For the longest time, Jamal “Yeniceri” Yusupov has been primed to compete for a ONE Championship World Title, though for reasons outside of his control, it never materialized.
Now that he’s less than two weeks away from realizing that dream, he plans not to put it to waste.
Yusupov finally gets a shot at gold when he challenges Tawanchai PK Saenchai for the ONE Featherweight Muay Thai World Title in the co-main event of ONE Fight Night 7: Lineker vs. Andrade II on 25 February at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.
“I have been moving toward this goal for a long time. I have been anticipating this title fight and now, I am here,” he said.
“I was not worried [that I had missed the opportunity]. I knew I was the number one contender, as I did not see anyone else in the division who could fight for the belt other than me. However, this fight is certainly a big step for me, and it is a big responsibility.”
For him to turn that long-term goal into fruition he has to hurdle Tawanchai, who was on an absolute roll in The Home of Martial Arts in 2022.
Tawanchai scored a couple of impressive knockout wins over Saemapetch Fairtex and Niclas Larsen and then won the ONE Featherweight Muay Thai World Title in a hotly contested match against former king Petchmorakat Petchyindee.
Despite Tawanchai being on a roll, Yusupov remains confident that he’s ready for the young Thai.
“I would not say that Tawanchai’s recent activity would play any role in our fight. I am preparing for this fight very seriously. The training camp went well. I am ready both mentally and physically. I am focused on this fight 100 percent now,” he said.
While Tawanchai has been renowned for his kicks, Yusupov believes it’s his own boxing that will make the difference in this contest.
“He is a young, tough opponent. I can point out that he is quick on his feet, and he works very well with his legs,” Yusupov said.
“My advantage is my boxing. Even Tawanchai himself pointed it out. He said I have good boxing. I have always been saying that boxing is my advantage, and I will prove it.”
At the end of the day, he’s confident about his chances in this match, calling an early stoppage in his long-awaited chance at the ONE Featherweight Muay Thai World Title.
“The fight will end early,” he said. “I am ready for five tough rounds, but I’ll try to win early by knockout.”
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