Following on his outstanding start to life in ONE Championship in 2019, “Pretty Boy” Troy Worthen is determined to carry his winning momentum into 2020.
Next Friday, 28 February, the undefeated American athlete will square off against Mark “Tyson” Fairtex Abelardo in a battle of bantamweight finishers at ONE: KING OF THE JUNGLE, which takes place at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Worthen is committed to competing four or five times this year as he attempts to climb to the top of the bantamweight ladder, but for now, he is strictly focused on getting his hand raised against a dangerous knockout artist.
“Though I am super excited for what 2020 has in store for me, I am also taking it one match at a time,” he says.
“I can’t look past anybody. Right now, 28 February is all I am concerned with.”
Worthen, whose perfect record stands at 6-0, has been excellent since he stepped onto the global stage last July.
First, the NCWA Wrestling Champion was tremendous in his debut performance against “The Ghost” Chen Rui at ONE: MASTERS OF DESTINY as he imposed his elite wrestling ability and finished off his Chinese opponent with ground strikes to secure a win by second-round KO.
“Pretty Boy” returned to the win column four months later at ONE: EDGE OF GREATNESS in Singapore when he overwhelmed “Rock Man” Chen Lei to score the same result.
That second win was a highlight for the 26-year-old, who moved to “The Lion City” last year to train with the Evolve team, and he is looking forward to competing in his adopted hometown again.
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“Fighting in Singapore is awesome,” he says.
“I’ve gotten the crowd love right from the start. I feel like I’m representing Singapore as well as the United States whenever I’m competing.”
With all that said, Worthen is quick to speak about his respect for his upcoming opponent and the danger he will pose in the Circle. The New Zealander earned his place in The Home Of Martial Arts with a stellar run on Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series that included a first-round knockout of Shinechagtga Zoltsetseg.
He continued that success on the global stage with a dramatic comeback to stop previously-undefeated Daichi Takenaka and a victory by unanimous decision against Chinese boxer Ayideng Jumayi, during which “Tyson’s” striking prowess was on full display.
Having studied Abelardo’s recent bouts, the Worthen is impressed by the Fairtex gym representative’s resilience and warrior spirit.
“What I respect about him and what I think is his biggest strength is that he is a true fighter,” he says.
“He’s in there to compete and fight the entire time. In his match against Takenaka, he was getting beat on and he just kept coming back, throwing elbows off his back even though he couldn’t get back up. He found a way to win and got that stoppage.”
Worthen believes that will help to give the fans a memorable contest, and one that might surprise a few people.
“I think a lot of people are looking at this as a typical striker-versus-grappler match-up, and I think I get overlooked in my striking quite a bit, so maybe I’ll shock some people in that aspect,” he adds.
“I’m very confident in my wrestling. If I want the fight to be on the ground, then it will be on the ground, so I think higher-level grapplers are going to give me more of a challenge, but Mark Fairtex is very game, and I know he will throw elbows off his back, so I have to mind my Ps and Qs.
“Overall, it’s a match-up of styles that fits me pretty well.”
Now that he owns a pair of sensational stoppages on the global stage, Worthen is further convinced he can add another finish to his résumé.
It may be Abelardo who has an impressive collection of 11 KOs on his record, but “Pretty Boy” is confident his trend of stoppages is most likely to continue at ONE: KING OF THE JUNGLE.
“I’m kind of getting known for these late second-round TKO stoppages, so maybe I can keep that going,” he says.
“It would be nice if I can become famous for getting that finish every time!”