By now everyone has seen Liam Harrison’s war with Muangthai PKSaenchaigym. The Englishman was knocked down twice but somehow managed to not just survive but find the reserves of strength and sheer determination required to put the Thai fighter on the canvass three times.
The performance earned Harrison $100,000 USD and the footage soon went viral. UFC star Paddy Pimblett declared that he ‘loved the fight’ and had been sharing it with all his friends.
It was a fight which made Harrison’s name ring out all around the world but it wasn’t until afterwards that the 35 year old realized the significance of it,
“At the time, I didn’t actually realize how crazy and how much of an impact it would have. So many people have messaged me about how it inspired them to go back to the gym, or there were people who said, ‘I don’t even do any fight sports, you just inspired me to be a better person. You’ve inspired me to just try extra hard with life’,” he said.
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For Harrison the reaction to his war with Muangthai really made all the years of sacrifice he has put into his Muay Thai career seem like a worthwhile investment,
“That was amazing. That’s what you do with this thing for. I want to inspire people. I want to make people push themselves the extra mile and be a better person.”
It was not the first time that Harrison has been involved in a fight like this. He has been in with Thai legends like Saenchai PKSaenchaigym, Anuwat Kaewssamrit and Singdam Kiatmoo9 and some of those matches have also produced fireworks,
“The thing is, that’s not the first time stuff like that’s happened to me in my career. I’ve got off the floor to win before when I’ve been knocked down heavily by Thai fighters and stuff like that.”
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In the past Harrison was fighting on small, local shows with a very limited audience but ONE Championship’s reach is much bigger and he sees the Muangthai fight as his ‘gift to the world’,
“But to do it on that stage with the entire world watching, on the biggest platform there is. Now I’m coming towards the back end of my career. I’m just so happy that I got to give the world that gift of that fight. 90 seconds of absolute mayhem.”
Harrison did not just earn $100,000 USD in bonuses for that performance he was also awarded an immediate title shot. But his knee gave out in the opening round against Nong-O Gaiyanghadao leaving Harrison facing an extended spell on the sidelines,
“This sport gives you the highest highs and the lowest lows. Obviously, the Muangthai fight was about as high as you can get, and then the rest of the year for me has been a low.”
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Harrison has not set a timescale for his return but admit it will be a ‘long road’ to recovery,
“I got injured in the Nong-O fight, I’m injured again now, and it’s gonna be a very tough road back to get myself where I want to be. Unfortunately, I think when you have 120 fights, and you fight the way I do, and you train the way I do, it was bound to happen at some point.”
While Harrison has had a hugely successful Muay Thai career his name didn’t really start to ring out across the world until the Muangthai fight. This is a cause of frustration for the Englishman who has been sidelined by a serious injury just when he was reaching the peak of his popularity,
“I had these massive fights lined up. (It)is a bitter pill to swallow. So I just want to try and get this knee better, and I want to be at the level of the Muangthai fight, where I will be able to drag myself off the floor and give the fans the action that they deserve.”
Coming back from a second knee surgery will not be easy for Harrison. But coming back from two knockdowns wouldn’t have been easy either and the 35 year old managed that so he will surely be back in action in 2023 and looking to provide even more entertainment for the ONE Championship audience.