on Sunday, 13 October, and he is adamant that his French rival is the only thing on his mind.
“I expect it to be a normal bout against Samy Sana, an athlete I’ve never faced before. I’m not thinking about anything else — not about the prize money and not about it being the final of the tournament,” he offers.
“At this level, it’s no small feat at all staying focused just on your opponent. I try and cope with it by employing a few strategies that my mental coach has taught me.
“If I were to turn my focus to different things, I’d lose sight of my goal, which is Samy Sana. So, that’s not what I want. I want my opponent to be my ultimate goal.”
A unanimous decision win against Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy in the quarterfinals in July and huge first-round knockout over “Smokin” Jo Nattawut in the semifinals a month later paved Petrosyan’s way to the final of the sport’s most illustrious tournament.
Those performances showcased the 33-year-old’s famous ability to adapt and out-think his adversaries.
On the other side of the bracket, Sana shocked the world when he defeated “The Boxing Computer” Yodsanklai IWE Fairtex by unanimous decision in May before he dispatched Dzhabar “Genghis Khan” Askerov by majority decision in the semifinals to book his place in the World Grand Prix Championship Final.
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Petrosyan believes his cerebral game-planning could be the difference when they meet inside the Ryogoku Kokugikan, especially after witnessing Sana’s career-defining victory over “The Boxing Computer.”
“I’m happy I’ll be squaring off against him because I had been dreaming of fighting him for so long,” the five-time kickboxing World Champion says.
“That was quite a fine match-up between Samy Sana and Yodsanklai, especially for the fans because they beat the living daylights out of each other without doing much thinking.
“Still, I saw plenty of flaws. I noticed lots of things, and that’s what we are working on right now.”
“The Doctor” was given his moniker for his precision, and he cemented it with his ability to analyze and dissect opponents in the ring.
Sana’s fierce, aggressive style has overwhelmed elite opposition in ONE Super Series so far — including the Milan resident’s brother, Armen. However, that is something the Italian-Armenian intends to deal with and put into check.
Petrosyan’s efficacy at nullifying the offense of his rivals while finding a home for his own attacks has made him an all-time kickboxing great. It will not be easy to shut down the surging “AK47” in Japan, but if anyone can do it, “The Doctor” can.
“He is a tough opponent, and if he is through to the final, he deserves it,” Petrosyan states.
“He does not strike me as a particularly powerful opponent. He is quite rangy, he is a pretty accurate striker, and he is good. So if he’s in the final, it means that he is pretty tough. I am preparing to face him, so we’ll see how it pans out.”
Petrosyan has done his research, he is putting forth the effort in training camp, and he will try to exploit the Frenchman’s weaknesses and defeat him on 13 October.
The Italian-Armenian expects a hard battle, but he is confident he will leave the Ryogoku Kokugikan with the ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix Championship belt.
“I train hard and prepare the best that I can because I want to be at the top of my game in the ring,” he adds.
“I know that he is a very tough opponent who can take a punch. He has never had to deal with my strikes before, though. We’ll have to wait and see, but it will definitely be a hard-fought match for the both of us.”
ONE: CENTURY is the biggest World Championship martial arts event in history with 28 World Champions featured across various martial arts. No organization in history has ever promoted two full-scale World Championship events on the same day.
The Home Of Martial Arts will break new ground as it brings multiple World Title bouts, a trio of World Grand Prix Championship Finals, and several World Champion versus World Champion matches to the famous Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan on 13 October.