‘My Back Is Up Against The Wall’ – Edgar Tabares Aims To Derail Johan Ghazali’s Hype Train In Critical Clash
Edgar Tabares is determined to prove he deserves to compete alongside the best of the best in ONE Championship.
On December 8 in U.S. primetime, he will return to face young phenom Johan Ghazali in a make-or-break flyweight Muay Thai clash at ONE Fight Night 17: Kryklia vs. Roberts on Prime Video.
After going winless through his first two appearances in the organization, Tabares knows the stakes are high in his battle with the 17-year-old prodigy at ONE’s historic all-Muay Thai card in Bangkok, Thailand.
Now in his final preparations for that bout at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium, the Mexican standout spoke to onefc.com about his fight camp and mindset:
“I’m very anxious and motivated to win. I’ve canceled everything I had planned to prepare for this fight.”
A former WBC Muay Thai International Champion, Tabares has struggled against elite competition thus far in ONE, suffering stoppage defeats against longtime ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion Rodtang Jitmuangnon and ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Title challenger Elias Mahmoudi.
Despite putting up courageous performances that earned him plenty of respect, the 29-year-old admits that he’s feeling extra pressure as he searches for his first promotional victory:
“In Thailand, many people have come up to me telling me that I should feel good because despite losing, I had put up a good fight. Regardless of that, I do feel like my back is up against the wall.”
Indeed, Tabares knows that a third consecutive loss could spell the end of his time in the world’s largest martial arts organization.
Humble and honest to his core, he’s not shying away from the fact that this is the most important fight of his career – one that could decide if he stays or goes:
“I feel like this is my opportunity to show that I deserve to be in ONE, and I won’t let the opportunity go to waste. I know I’ve said it before previous fights, but I have a different mentality this time. My career is dependent on this fight, which is why I want to demonstrate that I belong in ONE.
“I’m not underestimating Johan. He’s a young, experienced fighter, but I want to use his age against him. This fight will determine whether I stay in ONE or whether I have to say goodbye.”
‘He’s Just A Kid’ – Tabares Hopes Experience Will Lead To Victory Over Ghazali
Edgar Tabares has been given no easy task for ONE Fight Night 17.
His foe – American-Malaysian teenager Johan Ghazali – boasts an unblemished four-fight record in ONE and is widely regarded as one of the most promising young talents in all of Muay Thai.
But while “Jojo’s” youth and energy might help him in some respects, Tabares says that his own maturity and physical development will be an advantage on December 8:
“I don’t like saying that I’m better than my opponents. I think one of my strengths will be my maturity and experience. I’m an adult, and I’m in my physical prime. While Johan is strong, he’s still a kid.”
The Mexican plans to use that maturity to derail Ghazali’s hype train in highlight-reel fashion.
Rather than a quick one-punch knockout, Tabares envisions emerging victorious – with an extra US$50,000 performance bonus in his pocket – after an all-out war that showcases his nation’s style of combat.
“I wouldn’t want the fight to go the distance. I want the fight to end in a stoppage, and I want to earn a bonus. We’re going to see how the fight unfolds with this strategy we’re planning on using against Johan, and I’m going to give it my all.
“I like to be beaten up, bloodied up, cut up. I want to show the Mexican style of fighting.”