When ONE Championship announced a kickboxing Grand Prix there were two names on the list of featherweights that immediately stuck out. For years fight fans have been dreaming about a matchup between Yodsaenklai and Giorgio Petrosyan and in 2019 it could well become a reality.

The two will be favourites to reach the final of the tournament, and were that to happen it would be one of the biggest kickboxing matches of the decade. Petrosyan would have been eyeing up the other seven fighters on the list with interest and he admits that a matchup with Yodsaenklai is very much on his mind,

“Much has been said about this meeting with Yodsaenklai. I know him well, I’ve known him for many years. I know he’s left-handed like me (and) he’s a fighter that hits hard. I’d like to meet him maybe for the title of ONE.”

Pound for pound king

The 33 year old is regarded by many as being the best pound for pound kickboxer on the planet. Petrosyan has certainly enhanced his reputation with ONE Super Series wins over Sorgraw Petchyindee and Jo Nattawut this year and he also found time to win a Bellator title between those bouts.

The fights with Sorgraw and Nattawut were very one-sided affairs. Petrosyan faced the former inside a cage rather than a ring but adjusted instantly,

It was a strange experience because I did not have the ropes, but it has been a positive experience, and I hope one day to be able to do it again,” he said.

He already holds wins over Andy Souwer and Dzhabar Askerov as well as Nattawut. It means Petrosyan has beaten three of the other seven fighters in the Grand Prix but the Armenian is willing to take on all comers,

“There are many very strong and valuable athletes in ONE. Right now the names don’t matter to me. I will fight with anyone.”

A tough match

Under kickboxing rules any opponent is going to be an underdog against Petrosyan. But Sorgraw is an up and coming star in Thailand and this win was a satisfying one,

“We knew it would be a tough match, I had studied my opponent well (and) it went as I had planned and I managed to do what I had prepared for in training. All of the athletes at this level are not easy (and) they are motivated, especially those who fight against me because they have nothing to lose.”

His first fight for ONE Championship was at the MOA Arena in Manila. Petrosyan’s most recent win came at the Singapore Indoor Stadium and it was an experience that will live long in the memory of the two time K-1 Max winner,

A beautiful week

“It was a beautiful week, Singapore is a great city. The building was full and the crowd was so enthusiastic.”

The winner of the Grand Prix will presumably be crowned as the first ever ONE Championship featherweight kickboxing champion. Petrosyan comes into the competition as the favourite and knows exactly what he wants to achieve in 2019,

“I am absolutely motivated to fight for the title of ONE Championship. I look forward to that day.”