Mehdi Zatout probably had to go out and buy his first pair of boxing shoes when he got the call to fight Al-Qahtani at ONE 166. The 40 year old Muay Thai fighter retired two years ago but made a comeback in Qatar last weekend.

Zatout was making his boxing debut against an opponent who boasted a 9-0 professional record and was ranked as being one of the best in the Middle East. On paper it sounded like a total mismatch with one man competing in the sport for the first time and the other looking to make it ten wins in a row.

It definitely did not play out that way. Zatout, whose last fight was in 2022, got the better of Al-Qahtani after three rounds of boxing inside the ONE Championship cage.

Out of ideas

While Al-Qahtani has clearly beaten some very low level opponents he also has a a couple of impressive looking wins on his record. Six of his nine victories have come at the expense of fighters who clearly weren’t competitive.

Al-Qahtani’s most recent opponent had a 9-75-2 pro record while he also holds wins over boxers who were 0-5, 0-16, 6-130-4, 4-70 2 and 14-104-3. Fans of other combat sports might be surprised to learn that these type of matchups exist but they are quite common in boxing.

What makes Al-Qahtani’s performance last weekend so surprising is that the Saudi Arabian does have a couple of decent looking wins on his record. Two of his three recent victories came against opponents with good records, 7-0-1 and 6-0-1.

Unfortunately for Al-Qahtani he had clearly never been in with an opponent of Zatout’s calibre. By the end the Algerian debutant was showboating while the undefeated boxer looked totally out of ideas.

Still undefeated

The good news for Al-Qahtani is that the bout took place in a cage and won’t appear on his official record. So technically he is still undefeated and free to pursue bigger and better opportunities in boxing.

Given that a retired 40 year old Muay Thai fighter had far too much for him Al-Qahtani, or his manager, will surely be sure to pick future opportunities even more carefully. It isn’t a result that reflects too well on the sport of boxing, perhaps running up a 9-0 record in the sport isn’t quite as impressive an achievement as it sounds.