Chingiz Allazov spent an entire camp preparing for Marat Grigorian only for his opponent to be switched at the last minute. He faces a very different type of challenge at ONE: ‘Only the Brave’ this Friday.

Grigorian withdrew after contracting Covid-19 and in his place steps Jo Nattawut. On paper it is an easier matchup for Allazov but the actual outcome will be decided in the cage and he is wary of the Thai replacement,

“It’s not the same style of fighter. Marat is a forward fighter, a boxing-style fighter. Jo is a Thai fighter. He goes at distance. He throws kicks. He throws punches.”

No problem

But Allazov has been one of the top 154lbs kickboxers on the planet for nearly a decade and is taking it all in his stride,

“I have prepared one week for him. I changed my style a little bit. But for me, it’s no problem.”

Having already faced Grigorian twice and not tasted victory on either occasion Allazov could be forgiven for feeling this is a more winnable matchup. But Allazov is definitely not overlooking his new opponent,

“I trained all my camp to fight against Marat Grigorian but Jo is a good opponent, now I focus 100% on him. I feel ready. Preparation has been good,” he said.

Top talent

ONE Championship has been slowly but surely signing up all the best kickboxers in the world in Allazov’s division. Giorgio Petrosyan was waiting in the wings for the Grand Prix winner but suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Superbon Banchamek.

Not since the glory days of  K-1 Max has a promotion succeeded in signing up so much of the top talent in this division and Allazov is excited by the prospect of proving he is the best 154lbs in the world,

“They’re the best fighters in the world. When you fight against the best in the world, you prove that you are the best in the world.”