‘One More Step Toward My Goal’ – Roman Kryklia Still Not Satisfied After Historic Muay Thai World Title Win
Last Friday, December 8, the ONE Light Heavyweight Kickboxing World Champion and 2022 ONE Heavyweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix Champion picked up his second golden strap when he knocked out Alex Roberts in round two of their main event clash in Bangkok.
Now also the ONE Heavyweight Muay Thai World Champion with a perfect 6-0 slate in the world’s largest martial arts organization, Kryklia has solidified his position as the top dog against some elite opposition – but the humble Ukrainian is not one to make bold claims.
Although he was glad to get the win at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium – upping his career record to 50-7 – the Golden Belts representative is reluctant to call himself the greatest and still considers his game a work in progress.
Kryklia told onefc.com after beating Roberts:
“I never said that I’m the best in the world. I just try to be. And this win was just one more step toward my goal to be the best.
“It’s a great moment. But to be truthful, I’m disappointed about what I did in the ring. I won, it was a knockout, but it wasn’t the goal that I wanted. It was just one more lesson for me. It was a good lesson for my future. I’ve got no injuries. Everything’s good. I should be very happy, but this was not my best fight.”
While many athletes would gladly take a second-round KO and not worry about how it came to fruition, Kryklia feels like he was slow off the mark in the opening round.
However, upon returning to his corner, he had the time to reset with the help of his coach, Andrei Gridin, and his training partner, ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Champion Chingiz Allazov.
From there, the Ukrainian superstar needed just 25 seconds to finish the fight with a left hook, and he credits his team for giving him a necessary boost:
“When I came to the corner after the first round, I had to [recover to be in] my best condition. So I just counted the seconds, and I was thinking I needed to recover fast. One minute was enough, and I came to the second round fresh.
“[Chingiz] is one of the most important people in my life. At our level, we always need some new motivation. My coach and Chingiz are two people who motivate me to be the very best. If I don’t have my coach or Chingiz in my corner, it’s like there is only 50 percent of me.”
Roman Kryklia Takes Aim At Heavyweight Kickboxing World Title
Already a World Champion and a World Grand Prix Champion in two kickboxing weight classes before ONE Fight Night 17, Roman Kryklia showed that his skills can transfer seamlessly to a new striking art against Alex Roberts.
Switching to “the art of eight limbs” in smaller 4-ounce gloves was initially a shock to the system, but the cerebral knockout artist thinks it ultimately played in his favor.
Still, he still sees room for improvement now that he’s experienced competing in ONE’s Muay Thai rule set, and he’ll go back to the drawing board in order to make himself even more effective.
“[Fighting in the small gloves] was a little bit unexpected [but] it certainly was to my advantage because I like to use my speed, and I like to use punches from distance. But today was very slow, so it was difficult to say. We will analyze this fight with my coach and my team and see.”
Kryklia now has two World Title belts to defend across two sports, and he’s eager to meet some new challengers, but he’s not content with the haul in his trophy cabinet just yet.
After winning the ONE Heavyweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix last year, he’d love to convert that silver into gold by fighting for the inaugural ONE Heavyweight Kickboxing World Title in the future.
The 32-year-old is not worried about who he faces for it – and he welcomes any opponent who hopes to become the division’s first king.
“I want to defend my ONE Light Heavyweight Kickboxing World Title. But, it’ll be more interesting for me to get the heavyweight [World Title] belt in kickboxing because I’m the World Grand Prix Champion in the heavyweight division. I want the new belt, and I’m waiting.
“ONE Championship has many fighters, and now there are many new fighters in the heavyweight division. I’m waiting for an invitation from them!”