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‘It Changed My Life’ – Anatoly Malykhin Relishing World Title Win, Says Arjan Bhullar Still ‘Running’

Mar 2, 2022

Anatoly Malykhin went from a top contender to the ONE Interim Heavyweight World Champion at ONE: BAD BLOOD, and winning the gold has already had an enormous impact.

On March 11, the unbeaten Russian juggernaut plowed through Kirill Grishenko to claim the belt with a second-round knockout in the evening’s main event.

The victory has given “Sladkiy” a new level of security in his martial arts journey, along with the confidence to strive for more as he aims to dominate ONE’s heavyweight MMA landscape for years to come.

Malykhin said:

“It changed my life financially. I got got a good pay[cheque] plus a bonus from Chatri [Sityodtong, ONE’s Chairman and CEO]. I’ve been dreaming of becoming ONE World Champion. I trained a lot. My family put a lot of effort into it, and my dream came true.

“Chatri said that it’s only the beginning. There were many people back home who supported me, sent me messages, and my close relatives are very happy. Life has got better and I am ready to reach for new heights.”

Malykhin’s incredible showing and KO finish bagged him two performance bonuses from Sityodtong – boosting his total earnings by US$100,000 – but the windfall hasn’t changed his priorities.

Family always comes first for the 34-year-old, and following his World Title success, he took them away for some much-deserved rest and relaxation.

Now, he’s eager to get back to business – although his wife, Anita, may still be in line for a sizeable gift as a thank-you for her unwavering support.

Malykhin said:

“[To celebrate] I picked up my wife, our kid and nanny, and we went to the north of Thailand. Relaxing, enjoying nature, swimming, and trying to recover from training and fighting. My fight was moved several times and I have not had a rest for a while, so we picked up a quiet hotel to relax. I have not spent the money yet, but I am going to buy a nice car for my wife. She has been dreaming about it for a long time.

“Now, I’m going to fly back to Phuket and start training at Tiger Muay Thai. When I was 20 years old, I used to think that I had a lot of time ahead of me, but now I am 34, and I think I should be pushing forward all the time. Days fly by, and I am afraid of missing out on something so that I can retire at 38 and know that I’ve done everything in my power to get to the top.”

Anatoly Malykhin Says Arjan Bhullar Is Still Scared

As he returns to the grind in Thailand, Anatoly Malykhin is ready to focus on the tasks ahead in hopes of building his legacy.

The most obvious next step would be a unification bout with ONE Heavyweight World Champion Arjan Bhullar, but the interim titleholder still thinks the Canadian-Indian is trying to avoid their highly anticipated showdown.

The Russian said:

“I do not think it will ever happen. [Bhullar] seems to be running away from me all the time. I won’t be surprised if it happens again now. He has not fought any decent opponents of my level in the past. If I have to fight him I will, but it will be a very quick fight.”

For his part, Bhullar earned the heavyweight crown with a stoppage victory over longtime divisional king Brandon Vera at ONE: DANGAL last year.

It was a dominant performance from the Commonwealth Games Wrestling Gold Medalist, but “Sladkiy” doesn’t expect to be threatened if they square off inside the Circle – something he’s made clear since negotiations for their planned World Title bout fell through.

“He has nothing to show against me. He is short, with short arms and legs. He is a fighter in a different class. 

“He is not a bad fighter – just not an outstanding one. If we were to fight, and the fans wanted the bout to go a bit longer, I could try and not KO him in the first round. But you really have to let me know in advance.”

Anatoly Malykhin on Arjan Bullar

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