The ONE Heavyweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix Championship Final matchup has officially been decided, and it will feature a trilogy fight between two of the biggest strikers on the planet.
On Thursday, September 29, both Roman Kryklia and Iraj Azizpour won their semifinal bouts at ONE 161 – albeit in very different ways – and they will settle their longstanding rivalry in a clash for the tournament’s prestigious silver belt.
Here, we recap their pivotal semifinal victories at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Kryklia Crushes Inocente In 52 Seconds
Reigning ONE Light Heavyweight Kickboxing World Champion Roman Kryklia showed that he’s just as dangerous at heavyweight by dominating Brazilian legend Guto Inocente.
The towering Ukrainian delivered a striking masterclass in the Grand Prix semifinals to finish Inocente in just 52 seconds – his fastest win on the global stage.
After the opening bell, Kryklia threw quick hands as he moved into his opponent’s range, where he was met by chopping leg kicks. However, none of those kicks disturbed the 30-year-old, who continued advancing deeper into enemy territory.
As Inocente tried to defend against Kryklia’s onslaught, he received a crushing right hand on the jaw that instantly dropped him to the canvas.
The Brazilian just barely regained his feet following the eight-count, but he was clearly on wobbly legs.
Recognizing that, Kryklia immediately sprung back into action with a clean head kick that led referee Elias Dolaptsis to intervene and award the TKO victory.
The win earned the Ukrainian colossus a US$50,000 performance bonus, a spot in the tournament final, and a chance to break a 1-1 tie with Azizpour.
Meanwhile, the 36-year-old Inocente suffered his first loss in ONE after a pair of dominant knockout triumphs.
Azizpour Outworks Chaves To Claim Dominant Decision
Iraj Azizpour and Bruno Chaves duked it out for a spot in the ONE Heavyweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix Championship Final, and it was the Iranian who progressed after a calculated three-round battle.
Azizpour started round one by looking for gaps to thread his high kick behind the jab, while his debuting Brazilian foe chopped in low kicks and hard right hands.
However, neither man really took control of the contest through the first three minutes as they found their feet inside the Circle.
In round two, the Iranian began to load up behind his overhand right and constantly backed up Chaves to stem much of his offense.
Then growing increasingly confident in the final frame, Azizpour unleashed more spinning attacks from his arsenal and also landed a thudding left high kick that was the cleanest connection of the bout.
With three rounds in the bag, the 33-year-old Lahijan native took the unanimous decision nod, extended his unbeaten slate in ONE Championship to 3-0, and earned his chance to fight Kryklia for the silver belt.