Johan Ghazali got his official ONE Championship career off to the perfect start at Lumpinee Stadium this morning. The Malaysian teenager proved emphatically that he belongs at this level with a first round knockout of Edgar Tabares.

It was Ghazali’s fifth win of the year at the stadium and four of them have come inside the distance. The only negative for the 17 year old was that he missed out on a $50,000 USD bonus after missing weight ahead of ONE Fight Night 17.

Ghazali clearly wasn’t about to let missing out on the money spoil his day. He told fans that even after the sort of year that most fighters can only dream about there was still room for improvement,

“Thanks for all the support up until this point. I will continue to improve, the best is yet to come.”

Missing weight

Ghazali’s previous four wins have all come on the Friday night cards at Lumpinee Stadium. This was his Prime Video debut and opponents will not exactly be queuing up to face the Malaysian after this performance.

It was the sort of performance that title shots are made of. Unfortunately Ghazali missed weight by 6lbs, and it isn’t clear whether he will be allowed to compete at flyweight again.

His inability to make the flyweight limit was surprising given that he had already done it four times in 2023. There must surely be some explanation but for the time being Ghazali prefers to focus on his hugely impressive performance:

Left hook

A left hook to the liver absolutely folded Tabares. It was the type of combination more typically seen in boxing than Muay Thai and brought back memories of Bernard Hopkins finishing Oscar de la Hoya all those years ago.

Tabares has already faced reigning flyweight Muay Thai champion Rodtang Jitmuangnon. The Thai didn’t get him out of there quite as quickly as Ghazali did, the Mexican made it to the midway point in the second round.

Rodtang admitted after that match at ONE Fight Night 10 that he had barely bothered to train for Tabares. So perhaps it is unfair to draw comparisons but the Malaysian already looks like a contender for his flyweight crown.

Of course Ghazali will need to prove that he can still make the flyweight limit first. Whatever division the teenager decides to compete in he already looks set to be a top contender and possible future champion.