ONE Championship will return to its homebase, the Singapore Indoor Stadium, for the first time this year on Friday, Feb. 22, for ONE Championship: Call to Greatness.
The promotion’s fifth event of 2019 is headlined by the women’s atomweight Muay Thai world championship. Current women’s atomweight kickboxing world titleholder Stamp Fairtex attempts to win another belt when she goes up against American challenger Janet Todd, who makes her promotional debut.
The main card features two bouts in the lightweight grand prix quarterfinals, including Singapore’s own Amir Khan opposite Costa Rica’s Ariel Sexton and former title challenger Ev Ting against dangerous Turk Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev.
In the night’s kickboxing action, former GLORY champion Nieky Holzken returns against Mustapha Haida, dominant knockout artist Petchdam Petchyindee Academy fights Japan’s Masahide Kudo, and budding star Regian Eersel meets UFC veteran Anthony Njokuani.
The preliminary action kicks off at 5:15 am ET on ONE Championship’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. The main card continues live at 7:30 a.m. ET on B/R Live (United States), YouTube, and ONE Championship’s App.
ONE Championship continues to feature Muay Thai prominently on its cards. This time, it’s a women’s atomweight championship showdown between Stamp Fairtex and Janet Todd. What should we know about these two ladies? Which woman will emerge as the champion?
ONE pushed the promotion to another level of success by adding multiple combat sports to its fight cards. Mixed martial arts is well on its way to garnering attention in the promotion’s most prolific countries, like the Philippines and Singapore. However, the addition of more popular martial arts like Muay Thai, kickboxing and boxing will help ONE grow its product in countries like Thailand, Myanmar and China. The addition of fighters on this card like Nieky Holzken, Regia Eersel and Mustapha Haida have increased the depth of the roster and allow for more consistency in the product from event to event.
Stamp became the first and only kickboxing champion under the ONE Super Series banner when she took out Chinese kickboxing champion Kai Ting Chuang in her promotional debut. After knocking out her opponent in only 19 seconds at the ONE Warrior Series in September 2018, Stamp claimed the women’s atomweight title in a back-and-forth, five-round affair. The 21-year-old returns to her roots of Muay Thai in her bid to become the first ONE athlete to win a promotional title in both kickboxing and Muay Thai. The move back to her traditional style of fighting will open up more of Stamp’s arsenal, including her devastating knees and elbows. She brings an impressive record of 61-15-5 into her upcoming championship bout.
Stamp takes on the American Todd. The 33-year-old Californian didn’t have a similar upbringing in martial arts as Stamp did. The former gymnast didn’t pick up the gloves until she joined a cardio kickboxing class as an adult. From that point, she was introduced to Muay Thai by the man that would eventually become her husband. After years of difficulty finding events to compete on in the United States, Todd took to international waters to find opportunities. She medalled at multiple international amateur competitions, including the 2017 IFMA World Championships, the World Games, and the IFMA Pan American Games.
The championship contest will likely be a back-and-forth, tit-for-tat affair that features a clash of styles. Stamp’s ability to use her clinch game to dominate her opponent has helped her throughout her career. She is at her best on the inside, where she can score with brutal knees, elbows, and boxing combinations. Todd has great long-range tools, including a strong teep kick, solid boxing, and sneaky counters inside. After a competitive fight, the title will be headed back to Thailand, making Stamp the first two-sport champion in promotional history.
There are two other significant kickboxing showdowns in the main-card lineup. Nieky Holzken takes on Mustapha Haida, while Petchdam Petchyindee Academy clashes with Masahide Kudo. Casual fans are probably far more familiar with Holzken and Petchdam. Will either of these men face a true threat from their opponent at this show?
The 20-year-old Petchdam has become a prominent figure in ONE in a short period of time. The former WBC Muay Thai world champion has landed two devastating knockouts to kick off his run with the promotion. He knocked out K-1 veteran Josh Tonna in his debut in July. Just three months later, he scored an 86-second knockout against China’s Kenny Tse, which would become the fastest knockout in ONE Super Series history. Petchdam will compete under kickboxing rules for the first time after compiling an incredible 91 wins in only 111 Muay Thai contests.
His first opponent under the new rule set is Kudo, the RISE featherweight champ. The 27-year-old has garnered attention as an exciting fighter, which is showcased in his nickname — “Crazy Rabbit.” The Shinjuku Lefty Gym member has far less experience competing at the highest level, but he could offer some problems for Petchdam under kickboxing rules. There is one thing that is clear heading into this match-up, however. Kudo won’t back down from his more experienced foe. He will trade blow for blow if Petchdam opts to engage in a firefight. Kudo may just have the better boxing, but he may just be another victim to fall to the exciting, highlight-reel-producing Thai.
