ONE Championship’s Reign of Valor is happening at the end of the week on Friday in the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar. Competitors, Zebaztian “The Bandit” Kadestam of Sweden and Georgiy “Knight” Kichigin of Kazakhstan, are set and ready to face off with one another as the main event. Other ONE athletes will include locals Phoe “Bushido” Thaw, “The Dragon Leg” Tial Thang andBozhena “Toto” Antoniyar.
The fight on Friday will be a huge moment for Kadestam who will be defending his World Title. The Sweden native is more than ready to embrace the fight as he defends his belt.
“I’m beyond honored and excited to be defending my ONE Welterweight World Championship in Yangon on March 8th,” shared Kadestam. “This will be my first World Title defense in ONE, and as the saying goes, you aren’t a champion until you have defended your belt.
Despite being at the top of his division, Kadestam is looking past his competitor in Kichigin.
“I am fully focused on proving that I am a true champion and that I deserve to have this prestigious belt around my waist. I know that Georgiy [Kichigin] will be a very tough challenger. He has great momentum now and has beaten some very talented opponents, but I have prepared hard. I have trained well for this title defense. In my mind, this is the biggest fight of my career. I will do everything that I can to remain the ONE Welterweight World Champion.”
On the opposing end, Kichigin has beat numerous top fighters. But, he admitted he knows how big of a victory it would be Friday to beat the defending champ.
“This will be the most important fight of my career,” stated Kichigin. “I have defeated many big names in the past, but if I can defeat Zebaztian Kadestam and become the new ONE Welterweight World Champion, then that will definitely be the biggest win ever. I am very excited for this fight because this will be the biggest stage that I have been on. If I can become a world champion in just my first time with ONE Championship, then that will put me in the history books as well.”
Thaw spoke with the media during ONE’s open workout about his fight with Thang and hopes to bounce back after losing in his last fight.
“It is always an amazing experience to be able to fight at home in Yangon, and I look forward to doing it again on March 8th. I am coming off the first loss of my career, and you can bet that I am more motivated and more determined than ever to get a win and get back on track. I believe that if I win my next fight, I am one of the top contenders in the featherweight division. I know that I am only a few wins away from earning a World Title shot.”
As for Thang, who also is playing in his hometown, the fight is even a bigger deal for him.
“I absolutely cannot wait to make that walk to the cage in Yangon. This is a dream come true for me, to be able to make my ONE debut in front of my home country. I am seriously pumped for this. It means a lot to me as a mixed martial artist to be able to showcase my skills and put my hard work on display in front of the great fans of Myanmar. I hope that they enjoy what I show them come March 8th. I promise it’s going to be a treat.”
This Friday, both fights will go down. Will Kichigin keep his 14-bout win streak going or will Kadestam retain his belt? In a fight between hometown favorites, which fighter will reign victorious: Thang or Thaw?
Tune in by downloading the ONE Super App to watch all the fighters.
Managing Editor of The Ball Out.