Martin Nguyen and Thanh Le have established themselves as two of the best strikers not just in the featherweight division but on the entire ONE Championship roster.

Next Friday they go head to head and the challenger warns the fight could have a slow start but it will just be the calm before the storm,

“It’s going to be a chess match, and you’re going to see some fireworks eventually, whether it’s ten seconds into the fight or 15 minutes, whatever the case may be. Somebody’s going to sleep,” Le said.

Le earned his ONE: ‘Inside the Matrix’ title shot on the back of three straight finishes for the promotion. He is very confident of making it four in a row in Singapore next Friday,

“The finish is going to be up to Martin and how he approaches me. If he decides to step into my range and test my power then it could be a short fight.”

Business as usual 

This fight has reportedly been in the works since the start of the year. While the date might have been repeatedly delayed due to Covid-19 related travel restrictions Le says his training schedule has not been badly interrupted,

“We didn’t skip much of a beat at all with training because I keep such a tight-knit group. I train at a small gym, and I had my guys come into my gym,” he said.

Once the contracts were signed for next Friday’s fight he started to step up his training,

“It’s been business as usual. I’ve had a little less of a chance to bring guys in and go travel and train, but since ONE was comfortable with setting a date and an event location, I was then able to travel, train, and bring guys in.”

Back and forth

The list of opponents Nguyen has knocked out is long and prestigious. The featherweight champion has established himself as one of ONE Championship’s biggest stars and briefly held the title at lightweight.

Le has plenty of respect for his opponent’s achievements as well as his power,

“Martin has power in his right hand. When he hits people, they know it. He’s got great experience and has been the champion for a long time. He’s a big draw and he deserves to be,” he said.

Anyone expecting the hard hitting featherweights to go to war from the opening bell might be destined for disappointment. Le thinks it will be a question of who blinks first,

“Martin’s a smart guy, and he’s the champion for a reason. I think he’s going to come out, calculate some things, and collect information, and we’re going to be back-and-forth for a while until one of us breaks discipline.”

Crucial mistake

Le clearly feels it is a matter of when, not if, his opponent loses patience and makes a crucial mistake. And when that happens he will be ready to capitalize,

“When Martin finally reaches I’m going to knock him out. Just like I’ve been doing during my entire ONE career.”