Liam “Hitman” Harrison earned a shot at the ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Title with the most explosive round of action ever seen inside the Circle.
On 22 April, the English veteran picked himself up off the canvas twice before pulling off a comeback for the ages to finish Muangthai PK.Saenchai with three knockdowns of his own at ONE 156: Eersel vs. Sadikovic.
The combat sports world had its collective jaw on the floor, but “Hitman” wasn’t surprised by the outcome. He was prepared for a chaotic fight at the Singapore Indoor Stadium – and that’s exactly what he got.
“It’s exactly what I said in the pre-fight interview. What you see is what you get, and I always just bring ridiculousness like this. Whether I win or I lose, there’s always some sort of drama that goes on. This had probably as much drama as you will get in any fight in our lifetimes – all in the space of one round.
“I know I’m dangerous when I’m wearing them little gloves, and if I have to take a few shots, and if I have to get knocked down then so be it. I believe in my power so much that if I land clean in those 4-ounce gloves on anyone, they’re gone, and I proved that again.”
Harrison is the UK’s greatest-ever Muay Thai export who’s consistently faced the world’s top strikers over the course of his storied career, but he was prepared for a tough battle against former Lumpinee Stadium Muay Thai World Champion Muangthai.
He also knew the stakes were high – with a potential shot at Nong-O on the line – and he wasn’t going to accept defeat, no matter what the Thai star threw at him.
In the end, “Hitman” secured another stunning finish, was awarded the next World Title challenge, and walked away with a historic US$100,000 performance bonus from ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong.
The 36-year-old wouldn’t change a thing despite a less-than-ideal start to the fight.
“I shouldn’t have made those mistakes. I shouldn’t have got knocked down [twice]. But you know what? I don’t care. It won me Fight of the Night, it won me a big bonus, and it’s taught me some lessons. There’s a lot to take out of it and obviously I’m here to entertain the fans. We’re entertainers and that is what I did. There were millions of people watching that around the world must have been gobsmacked.
“I know I gave my mum and dad and my fiancee a bit of a heart attack, but other than that, I’m happy with it. I don’t care if I got dropped when I made a mistake. I got up, and I put it right, and I knocked him out.”
Liam Harrison Will Bring ‘Heart, Grit, Hard Punches’ To Showdown With Nong-O
Next up for Liam Harrison is a ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Title showdown with Thai legend Nong-O Gaiyanghadao.
The Evolve athlete has posted an incredible 8-0 record in ONE Super Series, with six World Title victories and three straight KOs to defend his crown.
Harrison knows it’s a big ask to get in there and stop that juggernaut, but Nong-O is a man he’s wanted to face for years, and he can’t wait to mix it up on the global stage.
“Everyone has always asked me, ‘Who do you wish you could have fought?’ I always said Nong-O, but I thought I might not ever get the chance. Now I have. And especially now for his belt as well. So it came at a perfect time.
“He’s been on an eight-fight win streak in ONE. He’s defending his title and no one’s been able to touch him, but all good things come to an end, so let’s just see what happens.”
As Harrison has shown with his own five-fight winning streak and back-to-back knockouts in ONE, he’s still at the peak of his powers and owns the kind of dynamite in his fists that can send any opponent to the canvas.
So while “Hitman” considers Nong-O one of the greatest Muay Thai competitors in history, he won’t hesitate to stand across from him and throw everything he’s got.
Nobody’s been able to topple the icon in the Circle, but Harrison believes he has the tools to do it – both mentally and physically.
The Leeds native added:
“I know what level of skill this man is on. I’m not an idiot, he’s one of the most skillful fighters [of all time]. So what else am I going to do? I’m not going to change my style now just because I’m coming across one of the best fighters of all time.
“I’m going to fight Liam Harrison style because that’s what got me to where I am today. I’m not going to start trying to out-technique him or run away. I’m not about that. I’m about heart, grit, hard punches, hard kicks, and just coming to entertain and look for the knockout.
“And listen, if anyone could knock him out, it’s me. Nobody he has fought with punches like I do. If I land clean then anyone in 4-ounce gloves will go.”