Sports

  • ONE Friday Fights 59: French-Algerian looks to maintain KO momentum in headliner
    on Apr 18, 2024 at 8:46 am

    French-Algerian Joachim Ouraghi is being thrust into the headliner spotlight at ONE Friday Fights 59 after a stunning debut knockout. The 28-year-old made his first appearance in ONE Championship in January and made his intentions clear from the outset with an impressive second-round stoppage of Gingsanglek Tor Laksong. Ouraghi found himself on the floor early in the fight but had the composure to assert himself in the fight well, dropping his Thai opponent with chopping leg kicks and some punishing shots to the body. It would be the body attack that would ultimately stop the fight in the second stanza. With an overall Muay Thai record of 32-3 he is now looking to establish himself in ONE Championships ranks.  Standing across from him at the  Lumpinee Boxing Stadium, Bangkok will be Yamin PK Saenchai. Another student of the famed PK Saenchai Muay Thai Gym, Yamin is also in just his second ONE Championship bout this week, having also secured a knockout win on debut. This will be a battle between two men hungry for success, and the chance to prove themselves in the world’s biggest martial arts organisation. Both have the pedigree and reputation of fighters who come looking to end things early so expect fireworks from the outset. ONE Friday Fights 59 takes place Friday April 17 3.30pm GST at the Lumpinee Boxing Stadium, Bangkok. This is an event not to be missed so mark your calendars, tune in to the fight via watch.onefc.com and the ONE Championship YouTube channel. The first half of the card can be seen on BeIN Sports.

  • New ONE Championship king Alexis Nicolas ready to fight ‘the world’
    on Apr 11, 2024 at 1:29 pm

    ONE Championship Lightweight Kickboxing World Champion Alexis Nicolas knows he is a man with a target on his back after taking the title last weekend. French-Algerian Nicolas defeated the long-standing two-sport world champion Regian Eersel at ONE Fight Night 21 but recognises he has little time to bask in the glory of his win. For one, he will have an angry Surinamese fighter wanting to take his title back – but even behind Eersel there is a lengthy list of top competitors forming. “You know, I will rest a little bit because I’m tired and then after that I will come back to training,” explained the 25-year-old. “I know this fight was very hard, I know Eersel wants this belt again. I know all the world wants this belt. Now I can sleep, and after that I want to come back and fight now. I’m hungry.” Eersel had ridden a 22-fight win streak into the fight against Nicolas, who was making just his second appearance in ONE Championship. However, after dominating the divisions of Europe, it was the challenger who was able to deal better with deep waters of a five-round war to claim the crown. Whether his next fight is a rematch with Eersel, or another lightweight contender, Nicolas is not concerned. “It’s simple. I have the belt. I want to fight against anyone who wants the belt.” One thing not on his radar at the moment however, is chasing Eersel’s other title, the lightweight Muay Thai crown – for now he will be sticking to the kickboxing division. “It’s not my target right now,” he said. “I know he has a big advantage in Muay Thai because I’m from savate, it’s another discipline, I don’t have elbows. But I worked hard every day. So we will see. It’s not my target. I want to defend my belt for the first time, and we’ll see after.”  Nicolas has a burgeoning following in both France and Algeria and he hopes that some of his work can inspire those who look up to him, and drive them to be the best they can be. “I represent all the kids who have a dream and [who want to] work hard for this dream, to represent all the people who grew up without their father,” he said. “I’m a man with big values and that’s what I represent.”  

  • ANTA and Dallas Mavericks superstar Kyrie Irving unveil ‘Enlightened Warrior ANTA KAI 1’
    on Apr 11, 2024 at 5:45 am

