Jonathan Haggerty says he’ll finish Walter Goncalves inside two rounds at ONE 157. The Englishman is in some of the best form of his career having racked up three straight ONE Championship victories.
Haggerty finds himself ranked #1 in the division heading into the quarter finals of the flyweight Muay Thai Grand Prix. He is coming off a very impressive win over Mongkolpetch Petchyindee at ONE: ‘Bad Blood’ and, on paper at least, this is an easier fight than that,
Goncalves didn’t get a fight in last year but is coming off back to back losses and Haggerty sounds extremely confident,
“This win will be the start of something special to kick-start me off and really put me into title contention and Grand Prix contention,” he said.
He is so confident that Haggerty, who recently offered to step in and replace Rodtang Jitmuangnon in his mixed rules fight with Demetrious Johnson, is willing to offer a very specific prediction. He plans to finish the Brazilian in the second round,
“My mind is strong, my body is strong, my confidence (is high) coming off of three great wins and I don’t know if he’ll be able to stop me in this tournament. I will knock him out. My prediction is probably in round two, I’ll overwhelm him.”
Goncalves can consider himself a touch unlucky to have lost his clash with Momotaro due to a leg injury that was not inflicted by his opponent. Before that, the 23-year-old went the distance with champion Rodtang Jitmuangnon and only lost by split decision.
Haggerty has two losses to Rodtang on his record and neither of those fights was as close as this but he does not sound particularly impressed,
“From what I’ve seen of it, it was a close fight. Styles make fights and they were both the same size. It was a competitive fight, (but) I didn’t see any interest there.”
Haggerty’s rematch with Rodtang was in Bangkok and he believes the Thai was motivated to do well because he was fighting in his homeland. He doesn’t think that Goncalves faced as fearsome a version of the champion,
“I don’t think anyone’s fought the Rodtang that I fought the second time round. He was motivated. He came in strong. He came in to kill me.”
Peak of his powers
The Englishman is only 25 and appears to be at the peak of his powers. His wins over Sam-A Gaiyanghadao and Mongkolpetch Petchyindee have helped Haggerty establish a reputation in Thailand despite never having trained there.
Goncalves is a switch hitter who can fight orthodox or southpaw but Haggerty has experience beyond his years. He doesn’t think the Brazilian will offer anything he hasn’t seen before,
“He is orthodox (but) goes to southpaw a lot. I work well against southpaws. I beat one of the best southpaws in the world in Sam-A. He moves about a lot. I think he’s going to move on to one of my shots. I’m excited for this one. I’m going to have to chase this fight, and I’m going to chase it well.”