Marat Grigorian does not need reminding of the significance of his next fight. He faces reigning ONE Championship featherweight kickboxing king Chingiz Allazov in the main event of ONE Fight Night 13.

This belt might just be the single most sought after trinket on the ONE Championship shelf given the depth of talent in the division. So far only two men have held it and Grigorian will be looking to become the third at Lumpinee Stadium.

He might have fought Allazov twice before but the stakes have never been quite this high,

“This opportunity means a lot. I think this is the most important fight of my career so far, so I will try to do everything for the win,” he said.

Third meeting

This will be the third meeting between the two men and Allazov has yet to beat Grigorian. The two previous fights ended in a win for the Armenian and a no contest.

This fight will be a five rounder in the ONE Championship cage with a title on the line. So the stakes are higher and Grigorian acknowledges that his opponent has improved,

“We know each other already. We fought against each other (when) we were the best up and coming fighters. Now, I’m seeing that he’s gotten
much better in these last two years, we both changed a lot.”

There was some surprise that former champion Superbon Banchamek wasn’t handed a rematch with Allazov. But Grigorian is adamant that he is the rightful challenger for the belt,

“Who else is there? There is no one else. And before the tournament, we were supposed to fight each other but it didn’t happen so many fans were disappointed. But now, it’s good. We’re going to fight now and many fans are very excited about it so I can’t wait.”

Serious setback

Last year Grigorian was scheduled to face Allazov in the semi final of the featherweight Grand Prix. But the bout was cancelled at the last minute when the Armenian tested positive for Covid-19.

It was a serious setback for Grigorian who had dreamed of winning the tournament,

I was really focused on the tournament. I was really disappointed when that didn’t happen. I tested positive for Covid and I was really shocked but that’s life. It doesn’t always go how you want it.

This fight could last 15 minutes and Grigorian knows he can’t afford to lose concentration for a single second,

“Five rounds are always good. I love fighting five rounds (and) I always get better and better. One second of not being focused can end the fight.”

Slow starter

Three of Allazov’s last four wins have come inside the opening two rounds including the highlight reel knockout of Superbon. Grigorian can be a slow starter but knows there will be no feeling out process in this fight,

“Sometimes, I start slowly and get better and better but in this fight, I will try to fight directly and not wait too much. So, I think it should be an explosive five-round fight.”

Their two previous meetings took place in Paris and Italy. The third fight is set for Lumpinee Stadium and will be broadcast live on Amazon Prime in North America.

Both men have come a long way to reach the point where they are headlining such a prestigious card. Grigorian does not anticipate an easy fight but whatever happens he will be ready,

“We’ve both fought against the top, top, top guys. Now he’s in prime time, he’s sharp, he’s ready. I know it will be a very hard fight and I will be ready.”