    ANTA officially reveals ‘The Enlightened Warrior’, the second colourway of the ANTA KAI 1. Inspired by ANTA Chief Creative Officer and global basketball icon Kyrie Irving’s ethos, the latest ANTA KAI 1 iteration is rooted in a foundation of symbolism, with each element representing the lifestyle and process of everything from the physical to the mental to the spiritual, derived from Irving’s lineage and heritage. In a true collaboration between ANTA’s Design Director, Jared Subawon, Colour Design Director, Shaneika Warden, and Senior Graphic Designer, Astin Davis, the trio tells the unique story of ‘The Enlightened Warrior’, marrying African American and Indigenous cultures to bring to light an authentically Irving sneaker. “The diverse colour combinations of ‘The Enlightened Warrior’ ANTA KAI 1 are a true representation of Kyrie,” Warden said. “He is multi-layered: an amazing athlete and a phenomenal human being off the court. He’s a businessman and a creative thinker. We wanted to parallel that with our strategic use of colour in this iteration.” Mirroring the initial ANTA KAI 1 colourway launched in February, purple remains Irving’s beacon. Representing mysticism and magic in African culture, purple validates that he’s on the right path. Adding additional symbolism to the overarching colour strategy, red represents strength, yellow for speed, green for focus, and purple for agility. “Purple is trending to be a massive colour in 2025, so having that insight and personal connectivity to the colour from our Chief Creative Officer is already leading within the industry,” Warden added. “When Kyrie came on board, the idea was to shake things up in the industry and be disruptive in an unexpected way. “We are doing that already in such a short time but are only getting started.” The darker tones – specifically the black imprint – allow the pop colours to sing from near and far – on the court, in an arena, or on a television broadcast. “It’s obvious when Kyrie is on the court, he is like a highlighter,” Subawon said. “The bright colours – representing so much for him as a man and a basketball player – can be seen at a distance and, with his speed of play, are as if he is turning into the ‘Enlightened Warrior’ himself on the court.” The heel graphic, hieroglyphic alphabet, “master your craft” statement, and war marks—which add up to Irving’s jersey number 11—speak to his fans to tell a true tribal story. They double down on the theme of going into battle, further representing all aspects and qualities of Irving’s game. “The black-and-white patterns on the shoes are different from one another to speak to the duality and paradoxical qualities that bring harmony to the Enlightened Warrior story,” Davis said. “Incorporating esoteric symbolism while balancing it with exoteric patterns brought the complexity of this graphic story together perfectly.” The ANTA KAI 1 ‘The Enlightened Warrior’ retails for Dh555 and is available in sizes US 8 to 12.5. It will be available on April 13 in stores in Sneaker District, Abu Dhabi and ANTA flagship store in Dubai Hills Mall. You can pre-book your pair on the following link and the first 50 customers to get the pair from the store will receive a limited edition jersey.

  • French-Algerian Alexis Nicolas reflects on becoming ONE Championship world champ
    on Apr 10, 2024 at 4:05 pm

    Last weekend, the fight world was introduced to a new superstar – French-Algerian Alexis Nicolas. At ONE Fight Night 21, he was able to do what for everyone before him had been impossible – defeat Regian Eersel, and in doing so capture the ONE Lightweight Kickboxing world title – all in just two ONE Championship fights. Going into the fight, Eersel had won 22 consecutive fights and owned a clean 10-0 slate in ONE. It was a record that had made him a two-sport world champion (he is still the lightweight Muay Thai world champion), having seen off the challenge of some of the biggest names in both divisions. For Nicolas, it was a daunting task but he was bringing an impressive record of his own. The 25-year-old had dominated the European kickboxing scene and remained unbeaten in 23 bouts. At the famed Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Nicolas took the champion the distance – outlasting him with a variety of strikes and ultimately a will to keep pushing the pace deep into the fight.  “I was ready for five rounds of cardio, unlimited cardio, you know, because I worked hard every day. So I saw in his face, he wasn’t ready and he knew it would be a hard fight,” said Nicolas. Eersel had started the fight quickly and Nicolas admits he was hurt in the opener, but had enough to regain his composure and then force pressure onto the champion. “It was very hard, it was a very hard fight. He was very strong and I know he was very painful in the first round. I was painful too when I kicked his knee. We have two big champions and the best won. And it was me.” Going into the fight calf kicks made up a sizeable portion of his game plan and they paid dividends on the night, Nicolas was quick to pay tribute to his team for this. “That was the game plan, the calf kick was the strategy and I saw he wasn’t ready for this,” he said. “I’m very proud. I worked hard. That was the game plan with my gym, Mahmoudi Gym. So thank you, thank you. It was a crazy fight.” His fans across Europe and North Africa also got a special mention from the new champion. “My friends, my fans, my family, thank you for trusting me,” said Nicolas. “You know, now I see this fight is very good for me because you discovered me and you made the real Alexis. You understand why I’m like that, you understand why I work so hard. Why my dream is to be the best and now the next adventure for me would be crazy.”

