Last Friday, 25 October, the Sityodtong Amsterdam representative looked better than ever against his fellow Dutchman as he dominated an icon of the sport over five rounds to take a unanimous decision in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The 26-year-old put his rival under intense pressure from the first bell and put an early marker down when he dropped “The Natural” in the opening frame. After that, he maintained almost total control to claim a famous win and the first defense of the ONE Lightweight Kickboxing World Title.
Following his long trip back to the Netherlands, “The Immortal” reflected on another career-defining win on the global stage, and how he expects to continue his reign.
ONE Championship: Congratulations on your first successful World Title defense. How are you feeling?
Regian Eersel: I’m feeling good. Once again, I’ve proved to everybody that I’m the better fighter!
ONE: You expected the rematch to be tougher, but you looked in control all the way through. Why do you think that was?
RE: I already knew what his style was, and I didn’t want to take any risks, but I don’t think he expected that I would pressure him immediately in the first round.
The bell rang, and I immediately stepped forward to put the pressure on him. I think he got confused that it was only the first round and I was already putting the pressure on him. The plan was to do that straight away.
ONE: You came out strong and put him down twice in round one, but the first was ruled a slip. What did you think about that?
RE: I think it was the other way around. The first one was a knockdown, but the referee said it was a slip, and I think the second one was a slip.
The last punch I hit him [on the official knockdown] with was a straight right, but I hit him on his shoulder, and he went down. The first one, I hit him with the knee, and when he was going down, I hit him with the right, and he fell, but the referee didn’t say it was a knockdown.
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ONE: Was there anything he threw that hurt you?
RE: He hit me two times in the first round after I gave him the eight-count. I was too slow. I wanted to throw a left hook, and when I threw it, he threw a right hook over the top and it landed on the top of my head.
After that, he moved my left hand away with his left hand to hit me again with the right hook, but I saw that coming, and then the round was over. He got me with two shots that were good, but I never felt in danger because I knew the round was over and I had my recovery time.
That was the only moment he hit me. I felt that I had to make sure it didn’t happen again, and I did. It made me realize I still had to be careful – even if I hit him.
ONE: Did you feel like there was any point after that when he pressured you back?
RE: Because of all of the pressure I put on him, I had to hold back a little to catch my breath once in a while, but I didn’t think for one moment that he would go crazy on me because he is not like that.
ONE: How much did all your extra conditioning work pay off for the championship rounds?
RE: I felt stronger of course, but as I said, I didn’t want to take any risks. In the last round, I just took my points and didn’t go full power, but I felt good, and I felt like I could go another round.
ONE: You said after the match you would like to return in December or January. Is that still the aim?
RE: The timeframe is different, because I got an injury under my foot and I didn’t know how serious it was until I got back home to the Netherlands and went to the hospital.
It was from my front kick to his face. I think his teeth came into my foot, so I have a big cut under my right foot, so I have to wait until that is healed up, and then I can start training again. It is a crazy injury, I can’t do anything because everything is from your feet.
When I went to the hospital they said I must just rest if I want to come back soon because the cut is really deep in my foot, so I think December [cannot happen]. January is possible.
ONE: Who do you think you will face in your next match?
RE: I don’t know. I’m curious who they want to send for me, but I will wait and see.
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