The Italian was due to welcome the Indian star to ONE Championship in a heavyweight clash at ONE: DAWN OF HEROES, but he fell seriously ill with just hours to go until the show began.
It was a contest that promised fireworks from two of The Home Of Martial Arts’ most powerful athletes, and the 36-year-old was desperate to save it, but he had no choice but to bow out.
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“It was a horrible experience. I had to fight a tough staph infection on my leg,” he explains.
“I felt so broken and sad. I wanted to fight even with one leg, but at this level, you can’t fight if you are not 100 percent.
“I was ready, but we were just very unlucky.”
Both men vowed to be back as soon as possible, and they were delighted to find out that their meeting had been rescheduled for main card of the second half of the biggest show in martial arts history – ONE: CENTURY PART II.
The chance to compete at the Ryogoku Kokugikan has helped to make up for Cerilli’s disappointment because he has always harbored ambitions of going to Japan.
“Fighting on this card and in Tokyo is a dream of mine,” he adds.
“I have always been fascinated by Japanese fighting culture and their fighting soul.”
Back when “The Hammer” was in training camp the first time around, he predicted he could cause a ton of problems for his rival with his aggressive striking.
His approach seems unlikely to change, even though “Singh” believes that it will give him the opportunity to impose his Olympic wrestling skills and “break his will.” Cerilli does not like to give predictions, but he seems to doubt that will be the case on 13 October.
“Let’ s see if he can do it,” the Cage Warriors Heavyweight World Champion says.
However, there is one thing he is happy to predict, and that is fans will not want to take their eyes off the Circle when he steps under the lights. The Hammer Team and Gloria Fight Center representative is ready to meet his rival head-on, and he expects the same from Bhullar.
“This will be for sure the fight of the night. We both will not hold back,” he adds.
- Watch PART I in USA on 12 October at 8pm EST and PART II on 13 October at 4am EST
- Watch PART I in India on 13 October at 5:30am IST and PART II at 1:30pm IST
- Watch PART I in Indonesia on 13 October at 7am WIB and PART II at 3pm WIB
- Watch PART I in Singapore on 13 October at 8am SGT and PART II at 4pm SGT
- Watch PART I in the Philippines on 13 October at 8am PHT and PART II at 4pm PHT
- Watch PART I in Japan on 13 October at 9am JST and PART II at 5pm JST
ONE: CENTURY is the biggest World Championship martial arts event in history with 28 World Champions featured across various martial arts. No organization has ever promoted two full-scale World Championship events on the same day.
The Home Of Martial Arts will break new ground as it brings multiple World Title bouts, a trio of World Grand Prix Championship Finals, and several World Champion versus World Champion matches to the famous Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan on 13 October.