  • Tickets on sale for Abu Dhabi World Judo Championships to be held at Mubadala Arena
    on Apr 5, 2024 at 9:25 am

    Tickets have gone on sale for general public to attend and take in the excitement and charm at the Abu Dhabi World Championships Seniors 2024 Individuals and Mixed Teams to be held in the UAE Capital in the second half of May. The Supreme Organising Committee of the Abu Dhabi World Championships Seniors 2024 Individuals and Mixed Teams has targeted audiences from across the UAE and the region for this mega sporting event that is scheduled to be held at the Mubadala Arena from May 19-24. Organised by the International Judo Federation in close coordination with the UAE Judo Federation, the week-long competition is expecting to host hundreds of judokas from more than 100 nations from around the world. Now in its 37th edition, the World Judo Championships in Abu Dhabi is the final qualifying round for athletes and there is expected to be a frenzied race for the limited spots on offer towards qualifying for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. The judo competition at the Summer Games is to be held from July 27 to August 2. His Excellency Mohammed Bin Tha’aloob Saleem Al Darie, President of the UAE Judo Federation was thrilled with the official sale of tickets to such a grand sporting extravaganza that is being hosted for the first time by Abu Dhabi. “This very special event is a vehicle in which to send a message from Abu Dhabi to the world, a message of peace, tolerance, diversity and unity. I welcome all the participating nations to be part of this historic event in the United Arab Emirates, and to explore the culture and hospitality of our country,” Al Darie said. “The excitement could not get better, especially because this event is the final grand competition before the 2024 Paris Olympics. This will be among the biggest chances for the athletes to try and qualify for an important event like an Olympic Games. And that is why we are expecting the general sporting public from the UAE to snap up tickets for this truly international competition,” he added. Al Darie further reiterated that he was excited with the response and the prospects of the general public putting in a huge attendance on all the days of the competition in May. “In addition to UAE residents, we will need to cater to visiting guests and enthusiasts of the sport,” Al Darie observed. Marius L. Vizer, President of the International Judo Federation was pleased with assigning such a huge responsibility on Abu Dhabi. “Abu Dhabi is moving forward in all areas of life and their clear commitment to sport is no exception. No stranger to us as an exemplary IJF host nation, having provided the perfect conditions for an outstanding 2023 World Championships Veterans and World Championships Kata, alongside the annual Abu Dhabi Grand Slam, the Emirates again lend their expertise, organization and friendship to the judo family,” Vizer acknowledged. “This final global liaison of the Paris 2024 Olympic qualification period is entrusted to the UAE Judo Federation because we know we are in safe hands. We will enjoy the perfect mix of spectacle, excellence and hospitality with athletes from all continents being welcomed here once again,” he added. Tickets for Abu Dhabi World Championships Seniors 2024 Individuals and Mixed Teams have been reasonably priced starting from AED 250 per day and going up to AED 550 per day for the VIPs. Tickets can be easily sourced and obtained online HERE. There is a cash allocation of €800,000 for the individual competitions that is being held on the first five days in seven weights categories each for men and women. The women’s competitions will be in the -48 kg, -52 kg, -57 kg, -63 kg, -70 kg, -78 kg and +78 kg, while the men’s competitions will be worked out in the -60 kg, -66 kg, -73 kg, -81 kg, -90 kg, -100 kg and +100 kg weight categories. Each of the Gold medal winners will get €26,000 (€20,800 for the champion and €5,200 for the coach), while the Silver medal winner will get €15,000 (€12,000 for the athlete and €3,000 for the coach) and the Bronze medal winner will get €8,000 (€6,400 for the athlete and €1,600 for the coach). In the competition for teams, the Gold medal will fetch €90,000 for the team, the Silver medal will hand the team €48,000, while the Bronze medal winning team will walk away with €25,000.

  • ONE Fight Night 21: Grappling twins facing a big night in Bangkok
    on Apr 4, 2024 at 6:55 pm

