For the first time in his ONE Championship career, Rahul “The Kerala Krusher” Raju will compete in his second home of Singapore.
“It’s my first time competing in Singapore, so I’m very excited for so many reasons,” the 28-year-old said.
“Singapore is more than just my second home. I love this country. I’m very happy to represent India as well as my adoptive home of Singapore.
“It will be like a dream come true for me to fight on the Singapore card. All my friends, my students, and training partners can watch my fight live, so that’s big for me too.”
The Juggernaut Fight Club representative has had some memorable performances in the Circle, but has yet to claim a victory in The Home Of Martial Arts.
That is something he is looking to change when he collides with Corminal in two weeks’ time.
“This upcoming match, and the succeeding matches, I’m a hundred percent confident that I’ll get the win,” Raju said.
“One of the biggest differences is one of our newest coaches, Matt Pellino. He’s an All-American national wrestler and a very experienced mixed martial arts coach. Because of him, my wrestling and overall game have improved a lot.
“Obviously, Arvind [Lalwani] is there to focus on the striking aspect of my game, and I have a great team behind me. I don’t see myself losing any other fight in the future because of them.”
Standing in his way is a hard-striking warrior in Corminal, a Malaysia-based Filipino who is also in search of his first victory in the promotion.
The 37-year-old posted victories in four of his first five bouts, winning each contest via knockout or TKO before joining ONE. Since entering the world’s largest martial arts organization, he has challenged some of the promotion’s biggest names, yet wasn’t able to capitalize.
“We have so many similarities,” Raju said.
“Like me, he also fought Garry Tonon and Shannon Wiratchai before, and we both didn’t get the results that we wanted. I’m sure that he’s fired up now, and he’s stepped up his game.
“He’s a striker, so [I am] definitely looking out for that. We’ll see what he does if I take him down, but I will trade strikes with him. I need a hard win this time, so let’s see how it goes. If there’s an opportunity to take him down and finish him on the ground, then I’ll take it.”
Raju shared that he is focusing on improving himself instead of looking for weaknesses in his opponent.
He believes that will be his key to victory and help him ascend the lightweight ranks.
“I want to move up, fight frequently, and fight the top guys in the promotion,” he said.
“My focus is to be the best, so losing is never going to be an option. I can’t even imagine ever losing in this promotion.”