When ONE Championship returns to Prime Video on Friday, Aug. 4, it will be headlined by one of the best striking clinics of the year.
Pound-for-pound greats Chingiz Allazov and Marat Grigorian will meet for the first time since 2013 at ONE Fight Night 13 inside Bangkok, Thailand’s Lumpinee Boxing Stadium.
Allazov’s incredible run to the ONE featherweight kickboxing championship stole headlines around the globe, but he was already quick to breakdown his mistakes after the title win so that he could cement his reign over the division and defend against all comers.
“I knew in my mind I was number one before Superbon. But I was like, ‘Okay, we will do this in the real world and let people see that I am number one,’” he told ONE.
“The next morning [after the win], we had training with my coach. In the first round, I made one mistake. But we saw it and we went to train the next day. We train every day. I say, ‘Coach, please help me beat my next opponent.’”
Little did Allazov know he would have a chance for redemption in his first title defense.
The opportunity to face Grigorian was put on the table for the newly minted champion, and he was quick to take the chance, given that he’s one fight down against the Armenian star.
“I like this fight. I’ve been waiting for this day. ONE offered me three opponents for my first defense, and I picked Grigorian. We fought 10 years ago. The first time was a no contest. The second fight, I lost,” Allazov recounted.
“After that, me and Marat moved up in the sport. We won tournaments. We won all the events. We won all the fights. I became number one in ONE Championship, the top fighter in my category, and my weight class is the best in the world.”
Although the 30-year-old isn’t taking Grigorian lightly, he hasn’t been impressed by the technical abilities of his opponent. Instead, the defending World Champion sees his old foe as a similar threat to the man he won the coveted divisional throne from – Superbon Singha Mawynn.
“For me, Marat is not technical. He is the same as Superbon. He is a strong fighter. He likes to go forward. He’s an aggressive fighter. But he doesn’t have good technique. His real power is closing the distance,” Allazov said.
“He likes to box, but I like to box more now. He likes kicks. I like kicking more now. He has speed and power. But I fight with my intelligence. I will get the victory.”
As much as “Chinga” would love to score another knockout is his upcoming match, he isn’t entering his trilogy bout with Grigorian with a mindset to hunt for the finish. Instead, he plans to capitalize on any mistake his opponent makes.
But, at the end of the day, the Azerbaijani-Belarusian striker is prepared to go all the way tot he end to earn the crucial win.
“I have many plans – to work my speed, move, and go forward and backward. We have a game plan for this fight, you will see in the fight,” Allazov said.
“In my fights, I never plan for a knockout. I fight, and if I see a mistake, I punch. I score a knockout. Maybe Marat will make a mistake and I can knock him out. But my game plan is not the knockout. My game plan is to fight clever. My mind is ready, and my body is ready.”
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