Meanwhile, Holzken faces one of his toughest opponents since leaving GLORY in 2017. The former champion and current top-10 welterweight is widely regarded as one of the best kickboxers of the last decade. He has defeated a number of top-ranked opponents on his way to an impressive 90 career victories in 105 bouts. He welcomes back Haida, who has been in or around the top 10 at welterweight for years.
The 30-year-old Haida has defeated top competition, including two-time K-1 MAX world champion Andy Souwer, 2014 Kunlun Fight 70-kilogram tournament champ Dzianis Zuev and former K-1 MAX kingpin Enriko Kehl. Haida made a gigantic splash in his promotional debut against Daniel Dawson, too. He engaged in an all-out war for three rounds before finally putting an end to the match late in the final frame. The bout was recognized by the promotion as its “Fight of the Year,” and it even made its way onto the list of contenders for the 2018 Combat Press Kickboxing awards.
Holzken may be the sharper, more experienced fighter, but Haida offers a number of challenges for his ranked opponent. The Italian has showcased his ability to adjust to a fight’s ebbs and flows, capitalize on reading his opponent’s attacks, and deliver the fight-ending blow. Holzken is one of the best boxers in the division, even contending for a world title under boxing rules, which makes this fight an uphill battle for Haida. However, it’s a battle Haida can win with a great performance.
Which fight is the sleeper match-up on this card?
There are a number of high-level match-ups on the card that are flying under the radar. There are two lightweight grand prix quarterfinals featuring a mix of prospects and established veterans. There is the return of former strawweight titleholder Dejdamrong Sor. Amnuaysirichoke. There’s also the debut of GLORY featherweight Chenglong Zhang. Plus, there’s submission wizard Masakazu Imanari’s return against top South Korean prospect Kwon Won Il. Yet, there is one bout that truly stands above the rest. It’s a fight that would fit in perfectly on the main card of any high-level kickboxing or Muay Thai event: the battle between rising star Regian Eersel and UFC veteran Anthony Njokuani.
Eersel has risen up the ranks over the past few years through his exciting style and dominant performances under both Muay Thai and kickboxing rules. The 26-year-old is currently riding a 13-fight winning streak that includes wins over Sergej Braun, Darryl Sichtman and Djibril Ehouo. Eersel won the Lion Fight super middleweight title with one of the greatest knockouts in one of the greatest fights in Lion Fight history against fellow ONE fighter Jo Nattawut. Eersel made his ONE debut with a strong victory over top welterweight Brad Riddell. Since that victory, “The Immortal” has added wins over Kunlun Fight veteran Nuerla and Sweden’s Joakim Hagg.
Njokuani, a UFC and WEC veteran, left the sport of MMA in 2016 to pursue a career in the striking arts. The Nigerian-born athlete had competed in kickboxing prior to his run under the Zuffa umbrella, but since returning, he has done the best work of his career. The 38-year-old has won 26 of his 27 kickboxing bouts, none bigger than his decision victory over kickboxing legend Andy Souwer in his ONE debut. After shocking the world with one of the biggest upsets of 2018, Njokuani will once again fly under the radar heading into what will be his most difficult fight to date.
Eersel will be the heavy favorite leading into the contest, but Njokuani’s renewed focus in the striking arts will make this an intriguing contest. However, expect the Surinamese-Dutch kickboxer to reign supreme over the former UFC fighter.
Main Card (B/R Live, 7:30 a.m. ET)
Muay Thai (Women’s AtomW Championship): Stamp Fairtex vs. Janet Todd
Stamp by decision
MMA (LW Tournament Quarterfinal): Amir Khan vs. Ariel Sexton
Khan by decision
MMA (LW Tournament Quarterfinal): Ev Ting vs. Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev
Arslanaliev by knockout
Kickboxing (LW): Nieky Holzken vs. Mustapha Haida
Holzken by decision
MMA (StrawW): Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke vs. Jeremy Miado
Dejdamrong by decision
Kickboxing (FlyW): Masahide Kudo vs. Petchdam Petchyindee Academy
Petchdam by knockout
Preliminary Card (Twitter and Facebook, 5:15 a.m. ET)
Kickboxing (LW): Regian Eersel vs. Anthony Njokuani
Eersel by decision
Kickboxing (BW): Kong Sambo vs. Zhang Chenglong
Chenglong by knockout
MMA (Women’s StrawW): Ayaka Miura vs. Laura Balin
Miura by decision
MMA (BW): Masakazu Imanari vs. Kwon Won Il
Imanari by submission
MMA (FlyW): Rudy Agustian vs. Khon Sichan
Agustian by decision
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