‘The Highest Highs And The Lowest Lows’ – Liam Harrison Reflects On Roller-Coaster 2022
British legend Liam Harrison has long been known for exciting fights, but in 2022, he delivered a round of action that will forever be remembered in Muay Thai history.
At ONE 156 in April, “Hitman” faced off against Muangthai PK.Saenchai and registered one of the most incredible from-behind victories of all time.
After being floored twice by the decorated Thai star, Harrison pulled victory from the jaws of defeat by going one better and dropping his foe three times to secure the TKO win.
Purely as a spectacle, it was a moment that won’t be forgotten. And for the 37-year-old striker, it also had a surprising ripple effect that resonated strongly with countless viewers around the world.
“At the time, I didn’t actually realize how crazy and how much of an impact it would have. So many people have messaged me about how it inspired them to go back to the gym, or there were people who said, ‘I don’t even do any fight sports, you just inspired me to be a better person. You’ve inspired me to just try extra hard with life.’
“That was amazing. That’s what you do this thing for. I want to inspire people. I want to make people push themselves the extra mile and be a better person.”
Anybody who’s followed “Hitman’s” career knows that he is no stranger to epic back-and-forth battles, but this time, it came on a global platform for martial arts – and that made it even more satisfying.
While he’s earned his iconic status with great success over many years, it’s moments like his victory over Muangthai that Harrison will take pride in when he looks back on his achievements.
The Leeds native said:
“The thing is, that’s not the first time stuff like that’s happened to me in my career. I’ve got off the floor to win before when I’ve been knocked down heavily by Thai fighters and stuff like that.
“But to do it on that stage with the entire world watching, on the biggest platform there is. Now I’m coming towards the back end of my career. I’m just so happy that I got to give the world that gift of that fight. Ninety seconds of absolute mayhem.”
Liam Harrison Staying ‘Mentally Strong’ Amid Tough Times
Although Liam Harrison can look back on parts of 2022 with a smile, it also featured some extremely difficult moments.
His win over Muangthai earned him a US$100,000 performance bonus and a shot at ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Champion Nong-O Gaiyanghdao in August.
However, that highly anticipated clash was over before “Hitman” could even get into his rhythm.
One of Nong-O’s kicks caused a freak injury to Harrison’s knee, stopping the bout by first-round TKO and sending the English striker to the surgeon’s table.
Still, the veteran’s recovery appeared on track and big things were in the works – starting with a match against Pongsiri PK.Saenchai this coming January – but he sustained an injury to his other knee, putting all plans on hold for now.
“This sport gives you the highest highs and the lowest lows. Obviously, the Muangthai fight was about as high as you can get, and then the rest of the year for me has been a low.
“I got injured in the Nong-O fight, I’m injured again now, and it’s gonna be a very tough road back to get myself where I want to be. Unfortunately, I think when you have 120 fights, and you fight the way I do, and you train the way I do, it was bound to happen at some point.”
Despite his difficult situation, Harrison is forcing himself to stay positive.
The longtime star has already rehabilitated one knee, and he’s hoping to offer up a few more memorable battles before officially hanging up his gloves.
Perhaps that could mean another shot at Nong-O’s gold or a clash against high-profile names like Rodtang Jitmuangnon, and “Hitman” is refusing to write off any of those exciting prospects.
“I had these massive fights lined up. I’d love to be able to get back into the mix of those fights again or face anyone that’s going to put me back in the mix.
“It’s all [messed] up, which is a bitter pill to swallow. So I just want to try and get this knee better, and I want to be at the level of the Muangthai fight, where I will be able to drag myself off the floor and give the fans the action that they deserve.
“I’m mentally strong. If anyone’s going to come back from [a second surgery], it’s going to be me.”