It sounds like Shamil Erdogan has earned a ONE Championship contract and will be handed an immediate shot at the middleweight title. In a recent interview Anatoly Malykhin talked about how his friend and training partner would fare against his former opponent.
Malykhin has already beaten Reinier de Ridder in a light heavyweight title fight. The Dutchman also holds the middleweight strap and it sounds like he could be facing Erdogan next.
After unifying the heavyweight titles at ONE Friday Fights 22 last week Malykhin announced he wanted to drop down to middleweight. But in a recent interview the Russian revealed that Erdogan was going to challenge for that belt first,
“I think that if he (de Ridder) meets Shamil, Shamil will become the champion and he’ll reign in 93kg so I will not meet De Ridder if he faces Shamil, and I will be the champion in 102kgs and 120 kgs,” he explained.
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Erdogan represents Turkey but has roots in Russia. Malykhin says that he competed against the middleweight in wrestling before they became training partners,
“I train together with Shamil (so) I won’t fight him. Shamil is a friend of mine. He beat me in freestyle wrestling in the past. He has got great
wrestling, good kickboxing. He’s a good, calm, balanced fighter and a great representative of his nation.”
Erdogan clearly wants the fight and has even gone to the trouble of making a homemade poster which he shared on Instagram. De Ridder has made it clear that he would be open to facing the Dutchman telling Sports Keeda,
So give me Shamil (Erdogan) give me some new blood in August or September.
Shamil Erdogan 🇹🇷 folds Fan Rong with a body kick to start ONE Friday Fights 22! 🔥#ONEFridayFights22 | 🔴 Live Now
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— ONE Championship (@ONEChampionship) June 23, 2023
De Ridder is hoping to face Erdogan as soon as next month. The fight card for ONE Fight Night 12, which is just over two week’s away, is not yet complete so there is still an outside possibility a middleweight title match could be added.
ONE Fight Night 13 looks a more realistic date. That event is set for August 4th and is currently set to be headlined by a featherweight kickboxing title fight pitting featherweight champion Chingiz Allazov against old adversary Marat Grigorian.
It has not even been confirmed that Erdogan has signed a ONE Championship contract. But he looked like a serious title contender when he beat Fan Rong at Lumpinee Stadium last week and could well be next in line for de Ridder.