The confidence Danny “The King” Kingad says he earned from his first world championship experience certainly manifested in a tremendous showing against former Max Fight Bantamweight Champion Sotir “The Trouble” Kichukov.
The two battled on the main card of ONE: VISIONS OF VICTORY, which took place Friday, 9 March, at the brand new Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Competing outside of the Philippines for the very first time, Kingad impressed with his poise and polish, and defeated the Bulgarian veteran in a tough contest.
The 22-year-old from Baguio City, Philippines, turned in one of his most complete performances to date, blasting the 27-year-old Kichukov with Team Lakay’s patented wushu strikes and a handful of solid takedowns to notch the victory.
At the sound of the opening bell, “The King” stormed out of the gates looking to score on a takedown early. Kingad used a body lock to bring the action to the ground, and ended up in side control, where he began to land hard knees on Kichukov.
The Filipino wushu champion appeared incredibly relaxed and composed, delivering a steady stream of strikes to his opponent including thudding high kicks and powerful combinations. When a scramble led to a grappling exchange, Kingad showed his development, rolling Kichukov until he secured the back. He threatened with a rear-naked choke, but Kichukov found a way to escape.
In the second round, Kingad once again came out on the attack, firing a furious combination with Kichukov against the fence. As “The King” closed the distance, however, the Bulgarian latched onto a guillotine choke and pulled guard, bringing the youngster down to the mat.
Though it took some time for Kingad to pop his head out of the hold, he was able to regain his bearings. But Kichukov stuck to him like glue, and brought him down to the mat again with another guillotine choke attempt. Feeling frustrated, Kingad picked up “The Trouble” and took him for a ride, dropping him right into side control.
The final stanza saw both competitors cross the finish line with everything they had left in the tank.
Although Kingad continued with much of the same wushu combinations he experienced so much success with in the first two rounds, it was Kichukov who got the better of the last five minutes, threatening with a rear-naked choke after taking Kingad’s back.
With both martial artists spent from all the action, the final bell rang, and the decision went to the scorecards. All three judges scored in favor of Kingad in unanimous fashion.
Following a heartbreaking loss to ONE Flyweight World Champion Adriano Moraes last November in Manila, Kingad is back in the win column with an inspiring performance. The victory sees the Filipino’s record improve to 9-1.