Jonathan Di Bella (R) (ONE Championship)

Jonathan Di Bella Discusses His Title Defense Against Prajanchai

Once the undisputed ONE Strawweight Kickboxing Champion, Jonathan Di Bella is ready to reclaim the crown at ONE Friday Fights 68 on Friday, Jun. 28.

Di Bella was stripped of the title before his first defense at ONE Friday Fights 58 for missing weight and hydration due to illness. He attempted to keep soldiering on for his match with Prajanchai PK Saenchai, but he was eventually forced to go to hospital.

“I went to do the faceoff because I was hoping that the fight was still going on. I was going to the hospital, and I thought maybe they could give me something to make me feel better. I remember facing off, and I was holding in my puke. I was about to throw up on him. I’m like, ‘Don’t throw up on him. This thing’s going viral if I puke,’” Di Bella detailed to ONE.


“So we went to the hospital, I threw up, they put me back on the bed, they put IVs in me, and I woke up in my hotel room the next day. I don’t remember what happened. I was still not feeling well. But then I started realizing I had lost my belt, and I couldn’t believe this had happened. As soon as I found out, it was heartbreaking.”

The unbeaten star is now back to full health, and all of his focus is on the rescheduled match with Prajanchai at ONE Friday Fights 68.

Losing the title was a definite gut punch, but Di Bella is using it as motivation. And he views meeting the Thai star in his own backyard as his Rocky moment.

“I have a champion’s mindset, but now I’m the underdog, so I feel even more focused. I want to win every fight, but especially now that I don’t have the belt anymore, I want to bring it back for my family. That’s my motivation,” Di Bella stated.

“Fighting in his hometown in front of his family, his people, I feel like it’s a Rocky vs. Drago type of story. I’m going in there with a Rocky mentality and getting my belt back.”

The Canadian-Italian striker sees himself as the underdog not only because of where the match will take place, but also because Prajanchai is at the top of his game.

The ONE Strawweight Muay Thai Champion is looking to become a two-sport titleholder in ONe Championship, the thought of raining on his parade has Di Bella charged up and ready to utilize his intellect to score the win.

“I believe whoever uses their IQ and whoever is smarter will win the fight. Fans should expect a technical battle,” he said.

“But then it could be technical or it could be a crazy war. It depends on how he comes out and how I come out. Who knows? But they should expect something cool and a very good fight.”

To prepare for Prajanchai, Di Bella merely had to reset his camp from last time. There were no major changes, and he idenitifes it as an extended camp to sharpen everything they had planned for earlier this year.

When the main event bell rings, he’ll be looking to remind the world why he was a ONE World Champion in the first place.

“The circumstances changed, but I was ready for him and very excited to compete against him in April. We just had to take some more time. We kept sharp when we came back to the gym, and that’s it. It was repetition of the things we were doing before for him,” Di Bella said.

“I’ve just got to go in there and be ready for everything that he has. I can’t predict anything that will happen in the fight – I just predict a win for myself.”

ONE Friday Fights 68 is available on global pay-per-view at at 8:30 a.m. ET/5:30 a.m. PT on Friday, June 28.