    Tye and Kade Ruotolo are something very special in the world of martial arts. The 21-year-old twin brothers from the United States have been considered prodigies from a young age, but turning that promise into performance is something we don’t always see. However, after a little over a decade of dominance on the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu scene, the list of accomplishments for both men is almost unparalleled.  Both are undefeated at 5-0 in their ONE Championship careers, with Tye holding the welterweight submission grappling world title, and Kade the lightweight version of the crown. On a global scale, Tye is the youngest grappler ever to reach the semi finals of the prestigious ADCC – he did so in 2019 aged just 16. Kade went a little better in 2022 becoming the youngest ever winner of the ADCC world championship in the 77kg division. This is an elite level of success rarely seen by one fight, for two it is simply unheralded.  And the pair return to the ring this weekend at ONE Fight Night 21.  Tye will be the co-main event at the famed Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, when he puts his title on the line against Australia’s Izaak Mitchell. This will be the 25-year-old’s ONE Championship debut, but don’t let that fool you. His experience and BJJ education is vast having trained under some of the world’s most respected coaches, and tested his skills against multiple IBJJF world champions over the course of the last decade. For Kade, a different challenge awaits – this time in the form of a catchweight battle with the dangerous submission specialist Francisco Lo. A Pan-American no-gi champion, and US national champion in the gi, Lo moved to the US from his native Brazil and has built a reputation for his aggressive style – earning his BJJ black belt two years ago. Ruolto is relishing the opportunity this ONE Championship debutant will offer. “Honestly, what excites me is his last solid win,” said Kade. “I saw him get a submission win over [ADCC Trials winner] Jacob Couch, and he beat some high-level guys. And I’ve seen that win over [ADCC Trials winner] William Tackett, and he has some solid wins under his belt. “He’s, for the most part, a submission-based, submission-oriented fighter. He throws some crazy subs out there, and I just think it will be a very fun and intriguing matchup.” ONE Fight Night 21: Eersel vs. Nicolas takes place Saturday April 6 4am GST at the Lumpinee Boxing Stadium, Bangkok. This is an event not to be missed so mark your calendars, tune in to the fight on BeIN Sports, download the ONE Super App, and go to watch.onefc.com now!  

  • ONE Fight Night 21: Two-sport champion Regian Eersel could face toughest challenge to date
    on Apr 3, 2024 at 7:57 am

    ONE Championship lightweight Muay Thai and Kickboxing world champion Regian Eersel returns to the ring this week – but could face the toughest fight of his ONE career. The Netherlands native has swept all before him in a perfect 10-0 ONE record, including some of the strike game’s biggest stars like Nieky Holzken and Sinsamut Klinmee – both of whom he has defeated on two occasions.  ‘Immortal’ by name, and seemingly nature, Eersel has maximised his limb length to devastating effect with a highlight reel of kicks and flying knees to his name.  He is also the only person to have held his current titles – having claimed the inaugural edition of both – the kickboxing crown in 2019, and the Muay Thai belt since 2022 – with an impressive six defences between the two. Such was his dominance of the divisions that many had touted title reigns well into the future – however there may now be a challenger with the requisite skill set to test that theory. This week, at ONE Fight Night 21, Eersel will take on a fellow European in France’s Alexis “Barboza” Nicolas.  While Eersel may be accustomed to the ONE right, this will only be Nicolas’ second contest with the world’s biggest martial arts organisation, but don’t see that as a lack of experience. The 25-year-old dominated the European kickboxing scene with his traditional savate style, racking up an impressive 22-fight win streak which caught the attention of the ONE matchmakers.  Having seen off the challenge of Magomed Magomedov in his debut, Nicolas is now thrown in with the biggest shark in the water – with the chance to turn a rough upbringing in some of Paris’ toughest areas into a fairytale world title win. ONE Fight Night 21: Eersel vs. Nicolas takes place Saturday April 6 4am GST at the Lumpinee Boxing Stadium, Bangkok. This is an event not to be missed so mark your calendars, tune in to the fight on BeIN Sports, download the ONE Super App, and go to watch.onefc.com now!  

  • Watch: Power, precision, and unrelenting pace – Jonathan Di Bella’s ONE Championship recipe for success
    on Apr 1, 2024 at 10:30 am

