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Former ONE World Title challenger and current #2-ranked flyweight Danny “The King” Kingad is finally getting a shot at the man he’s called out for so long.
Kingad will face former ONE Flyweight World Champion and current #3-ranked flyweight Kairat “The Kazakh” Akhmetov of Kazakhstan on Friday, 4 December during ONE: BIG BANG.
Kingad has long clamored for a showdown with Akhmetov, and now he’s looking forward to test the guy now he’s finally get to face him.
“I’ve wanted to face him for a long time because I want to test my skills against him, particularly in wrestling. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be a fun fight,” said Kingad, who then boldly predicted his win by knockout. “I don’t know how the fight will go. We’ll know once we’re in there. But I’m definitely going for the finish. I think this won’t last two rounds. It will end with a second round knockout.”
“The King” faces a three-time National Greco-Roman Champion in Kazakhstan, and a regional taekwondo champion in Akhmetov.
Akhmetov is viewed to not have the striking skills to match his wrestling but Kingad believes it’s a misconception.
“I think his biggest strength is that he’s very well-rounded. He has good wrestling skills, but he’s not just a wrestler. He can strike too and I shouldn’t underestimate him,” said Kingad. “I think I’m better than him in the striking department, but we’ll have to wait and see in the fight. He’s improved a lot. I think I’m better than him all-around. I’m very proud of my skills, and I think I have the best team behind me. We’ve prepared very well for this fight. We have a good strategy coming into this. I want to win for my family, my fans, and for the Filipino people.”
There are high stakes riding on this bout. If Kingad can beat Akhmetov, it could set him up to face the winner of the highly-anticipated title showdown between reigning ONE Flyweight World Champion Adriano Moraes and former UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson.
Kingad is fully fixated on victory, working double time with his comrades at Team Lakay. The Filipino star is aiming for a spectacular performance, one that will signal his readiness to challenge for the world title once more.
“Of course, he’s very good on the ground, has strong control, and can finish opponents on the mat. If he had any area of weakness, it would have to be in his striking. That’s what I’m going to try to expose. I’m focusing on that,” said Kingad.
On the other hand, “The Kazakh” has nothing but kind words for his next adversary.
The 33-year-old from Almaty, Kazakhstan threw heaps of praises towards the Team Lakay star ahead of their highly-anticipated flyweight bout.
“He doesn’t have many holes in his game. He is a complete fighter who can strike, wrestle, and grapple well. He always has good cardio too. But me and my coach have analyzed him a lot. Everyone has some weak spots, and I will work on exploiting him when we meet,” said Akhmetov.
“The King” is indeed riding a good run over the past few years. He won seven of his last eight contests, earned a spot in the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix in 2019, beating highly-touted opponent Senzo Ikeda in the quarter-finals. His only loss during the streak was to former UFC legend Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson, whom he lost to in the final round.
Kingad was supposed to meet Akhmetov in the semi-final round but the latter injured and was replaced by Reece McLaren.
Kingad then overcame the Fil-Aussie’ tough challenge to advance to the finals.
“Danny is a very interesting fighter with a big heart, and a strong will to win. He is a very explosive, and well-rounded athlete. This bout is interesting to me because we were supposed to face each other in the Grand Prix. Now, we have a chance to finish our business. I have only a good impression of him. He is a really good and worthy opponent,” said Akhmetov.
“I’m confident in all areas of my game. I’m not just a wrestler. We are ranked very high in this division, and this match is a can’t-miss for all fans. There’s a lot on the line in this one. I will do everything in my power to get my hand raised on that day. Everything else is up to the Almighty.”
By Armando M. Bolislis