On Friday, October 21, Zhang Peimian has the chance to do what no other 19-year-old kickboxer has done before.
The Chinese striking phenom will compete for the vacant ONE Strawweight Kickboxing World Title in the main event of ONE 162. If he defeats opponent Jonathan Di Bella, he’ll become the youngest kickboxing titleholder in the organization’s history.
Despite this massive chance to write his name in ONE’s record books at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the man with a 16-1-1 record isn’t fazed by the task ahead.
“I don’t [feel any] pressure. I think there will be more motivation. I have enough confidence and I’ve trained hard, so I can do it.”
Zhang’s home nation of China is on a roll at the moment in ONE.
The country’s first female MMA World Champion, Xiong Jing Nan, defended her ONE Strawweight World Title for a record seventh time earlier this month, and its first male Chinese MMA World Champion, Tang Kai, was crowned the ONE Featherweight World Champion in August.
Zhang is eager to join his compatriots, but that won’t be enough in itself. He has huge aspirations in The Home of Martial Arts and, still a teenager, he has many years to realize them.
The Shengli Fight Club standout said:
“On October 21, come see me become the youngest Kickboxing World Champion. I am honored to represent China, and I must bring the golden belt back [home].
“The World Championship is just one of my goals. I want to be a legend. I feel that after all these years of hard work, everything will be worth it.”
Peimian Aiming To Finish Di Bella
Zhang Peimian is confident that he’ll have the tools to topple Jonathan Di Bella, despite the Canadian-Italian having never tasted defeat.
The 10-0 star – who also has a 2-0 slate in professional boxing – will bring some strong weapons with him to the Circle, but “Fighting Rooster” has done his homework and sees his avenue to success.
“I know him well because I have watched many of his fights.
“Di Bella’s lead hook and rear-leg low kick are very good, but I have trained for this, and I can suppress him.”
That suppression, according to “Fighting Rooster,” means he’s going for the finish. But he’s not going to predict the round that it’s going to happen in.
Rather, once the hard-hitting Chinese prodigy enters the Circle, he’s going to take his time, figure out his rival, then unleash his explosive weapons to get the stoppage victory.
“I don’t know how [I’ll do it] until I get into the Circle, because I have to adapt myself to the situation. I think I will use my reaction speed, as well as my movement and improvisation.
“I will KO Di Bella in four rounds and let the world know that I am a very comprehensive fighter.”