‘Not Once Did I Beat Him Without Getting Hurt’ – Sitthichai Braces For Tough Sixth Battle With Marat Grigorian
The elite featherweight stars will run it back for the sixth time at ONE 165: Superlek vs. Takeru on Sunday, January 28, and Sitthichai expects another intense showdown when they come to blows in Tokyo, Japan.
Every one of their previous matches has been a thriller, and although “Killer Kid” comes in with a 4-1 record in those head-to-head contests, he knows from experience that nothing will come easy at the Ariake Arena.
Reflecting on their history, Sitthichai said:
“Defeating Marat four times was an important factor that made me become one of the top kickboxers in the world. It was a big turning point in my career because Marat was already a famous fighter when I beat him, so I became more famous.
“Going back to the four fights I beat him, I had to work really hard because he’s not an ordinary striker – he is one of the toughest strikers. To fight him, I needed to do my homework. And not once did I beat him without getting hurt.”
Sitthichai is just as motivated for this battle as for any of their past encounters – partly because he knows he must be at his best and partly because the stakes are still high.
Grigorian currently holds the featherweight kickboxing division’s #2 ranking and Sitthichai is hot on his heels at #3, which means a victory in Tokyo is crucial.
Plus, the pound-for-pound greats are both 32 years of age, and another setback could derail their aspirations of ever becoming the ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Champion.
“Killer Kid” said:
“I think our paths must cross because we are both on the same level and our skill brings us to face each other again. I’m okay with it. And I’m ready to fight him for the seventh or eighth time, too.
“Every fight in ONE is important because it is the number one promotion in the world right now. But, of course, this is an important fight for both of us. The winner of this fight will be one step closer to the World Title shot.
“Even if I lose, I won’t give up hope. I will do my best. And for the doubters, I will prove myself to you in this fight. The end of my career is not that far away, so I will put everything to it.”
Sitthichai Preparing Game Plan To Beat ‘Improved’ Marat Grigorian
Having already duked it out for 21 rounds, Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong knows Marat Grigorian well, and that means he is treating the Armenian slugger with the utmost respect.
Moreover, “Killer Kid” has seen developments in Grigorian since they last fought almost five years ago, so he doesn’t expect to face a carbon copy of his rival in the ring at ONE 165.
“Marat has heavy hands. He is really tough and difficult to fight against. I’ve experienced it several times. But I managed to beat him four times thanks to my agility and fight IQ. I can’t underestimate his knockout power. I can be knocked out in one punch if I’m careless enough.
“He has really improved since we last fought. In the past, he would only walk forward without thinking. But now he fights with more tactics. He knows when he should back down. It seems his style is more technical.”
With that said, the cerebral Thai striker believes he has formulated the right strategy to deal with his old foe.
Despite losing a hard-fought five-round war the last time they competed against one another, Sitthichai plans to come in with some added tricks to get back on the winning track.
“I’m working hard, and I have made a good game plan. I asked my trainer and sparring partners to copy his style, and I found a way to beat him. I prepared my knees to neutralize his punches.
“I think it will be fun and exciting for all three rounds. But I believe I can do better than him.”