After losing his kickboxing crown in January, Alaverdi “Babyface Killer” Ramazanov is determined to turn his combat sports career around and re-establish himself in the ONE Super Series Muay Thai ranks.
The former ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Champion will switch back to “the art of eight limbs” and kick-start his road to redemption against Pongsiri PK.Saenchai Muaythaigym in the co-main event of ONE: NEXTGEN III, which premieres from Singapore on Friday, 26 November.
“I’m just happy to return to the Circle and to prove my name. I intend to [put on] a show and assert myself very seriously,” Ramazanov says.
“I’ve been back in Thailand for quite a long time – five months – and I think I’m now in my best form and charged like never before.”
But before looking forward, Ramazanov had to look back.
Setbacks are a part of a fighter’s journey, and the 26-year-old Dagestani has made peace with his loss to Capitan Petchyindee Academy at ONE: UNBREAKABLE and has learned from the errors he made in that battle.
“Well, I made a lot of mistakes, and my approach to preparation was unprofessional,” he says.
“But I believe in God, and for me, the defeat [was] predestined. I’m content with the result.”
Ramazanov can certainly get back on track in this high-profile matchup with Pongsiri – a two-division Lumpinee Stadium Muay Thai World Champion.
And while he is a world-class kickboxer, Ramazanov believes that a return to “the art of eight limbs” will benefit him, and he is looking forward to having all of his tools available in this crucial bantamweight Muay Thai showdown.
“For me, each fight is very important. I want to just win my next fight, do my job, and clear my previous defeat,” he says.
“I would say [competing in Muay Thai rules] is closer to me because I used Thai boxing in the majority of fights in my career. I like using my elbows, and Thai boxing is more spectacular and more interesting to me as a sport.”
Given Pongsiri’s excellent resume and fierce fighting style, Ramazanov – who is currently the #5-ranked bantamweight Muay Thai contender – thinks a win could propel him right to the top of the division.
“I’m the kind of person who doesn’t like to dip into the future because our Creator can sometimes manage your future unexpectedly for you,” he adds.
“But, at the same time, I want to become the best in this weight class and reassert myself both in Muay Thai and kickboxing. This opponent is very interesting to me because of his big name, so victory over him will help me assert myself in this weight class.”
Ramazanov knows that it won’t be an easy task, though. The PK.Saenchai Muaythaigym man comes from one of the most successful stables on the planet, and he is a formidable foe with a high-pressure style that can cause weaker opponents to falter.
Still, the Dagestani isn’t fazed.
Ramazanov is no stranger to squaring off against elite-level Thais, and he is confident about how he matches up with his rival – especially since he owns an 11-centimeter height advantage.
“I’ve known [Pongsiri] for a long time. This fighter is the champion of Thailand who won a lot of titles. I also know that his strength is his experience,” Ramazanov says.
“This was always the way for me. I fought short Thais all [throughout] my career. I got used to them and feel comfortable with them. Their style fits into my style.”
Ramazanov tasted World Title success in ONE Super Series once before, and he wants to do it again. The first step toward achieving that goal is taking out a highly regarded veteran in Singapore next Friday.
For “Babyface Killer,” there is simply no other option.
“No athlete steps up just to fight. Each athlete steps up to win, to get his hand raised up after the fight. So, my only goal is to win. It’s either victory or nothing,” he says.
“I have only one intent: I want to prove that I’m the best in this weight class. To do that, I definitely have to defeat [Pongsiri].”