‘Go Out There And Make A Statement’ – Rising Muay Thai Star Josh Hill Excited To Prove Himself In ONE Debut
Josh Hill realized a dream when he inked a deal to compete in ONE Championship, and he can’t wait to kick-start the next leg of his martial arts journey.
Following a career-best year in 2022 that featured six straight victories and prestigious honors, the British rising star will make his promotional debut at ONE Friday Fights 1 on January 20, where he’ll take on tough Iranian Keivan Soleimani in a lightweight Muay Thai contest.
It’s an enormous moment for the Majestic Gym representative.
But after defeating Rajadamnern Stadium Muay Thai World Champion Kongjak Por Pao-In last September and claiming his first professional Muay Thai World Title a month later, Hill believes he deserved this call-up to the world’s largest martial arts organization.
The 23-year-old said:
“Last year was definitely my most successful year to date, and I believe that was down to not putting as much pressure on myself. Usually, I think about what things could lead to and where it could go from there. Last year was just all about the best names I could fight.
“I wasn’t thinking about where things would lead. I just wanted to prove myself, and [the likes of Kongjak] were the names I wanted to be in [the ring] with.”
Hill capitalized on his win over the Thai icon when he defeated Nauzet Trujillo for the ISKA Muay Thai World Title in October, and things quickly picked up steam from there. He’s always wanted to share the stage with the sport’s elite, and with some fresh accolades on his resume, his opportunity has arrived.
But even after coming this far, Hill is not content. He wants to show that he belongs on the same level as ONE Championship’s most popular stars by tearing it up with them inside the Circle.
The Brit explained:
“It was a dream come true [when I got the offer]. I knew if I kept fighting the biggest names outside of ONE then it was only a matter of time until I’d get that fight offer.
“My coach always said winning a World Title was just the start of your career, that’s where all the opportunities open up. And for me, winning a World Title was just a stepping stone for getting into ONE and proving I belong with the best of the best World Champions.
“ONE Championship has always been the end goal. That’s where all the superstars are. That’s where all the elite fighters are, and they’re the people I want to prove I belong in the ring with.”
Josh Hill Wants To Make A Statement Against Keivan Soleimani
Although Josh Hill is thrilled to be in ONE Championship, it’s even more important to him that he remains there long term. That’s why a successful first outing against Keivan Soleimani is crucial.
The surging Brit knows that Soleimani will try to attack throughout their matchup on January 20, but he feels ready to deal with the powerful Iranian slugger.
“Keivan Soleimani is a very strong fighter. He likes to come forward, and he’s aggressive with his hands. He’s fought bare-knuckle, he’s fought with roped hands, and he’s fought in MMA gloves, so he’s going to be used to the rule set, and I know he’s going to be aggressive.
“He made a statement saying one of us is going to be unconscious by the end of the fight, so I look forward to the challenge. I’m pretty confident I know how he is going to fight, and I think I’m quite adaptable, so I am ready to ride the wave and see how it goes.”
Debuting on ONE’s historic first card at Lumpinee Stadium – and with big ambitions for his career – Hill is eager to impress and assert himself as a true threat in the lightweight division.
Though he isn’t looking past his Iranian foe, the Englishman knows that a dominant win would put him right into the mix with the top contenders.
“I want to go out there and make a statement. I want to prove that I belong in there with the best in the world and that this fight is just the beginning of a very long run in ONE Championship.
“After this, I’d like to challenge myself against the best in the division, whether it’s Eddie Abasolo, Sinsamut [Klinmee], or Liam Nolan.”