ONE Light Heavyweight Kickboxing World Championship Roman Kryklia will defend his belt for the first time against a menacing Dutch-Turkish opponent.
Just days before the powerful athletes face off in the Circle, Kryklia acknowledged that fireworks can happen at any moment.
“I think any fight in the light heavyweight division always has some risk because one punch can finish everything,” he said.
“In this division, there are many people who are very strong, fast, and heavy, and they think that they are the strongest, but my coach taught me that you must be clever in the fight — I will try to show you this way of fighting.”
Aygun is one of those men with one-punch finishing power. The kickboxing giant has wrecked six of his opponents by either KO or TKO.
Moreover, those wins came against top competitors like Tarik “The Tank” Khbabez, an opponent Kryklia beat for the inaugural ONE light heavyweight kickboxing crown.
“I think Murat is a very similar kickboxer to Tarik Khbabez, who I faced in my previous fight,” Kryklia said.
“They have strong hands, and I think in close distance, this is Murat’s main weapon. He throws many punches and many kicks, so I think he will try to come close to me and punch me.”
It sounds simple enough, but even a simple game plan calls for complex strategies.
And although the reigning king is willing to reveal some of the tactics he’ll use against Aygun, martial arts fans will have to wait until Friday to get the full experience.
“My coach has made a special strategy for this situation,” Kryklia said.
“The main strategy is, of course, to keep distance and keep feeling my opponent. I think this is the main thing. If you feel like you are open and moving, you can do what you want.
“That is the main strategy, but of course I cannot tell you the secrets of my preparation. You can see it in our fight.”
With that said, Kryklia is willing to reveal what made him – and continues to make him – such a dominating force in the division.
“One of my biggest strengths is not only natural power, but the power inside me,” he said.
“The fighter’s character is one of the most important things in the fight, especially in the last round, so I always know that I have some reserve power inside my soul.
“Of course, I’m waiting for the moment when I can punch hard and finish the fight, but I always prepare for a hard five-round fight.”
If Kryklia can execute his strategy, he’ll defend his crown for the first time and hold down his coveted spot in the promotion – something that’s incredibly important to the Ukrainian.
“For me, to be the World Champion is of course [a big] responsibility, so in my next fight, I must prove that I’m the best,” Kryklia said.
“The biggest motivation for my training is to prove to everybody that I’m #1 in the light heavyweight division.”
Catch Kryklia and Aygun throw down in the main event of ONE: BIG BANG this Friday, 4 December, on the ONE Super App or meWATCH at 8:30 p.m. Singapore Standard Time (SGT). Channel 5 will cut in live with the action at 10 p.m. SGT.
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