There are many who feel Giorgio Petrosyan is the greatest kickboxer of all time. Plenty of evidence supports this theory, including the back to back K-1 Max tournament wins.

But the 33 year old still feels he has a point to prove, and that winning the ONE Featherweight Kickboxing Grand Prix would be the perfect way to do it,

“It’s really important to win the ONE Championship tournament because I would automatically become the undisputed number one in the world right now,” he said.

Petrosyan’s hopes appeared to have been dashed by a split decision defeat at the hands of Petchmorrakot Petchyindee. But that result was controversially overturned with an immediate rematch ordered.

No judgment

The two will face off for a second time at ONE: ‘Masters of Destiny’ in Kuala Lumpur next month. Petrosyan was reluctant to discuss the circumstances that made the rematch necessary,

“I don’t want to stir up any fuss (but) if they changed that result it means that they got the result wrong. I don’t like passing judgment on my fights,” he said.

This will be the first time since 2007 that Petrosyan has gone up against the same opponent in back to back fights. He will have spent months preparing for Petchmorrakot in addition to the nine minutes they shared a ring for and knows exactly what to expect,

“We are all very familiar with Petchmorrakot, he is a southpaw and a difficult opponent to face. He has both strengths and weaknesses and this is something we are well aware of.”

Clear conclusion

Petchmorrakot’s strengths clearly include his knees and clinch game. He appeared to have discovered a loophole in ONE Championship’s kickboxing rules that allowed him to use both tools to very good effect in the last two rounds of the first fight.

Unfortunately for the Thai it turned out that his tactics weren’t allowed under the regulations, the rules just hadn’t been enforced properly. His camp has already stated that they won’t risk employing a similar approach in the rematch.

This could well play into Petrosyan’s hands and the Italian sounded confident,

“I don’t want to go into too much detail with you about his strengths. I am preparing well, so we will come face to face in the ring (and) there will definitely be a winner in the end, unlike the last time around. We’ll see who that is going to be.”

There was a real contrast between the opening three minutes of the first fight, in which Petrosyan put on a kickboxing clinic, and the final two rounds where Petchmorrakot was able to drag him into the clinch and utilize his knees.

Learning curve

The 33 year old will have learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t against this particular opponent and promises an improved performance second time around,

“I learned plenty of stuff that I will show off in the ring. I want to prove who the real champion is.”

Jo Nattawut awaits the winner in the semi final. Petrosyan has already beaten him in a kickboxing bout at ONE: ‘Heroes of Honor’ and would be a strong favourite were they to rematch but says he isn’t looking past Petchmorrakot,

“They are all very strong athletes (in the tournament). I’m familiar with all of them and I have even squared off against many of them. My mind is focused exclusively on Petchmorrakot and then we’ll see what comes next.”

Where exactly Petrosyan stands in the pantheon of legends is a topic that can be discussed long after he has retired. But the Italian believes he is the best in the world and winning this Grand Prix would be the best possible way to confirm that status.