Zebaztian “The Bandit” Kadestam is working harder than ever to keep hold of his most prized possession – the ONE Welterweight World Championship.
The hard-hitting Swede defended his World Title for the first time in his last match, and he will face his second challenger at ONE: DAWN OF VALOR in Jakarta, Indonesia next Friday, 25 October.
With every victory, he grows more attached to his belt, and he is adamant that Kiamrian “Brazen” Abbasov will not take the gold from him at the Istora Senayan.
“Now that I’m the World Champion, I feel I have to push a little bit harder because I know all these guys are coming for me,” says Kadestam.
“I feel my mentality has gone from chasing something to, ‘These guys are coming to take something that is mine.’
“Nobody’s going to come and steal something from me, so in every [training] session, there is a little bit more fire inside of me.”
The top contender from Novorossiysk, Russia, has been in impeccable form to earn his shot at the gold. Most recently, Abbasov stopped Japanese icon Yushin “Thunder” Okami via TKO, and before that, he only needed half a round to dismantle and submit Agilan “Alligator” Thani.
“The Bandit” has watched closely as “Brazen” has rolled through some of the division’s best athletes and earned his opportunity to compete for the top prize. He believes his rival poses a diverse threat, but not one that he cannot overcome.
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“I see he has good pressure. He’s well-rounded. He’s a strong fighter. I don’t see him as having a big weakness,” Kadestam offers.
“I think he is a good striker. He has good hands and movement. I believe he has power in his hands for sure, but I believe I’m the better striker. We will see on 25 October.”
Abbasov’s heavy hands have helped him to knockouts in almost half of his 21 career victories. This could give him the confidence to engage in a stand-up battle with “The Bandit.”
However, that would play right into Kadestam’s strengths. Like his upcoming opponent, the Pancrase Gym representative has 10 knockouts on his résumé, but he is far more prolific, and they make up a huge 83 percent of his wins.
The defending World Champion is not taking anything for granted, though, and he has worked hard to prime himself for every possibility.
“What I like is that he goes forward, and he mixes it up well. I hope he will stand with me, but I’m ready for everything,” he says.
“The Bandit” has shown his ability to defeat strong grapplers en route to the top, so no line of offense will faze the 29-year-old. He is ready to meet Abbasov head-on in the middle of the Circle and take anything that comes his way.
Based on his performances on the global stage, he does not expect the Kyrgyz athlete to take a backward step either.
That means, whatever the outcome, fans around the world should witness a thrilling battle in the Indonesian capital, which Kadestam is certain will end with the belt over his shoulder.
“I don’t think anyone wants to miss this fight, it’s going to be crazy. I promise it won’t go the distance,” he asserts.
“I see this bout as a war. I think it’s going to take a few rounds, and then it’s going to end with a KO.”