Jamal Yusupov was previously scheduled to challenge for the ONE Featherweight Muay Thai World Title a few years ago, but an unfortunate injury sidelined him.
However, after his unanimous decision victory over “Smokin” Jo Nattawut at ONE 159: De Ridder vs. Bigdash on Friday, July 22, it seems the Russian-Turkish striker is back in the World Title conversation.
From the get-go, the #5-ranked featherweight Muay Thai contender used his piston-like straight left punch to demolish his rival’s defense and rack up serious points from the judges.
Nattawut struggled to respond, but roughly two minutes into the opening round, he began to adjust and attack with right hands and elbows.
When the second frame kicked off, Yusupov controlled the action in the center of the Circle. The Russian-Turkish star continuously popped his opponent from the outside, but he was cautious not to fall into “Smokin” Jo’s dangerous elbow range.
However, with 30 seconds remaining in the stanza, Nattawut found his footing and clipped his foe with three consecutive right hands.
Just as the bout seemed to be turning in the Thai’s favor, Yusupov stepped forward with another straight left hand that backed his rival toward the Circle Wall, and then he connected with a forearm that was meant to be a left hook. Nattawut tumbled to the canvas, and referee Olivier Coste dished out an eight-count.
“Smokin” Jo answered it and survived the rest of the round, but he entered the third canto far behind on the scorecards. The Thai’s forward aggression showed his desperation, and he swung wildly at Yusupov, looking for the haymaker finish. Unfortunately, in one of the exchanges, Nattawut caught an unintentional finger to the eye.
After recovering, he and Yusupov went back into the fray, but by that time, the Turkey-based fighter had done enough to seal the unanimous decision victory.
The win moved Yusupov’s record to 54-9 and possibly put him in line to compete for the ONE Featherweight Muay Thai World Championship at some time in the future.