Amir Aliakbari smashed his way to a third straight TKO finish at ONE Fight Night 12 this past Friday. However, nobody should count ONE heavyweight champion Anatoly Malykhin among the impressed.
Immediately following the event, Malykhin told ONE Championship that he thinks Aliakbari is starting to believe his own hype, and that he doesn’t hold the Iranian’s recent victories high regard, including his win in Bangkok on Jul. 14.
“Then, he beat this guy [Dustin Joynson], whose wrestling is… well, he hasn’t even read a book about wrestling. These are all convenient opponents, all three opponents after losses. And it gave him enough faith in himself to challenge the champion to a fight. I’m only happy. It’s easy money for me, and I’ll be ready,” Malykhin told ONE.
In their first meeting, “Sladkiy” breezed by Aliakbari with a first-round knockout, and he sees the same thing happening if they were ever to meet again.
“For me, he is easy money. I saw it in his eyes, that Aliakbari doesn’t understand what he is doing. He doesn’t understand what is waiting for him,” the two-division ONE champion stated.
“Watching his last fight, I see he moves like he’s underwater. He’s very slow, just dragging the fight. Well, if this guy thinks that he will be able to take me down and finish me from the crucifix like he did with others, then he is very delusional. After two or three of my punches, he’ll just go to sleep.”
Around the rumor mill in ONE is a possible 2023 date in Qatar. Aliakbari himself has been pushing for a date in the Middle East, and Malykhin says he would be excited to venture to a new region to help build his brand on the global stage.
“Yes, I think I would love to fight in Qatar. I could show a beautiful fight, as I always go out of my way to please the audience, to put on a show. I would be remembered by the local audience 100 percent with my beautiful knockout,” Malykhin said.
But his own future bouts were not the only thing on the heavyweight king’s mind after ONE Fight Night 12.
“Sladkiy” is also thinking about the recently announced boxing battle between Francis Ngannou and Tyson Fury . The Russian star sees the bout as nothing more than a spectacle and big pay day for both men, and he expects Fury to steamroll Ngannou.
But it is the same expectation he would have for himself, as the different in the sports is too vast for crossover success.
“When it comes to boxing, of course, I do not overestimate my chances and I realize that I would have nothing to show against a man who has been boxing all his life and is the undisputed heavyweight boxing champion. Just as he would have nothing to show against me in freestyle wrestling. Let’s put it this way – if I’m a lifelong freestyle wrestler and Tyson Fury fights me in freestyle wrestling, the same thing will happen to him that will happen to me in boxing,” Malykhin said.
After the boxing circus has folded its tent, Malykhin says he would love a chance to take on Ngannou to prove his might.
And he is confident he would make quick work of the formidable foe to prove it in front of a worldwide audience.
“Of course, first I would like to fight Ngannou under MMA rules, as it’s my game. I would also like to fight Ngannou under boxing rules, as my striking is at a good level for an MMA fighter,” Malykhin said.
“As for an MMA match against Ngannou, it would be an interesting opposition – the champions of the best leagues in the world, ONE and UFC, clashing on an international stage. I would prove that the heavyweights in ONE are the strongest heavyweights in the world. I think I would win a fight with Ngannou easily. Very easily.”
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.