Even before he stepped inside the Circle this past Friday, 20 May, Joseph Lasiri knew he would be wearing ONE Championship gold around his waist.
The Italian-Moroccan underdog delivered an incredible performance against Thai superstar Prajanchai PK.Saenchai in the co-main event of ONE 157.
But even before his historic victory over one of Muay Thai’s pound-for-pound greats at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, Lasiri had long envisioned himself as a ONE World Champion.
“The Hurricane” said in his post-fight interview:
“Maybe I didn’t sleep because I dreamed of this. I dreamed of this moment inside the arena – the moment next to my coach, next to my mom with the gold, the moment I passed before, the fear I passed before, so I didn’t sleep. I just saw this before I went into the arena, and Alhamdulillah, everything has happened.”
Lasiri was firing on all cylinders against the former ONE Strawweight Muay Thai World Champion. Prajanchai was game to trade power shots all evening, but the Italian-Moroccan fighter was willing to match him strike for strike at the center of the Circle.
“The Hurricane” remained a step ahead of the Thai kingpin at every juncture, and in the middle of the second frame, he landed a sharp right uppercut that opened up a gash on the bridge of Prajanchai’s nose.
Lasiri dealt even more damage in the third, and by the end of the stanza, the Bangkok resident could no longer continue. In fact, he quit on the stool between rounds.
As a result, the Monza native earned a third-round TKO victory, the ONE Strawweight Muay Thai World Title, and a hefty US$50,000 performance bonus.
It’s been a remarkable turnaround for Lasiri, who began his ONE Championship career with four straight losses in the flyweight division.
Following this monumental win, and his third straight promotional victory, the 30-year-old reminisced on his early days in ONE. He said:
“Today, I only showed the people who didn’t know, but for me, I show myself every time, that I’m this man. The first time I came to ONE Championship, I lost. And then again, I came back, and I lost again. For me, I knew before that I could become a [World] Champion.
“I am lucky to find people that help me every day – my teammates and my coach who are training me and supporting me, my mom, my dad, my family, my girlfriend, and everyone who supported me because it’s not easy before you come to fight week.”
Joseph Lasiri Willing to Grant Prajanchai Immediate Rematch, Wants Kickboxing Belt
Joseph Lasiri may be basking in the glory of his victory, but he knows this is just the beginning. “The Hurricane” admits that winning the belt is merely the first step to being the division’s king and now, he has to prove that he is truly worthy of his reign.
The Italian-Moroccan star is willing to run it back with Prajanchai to erase all doubt, but he is also willing to face any challenger the promotion offers.
“I don’t care about my opponent. I told you when I’m training, when I’m fighting, I’m too focused on myself. So if you give me a rematch against Prajanchai or if you give me someone else, okay.
“My teammates will be working on the game plan, but I will do the same thing. In training camp, we will start the suffering, and I will pass that. I will start to fear, but I will pass that. I will do everything like [always], and I will pass that. So, it doesn’t matter. I don’t care if he will ask for the rematch.”
However, defending the Muay Thai belt is just part of Lasiri’s overall plan for total domination.
“The Hurricane” also eyes the ONE Strawweight Kickboxing World Championship, which is currently vacant after former titleholder, the legendary Sam-A Gaiyanghadao, officially retired from the sport a few months ago.
“I want to go to the kickboxing one. I want to come back with the gloves. The title in the strawweight kickboxing [division] is vacant, I hope [ONE Championship] will put me there.”