Kairat Akhmetov is a seasoned wrestler who has been able to take down every opponent he has ever faced. But Danny Kingad is not intimidated by the Kazakh who he faces at ONE: ‘Winter Warriors’ Part II.

Kingad is ready to go ‘toe to toe’ with Akhmetov and believes that wherever the fight takes him he will be able to compete,

“I’ve been waiting for this. And make no mistake about it, I’m ready to go toe-to-toe with him. I’m ready wherever the match goes. It can be in striking or we can take it to the ground. I know I have a lot of weapons in store for him,” he said.

My game

Kingad is impressed by what he has seen of his opponent’s striking. He feels that Akhmetov has improved in this area and hopes the former flyweight champion will not be afraid to keep the action standing,

“I noticed that his striking has been improving. I watched his last fight, and I got really excited because his improvement really impressed me,” he said.

He hopes that Akhmetov will stand and strike with him,

“He’s said that he wants to strike with me, so I’m really motivated by that. I hope he knows that he’s facing a deadly striker.”

But Kingad acknowledges that what he wants Akhmetov to do and what Akhmetov actually does might be two very different things,

“Maybe I’ll give him problems when we box. If he truly decides to strike with me, then he’s basically playing my game. That’s the match that I want, so I hope he knows what he wants.”

Finally happening

The match was first booked for 2019. It was then scheduled for last year but injuries to Akhmetov and a Covid-19 outbreak in the Team Lakay camp have delayed it.

Having waited for this fight for so long Kingad is excited that it is finally happening,

“It’s been years. I’ve been wanting to face him for a long time. Unfortunately, our match got canceled twice. Now, it’s a different kind of excitement for me. I’m facing someone I’ve always wanted to face.”

More weapons

Kingad challenged Adriano Moraes for the flyweight title in 2017. It was just his fourth ONE Championship fight but he is now a veteran of 12 fights for the promotion.

He would like to show how he has improved by beating Moraes in a rematch but is willing to face absolutely anyone,

“I’m willing to fight whoever. I want to gain experience and learn from each match. In case I beat Akhmetov, I hope they finally give me Adriano. But whoever it is, I’ll be excited for it.”

He feels he is a different fighter to the one that lost to Moraes in 2017 and hopes he can secure a second title shot with a win over Akhmetov,

“I have more weapons in my arsenal now. I have learned so much since I lost to Moraes, and I’ve been improving my weaknesses from that bout every day.”