KOK World Champion Sergej “Kuvalda” Maslobojev felt a little stressed ahead of his first ONE Championship appearance, but he overcame the pressure, and delivered an eye-catching performance.
On Saturday, 12 May, the Lithuanian made his promotional debut against Croatia’s Antonio Plazibat in an eagerly anticipated rematch at ONE: GRIT AND GLORY in Jakarta, Indonesia.
After three intense back-and-forth rounds, Maslobojev earned a second win over his European rival in front of a capacity crowd at the Jakarta Convention Center.
The 30-year-old Vilnius, Lithuania native was pleased to pick up the victory in the ONE Super Series kickboxing bout, especially because, despite his experience, he admits feeling some nerves during event week.
“It was really terrible at first, because there was big pressure,” Maslobojev reveals. “It was a new organization, and I wanted to give a good show. I did not really sleep well for a few days before the fight. I was really nervous before the start.”
Using his veteran experience, Maslobojev managed to steady the ship when the cage door closed. “Kuvalda” focused on the task at hand, and controlled the 2017 K-1 Heavyweight World Grand Prix Champion with solid boxing combinations and low kicks.
The Lithuanian may not have won by TKO, like he did when he defeated Plazibat two years ago in Greece, but the unanimous decision he secured in Jakarta was impressive nonetheless.
“When I went out, I felt great, and I did almost everything that I wanted,” he says.
“[There were] only a few times when I was a little bit too turned on – looking for the knockout. I was too excited and tried to finish everything with one punch.”
Most importantly for Maslobojev, he pleased the crowd – many of whom saw the battle as one of the night’s most riveting encounters.
Despite lacking a little bit of composure as he was trying to get the finish, he overcame a world-class adversary for the second time.
Now, with the pressure off his colossal shoulders, he wants to make a quick return to the cage, and challenge for a kickboxing world championship in ONE Super Series as quickly as he can.
“I want to get back as soon as possible,” he states.
“The ONE Super Series World Title has become my number one goal. It is my main mission to be the world champion, and this win was just the first thing I had to conquer.”
Maslobojev intends to commit himself even more to his training in order to achieve his world title aspirations.
As a coach and personal trainer, he has had to sacrifice his own training at times to help others. But he is reinvigorated by his new home in ONE Championship, and because of his thirst for success, he plans to be a little more selfish.
“I am going to focus more on myself so I can work on my mistakes and improve,” the Lithuanian explains. “I know what I need to fix, but I needed more energy. I will free up some more time and treat myself right.
“After seeing how people reacted to my performance, I think there is a realistic chance I could get the title shot, so I will prepare better than ever.”