Kwon Won Il is facing an experienced Russian opponent at ONE Fight Night 11 on Saturday. On paper it looks like a very difficult fight for the Korean but he definitely does not see it that way.
Kwon has clearly had time to research his upcoming opponent, Artem Belakh, and seems to have an insight into both his personality and his fighting style. Of the former he has nothing but praise but the 27 year old believes the Russian is slow,
“Artem seems like a good guy, he’s too nice to provoke. In my opinion, his main strength is his physical power (but) he lacks speed and I possess a greater range of skills.”
The sound of every SHOT 🔥 Kwon Won Il returns to face Artem Belakh in a key bantamweight MMA clash at ONE Fight Night 11 on Prime Video on June 9! Who you got? 🤔 #ONEFightNight11 | June 9 at 8PM ET
🇺🇸🇨🇦 Watch Live on Prime
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— ONE Championship (@ONEChampionship) May 29, 2023
Kwon is not short of confidence but with six ONE Championship wins to his name why would he be? All of them have come inside the distance and the Korean doesn’t seem interested in winning fights by decision.
He knows that the Russian is a wrestler and says the focus of his training has been on keeping the fight standing so he can make it a striking match,
“To excel in my strengths, I focused on improving my striking skills. Since my opponent is strong and good at wrestling, I also trained to defend against wrestling techniques.”
— ONE Championship (@ONEChampionship) January 11, 2022
Despite having six ONE Championship finishes to his name Kwon has never received one of the $50,000 USD bonuses. It sounds like this might be a source of frustration for the Korean who feels that Saturday could be the day his luck changes in this respect,
“In ONE Championship, all my wins have been finishes. Of course, there will be a finish this time, and this time, I will work harder to get a performance bonus.
He would certainly put the money to good use. Kwon, whose nickname is ‘Pretty Boy’, has just opened his own gym in Seoul,
“I have been busy with my business lately. I recently opened a gym called P-Boy MMA. I have always dreamed of being an entrepreneur (and) the gym is just the beginning.”
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Kwon has won four out of his last five fights and is #4 in the bantamweight rankings. His only recent loss came at the hands of reigning champion Fabricio Andrade and it is one he would like to get back.
He thinks a win over the #5 ranked Belakh would be enough to secure him a rematch with the champion and is confident it won’t take him too long to get it
“Just watch the fight. I’ll finish it in the second round. Then a Fabricio Andrade rematch will be next.”