‘Let’s Give The Fans In Tokyo What They Want’ – Rade Opacic Vows To Stage Heavyweight Kickboxing War At ONE 165
Rade Opacic will turn another dream into reality on Sunday, January 28.
The Serbian knockout artist ticked Lumpinee Boxing Stadium off his bucket list last time out, and next up, he’ll fight in Tokyo, Japan, against Iraj Azizpour at ONE 165: Superlek vs. Takeru live on pay-per-view.
Opacic has longed to compete in the Japanese capital since he was a child, and with the opportunity finally here, he can’t wait to produce an exciting battle for the passionate kickboxing fans in attendance.
Looking ahead to his heavyweight kickboxing clash with Azizpour, the 26-year-old said:
“Iraj is a banger. He likes to fight. I like to fight. So let’s give the fans in Tokyo what they want – a real kickboxing fight. And it’s amazing we’re fighting in Tokyo, the home of kickboxing. It’s a big thing, especially for us kickboxers because literally kickboxing started there.
“To be honest, fighting in ONE has all been a dream come true because last time I fought at Lumpinee Stadium, and now, I’m fighting in Tokyo, Japan. When I was young, I was dreaming about this. Now, it’s all happening.”
With a 6-1 ONE record that includes five knockout victories, Opacic is flying high in the world’s largest martial arts organization, and another high-profile scalp would bring him closer to his biggest goal – becoming the inaugural ONE Heavyweight Kickboxing World Champion.
Earning the chance to fight for gold would make the matchup in Tokyo even sweeter, but he must deal with Azizpour to cement his status as the rightful first challenger for the vacant strap.
The KBKS Team representative said:
“Obviously, fighting for the World Title is the goal after this fight. Even before this fight, I thought maybe I would get a call [to fight Roman Kryklia for the belt], but in the end, they gave me Iraj, so now he is my biggest problem.
“When I finish him, I’m going to go for the belt because I know I deserve it. I will prove to everybody that I deserve it and that I will become the champion. But I’m not going to look too many steps forward because first, I have to handle this.
“It’s on me to put on my best performance and to keep beating everybody, to keep chasing my dreams and making them come true.”
Rade Opacic Expects To Knock Out Iraj Azizpour
Rade Opacic will not overlook Iraj Azizpour as he guns for a ONE Heavyweight Kickboxing World Title shot, but he believes the Iranian is a great matchup for him.
When the pair clash at Ariake Arena in Tokyo, the surging Serbian expects Azizpour to meet him in the middle of the ring. If that happens, Opacic will be in his element – trading blows and thrilling the crowd.
“Azizpour has knockout power. He’s a big guy. He put Kryklia down, he put Ismael Londt down. He can definitely hit hard. But I like fighting styles like this guy’s. He stands there and doesn’t move. He throws some spinning kicks, but in the end, he is there, standing still. I just like to stand there and bang and see who the strongest guy is. So that’s a good thing for me.
“As I said, he has good power in kicks and punches, and he’s experienced. But I’m just going to try to develop my style in the fight, my pace, my pressure. And we will see who will get the better of it. I’m sure it’s going to be a good fight and that we won’t be going the distance.”
Opacic’s phenomenal finishing ratio has earned him legions of fans since he started his ONE tenure in December 2020, and he’s confident he will add another KO to his slate at ONE 165.
While Azizpour has proven his skill and durability at the top level, the Belgrade native feels that his own power will be enough to get the win in this highly anticipated heavyweight slugfest.
“I think I’m a better fighter, and I’m going to show it on January 28. I’m going to finish it. Anybody who is in the ring with me, I’m going to go to finish them. It doesn’t matter if it’s Iraj or anybody else.
“Iraj has a good chin. He can take a lot of punches. But he hasn’t felt mine yet. I’m going to do my best to finish him in any way possible.”