Mustapha Haida will challenge lightweight kickboxing champion Regian Eersel for his title at ONE: ‘Fists of Fury’ Part III in Singapore. The Moroccan is based in Italy and has spent most of his career competing in Europe.

He is coming off a decision defeat to Nieky Holzken at ONE: ‘Call to Greatness’  but has registered a win in Europe since then. Having missed all of 2020 due to the pandemic Haida is happy to be back in the ring again,

“I feel positive and super pumped. Winning ONE’s title would be a dream that comes true. It is what I have always wanted deep in my soul and it is the right time and fight to get this chance.”

Different level

As a veteran of the European scene Haida knows his opponent well. Having been in with Holzken and Andy Souwer, who he beat in 2014, he knows exactly what to expect from Eersel,

“Regian has a classic Dutch style. They work a lot on their rhythm and pace of kicks and punches. His biggest strength is his reach, he is very tall and his knees are really dangerous (and) often take his opponents by surprise.”

But he plans to let his hands do the talking in Singapore,

“I am focused a lot on my strengths and on what I can do to win the match, not on what my opponent can do to me. I think I am a more well-rounded fighter than him, especially with my boxing (which) is at a different level.”

Natural power

Haida says he is naturally powerful and focuses on finding a way to use this genetic gift,

“I was born with this explosive power but I’ve worked a lot to craft it through the years. I’ve been working on my strength and explosiveness, trying to prevent his actions and setting the tone of the match.”

Eersel does not have a single stoppage loss on his record. But Haida would like to change that and plans to put the Dutchman on the deck,

“For sure, my dream is to finish the match in the way I want to and bring home the belt.”

Holzken is back to winning ways and will face John Wayne Parr at ONE on TNT Part III. There is a lot of talent in the division and Haida is hoping to place himself at its pinnacle by beating the champion.