    Jonathan Di Bella might only be two fights into his ONE Championship career, but what an impression the 27-year-old has made. On his debut back in October 2022 Di Bella announced himself on the ONE scene with a five round win over Zhang Peimian to claim the ONE Strawweight Kickboxing World Title. He followed up that success with another impressive win, this time picking apart Danial Williams over five brutal rounds. Trained by his father (a two-time kickboxing world champion) since the age of two, Di Bella may have seemed destined for glory. He stepped into the ring for the first time at the age of ten, and turned professional at 19 – going on to dominate in North America. On April 5th he will make the walk alongside his father once more, but this time likely faces his toughest test to date. At ONE Friday Fights 58 at the iconic Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Di Bella will defend against current ONE Strawweight Muay Thai World Champion Prajanchai PK Saenchai. Undefeated as a professional, Italian-Canadian Di Bella has 12 unblemished fights to his name and will be looking to further enhance his legacy against the highly experienced Thai hero Prajanchai. Ahead of that let’s look back at Di Bella’s last outing and remind ourselves of the striking prowess that’s made his the champion he is today ONE Friday Fights 58: Superbon vs. Grigorian II takes place Friday April 5 3.30pm GST at the Lumpinee Boxing Stadium, Bangkok. This is an event not to be missed so mark your calendars, tune in to the fight on BeIN Sports, download the ONE Super App, and go to watch.onefc.com now!

  • Watch: Relive Superbon vs Grigorian ahead of their ONE Friday Fights 58 title clash
    on Apr 1, 2024 at 10:18 am

    In just one week’s time Superbon Singha Mawynn and Marat Grigorian will once again collide in the latest installment of their storied rivalry. On the line at ONE Friday Fights 58 will be the ONE interim featherweight kickboxing world title, and a route back towards a shot at current divisional king Chingiz Allazov. It was Superbon who Allazov took the title from, and has since defended against Grigorian – but the story between next week’s combatants cuts much deeper than that. Before their days in ONE Championship Grigorian destroyed Superbon inside 30 seconds with a devastating knockout – but once both men arrived in the world’s largest martial arts organisation it was Superbon who would find revenge in a five-round unanimous decision win.  Since his defeat to Allazov, Grigorian has scored an impressive KO win over Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong, while Superbon picked up a KO win of his own over Tayfun Ozcan, but failed in his bid to become featherweight Muay Thai champion when he lost to Tawanchai PK Saenchai in December.  Superbon wants his title back, Grigorian wants his first taste of gold – before we get to see what comes next – let’s first relive their epic encounter last time out ONE Friday Fights 58: Superbon vs. Grigorian II takes place Friday April 5 3.30pm GST at the Lumpinee Boxing Stadium, Bangkok. This is an event not to be missed so mark your calendars, tune in to the fight on BeIN Sports, download the ONE Super App, and go to watch.onefc.com now!

  • ONE Friday Fights 58: Prajanchai bids to become a two sport world champion
    on Mar 28, 2024 at 10:51 am

    When it comes to modern greats in the world of martial arts, the name Prajanchai P.K.Saenchai is always part of the conversation. A Muay Thai hero, the 29-year-old Thai fighter has amassed a huge following thanks to his devastating striking skills, stunning agility, and rock solid defence. With more than 400 fights to his name, he has amassed a string of accolades and world titles, including holding the prestigious Lumpinee Stadium and Rajadamnern Stadium World Titles in two different weight classes. His illustrious 15-year career brought him to ONE Championship in July 2021, where he would pick up a majority decision win over Sam-A Gaiyanghadao on debut, to capture the ONE strawweight Muay Thai world title.  That reign was short lived however as he suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Joseph Lasiri in May 2022. Since that point we have seen a rejuvenated Prajanchai. One who has gone on a four-fight win streak including a stunning KO of Lasiri last time out to recapture his Muay Thai world crown. On April 5, at the Lumpinee Boxing Stadium, Bangkok, he will be looking to add to his collection of gold and further enhance his legacy when he aims to become a two sport world champion. Standing in his way will be the current strawweight kickboxing king, Jonathan di Bella. The Canadian Italian may only have two fights to his name in ONE, but a look at his overall record is staggering.  A professional since the age of 19, the 27 year-old boasts an unblemished record in kickboxing and boxing – dominating the regional scenes of North American and further into the international arena.  It was on his ONE debut that he captured the strawweight kickboxing world title defeating Zhang Peimian in five intense rounds, before following up with another hard fought decision in his first defence against Danial Williams.  Prajanchai will offer his toughest task to date – but this is a man who simply does not know how to lose.  Will it be two-sport domination for the Thai legend? Or another step to greatness for di Bella? Fight fans around the world will be excited to find out.  ONE Friday Fights 58: Superbon vs. Grigorian II takes place Friday April 5 3.30pm GST at the Lumpinee Boxing Stadium, Bangkok. This is an event not to be missed so mark your calendars, tune in to the fight on BeIN Sports, download the ONE Super App, and go to watch.onefc.com now!  

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