Giorgio “The Doctor” Petrosyan is widely regarded as one of the best kickboxers on the planet, and on Friday, 20 April, he lived up to his reputation.
The Italian turned up the heat against two-division Lion Fight World Champion “Smokin’” Jo Nattawut in a kickboxing bout at ONE: HEROES OF HONOR, and won via unanimous decision in front of a capacity crowd at the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines.
Nattawut is known for his forward pressure and kick-heavy game, so Petrosyan, a master technician, decided to flip the script on his Thai adversary.
“I knew my opponent, and he did not surprise me,” the 32-year-old Milan, Italy native says. “On the contrary, it was me who surprised him.”
In a way, Petrosyan surprised many with his strategy.
Though he is known as a patient counter striker, the Italian uncharacteristically pushed the pace throughout the three-round affair. He consistently walked Nattawut down, limited the Thai’s movement, and went on the offensive. He attacked with fast and accurate boxing, and effectively mixed up his combinations to the body and head.
Petrosyan impressed most with his ability to apply forward pressure, while displaying rock-solid defense, and beautiful counter striking.
During some of the more heated exchanges, the two-time K-1 World MAX World Champion either blocked the Thai’s hard kicks, or caught them, and then retaliated immediately with sharp strikes.
Petrosyan certainly lived up to his moniker, as he sliced through Nattawut’s defenses with surgical precision. In order to pull off this victory, however, “The Doctor” did plenty of homework on the two-division Lion Fight World Champion.
“For the fight, I studied my opponent,” Petrosyan admits.
“I knew he would be aggressive, so I was more [aggressive]. I knew I had to block Nattawut’s kicks, so I studied a tactic with my coach Ermes Di Francesca to create some blocks, move, and then return with punches – but much more aggressive than him, and always using a lot of technique.
“I enjoyed this match a lot. I had a good performance, I prepared well, and the tactic worked. It could not have gone better than that. The best memory I have is when they raised my arm up to award me the victory. It was by far the best moment.”
Petrosyan also made history, as he was victorious in the first-ever ONE Super Series kickboxing bout to co-headline a ONE Championship event. With the victory, he also elevated his astonishing record to 96-2-2 (1 NC).
Currently, “The Doctor” is back in Milan, where he is preparing for another kickboxing contest in the coming months.
While he is adamant that he’s focused on “one fight at a time,” he has previously expressed his desire to compete against Muay Thai legend Buakaw Banchamek in the future. That showdown would be a rematch of their May 2007 clash, which was ruled a draw.
Whomever his opponent is, after enjoying the atmosphere at the Mall Of Asia Arena, Petrosyan hopes to make his return to the ONE Super Series ring soon.
“If there is a chance,” he says, “I would really like to fight again in ONE Championship.”