Jonathan Di Bella (ONE Championship)

Jonathan Di Bella Describes Experience of First Title Defense

Jonathan Di Bella made his first defense of the ONE strawweight kickboxing world championship at ONE Fight Night 15, taking game challenger Danial Williams apart over the course of five rounds en route to getting his hand raised by unanimous decision.

The Oct. 6 matchup was also the first time the striking sensation stepped foot inside Bangkok, Thailand’s Lumpinee Boxing Stadium, and he was happy to cross that milestone off his bucket list.

“The energy was very, very cool. It was always an honor and a dream come true. It was amazing,” Di Bella told ONE.


Although from the outside looking in it appeared that Di Bella showed his technical superiority, he wasn’t as pleased with his showing.

The kickboxing king had no doubt he won the bout, but he felt he could have done more to shine in U.S. primetime.

“Not the happiest, I knew I could’ve done better. I just found my timing was a bit off. But we’re always improving and I can’t wait to get back,” Di Bella confessed.

“Yes, I was confident. I believe I won all rounds. Just my performance could’ve been better, wasn’t the one I wanted but I got the W.”

But part of the reason for his struggles was Williams worthy showing. The Thai-Aussie athlete put the pressure on Di Bella from the opening bell and never relented throughout their encounter, which was something the defending champion credited his foe for.

“Yeah, he’s very tough. I knew coming into the fight, he’s not going to be an easy easy opponent too. He’s been there before all five rounds, and I knew that already. He showed it and he’s very tough. I knew that already,” the Montreal native said.

One of “Mini T’s” most effective strikes was the outside leg kick. It did visible damage to Di Bella, but the reigning strawweight king told everyone after the match that it is a common response, even in training.

For him, it was nothing to worry about.

“Every time I bang my knee in training, it swells up, but yeah, my leg is fine. I can kick like that everyday,” Di Bella mentioned.

After the match, Di Bella mentioned a potential rematch with Zhang Peimian. However, as the divisional king, he is ready and willing to defend the gold against whoever steps to him.

Regardless of who it will be, Di Bella hopes it will happen within the borders of the United States.

“What’s next is whoever’s next, whatever, whenever’s next, I’m open to fight anybody. And, hopefully, I get to fight in the U.S. shows. That’s my real hope for that, [to fight in America], and that’s what I want next,” he said.