Lithuanian standard-bearer Sergej “Kuvalda” Maslobojev is a big name in his home country. Now he plans on making his name in Asia.
The 32-6 kickboxer faces off against Croatia’s Antonio Plazibat (16-2) in a ONE Super Series kickboxing bout at ONE: GRIT AND GLORY in Jakarta, Indonesia, this Saturday night.
The bout is a rematch of their 2016 encounter, which was won by Maslobojev, but the Lithuanian refuses to take his opponent for granted the second time around.
“Since our bout, he has won seven in a row, and he is getting better and better every time,” he said.
“I think he learned a lot from our contest, and tried to have a similar style to mine, but I have not been standing still either. I have had lots of fights and wins since then, and I will bring something new.”
Maslobojev won the WAKO Pro World Title last year, adding to the KOK World Championship he won in 2015, and the national and European titles earned in both Muay Thai and kickboxing.
But despite earning a string of titles already in his career, Maslobojev admits he’s still learning and still evolving as a martial artist. Now he’s recognised the value of training his mental approach as well as his physical attributes.
“I have not lost many fights in kickboxing, but those I have lost were down to mental problems that I have had,” he said.
“I have had too much emotion before my fights, and did not fix it. But now I have worked on that, and tried to become cooler, and it has helped me to have great wins.”
Plazibat has since won the K-1 Heavyweight World Grand Prix, and will arrive in Jakarta in form and fuelled by revenge, and the knowledge that he can exact payback in front of a colossal global audience.
But Maslobojev is well aware of his opponent’s motivations, and says he’ll be ready when the bout begins on Saturday night.
“I am sure he has been thinking of me every day, and wants to win this fight,” he said.
“But I want to win it too, and I want to do it in an even more explosive way. I will prepare 100 percent, and stop him again in Jakarta.
“It is a big honour for me to be a part of this. ONE Championship is growing really fast, and has shown that it is going to have a lot of beautiful contests.”