The memories of Timofey Nastyukhin’s catastrophic injury are still fresh in his mind as a disastrous low roundhouse kick cost him a broken shin, a third career loss, and nine months of rehabilitation.
With the knockout power that he possesses, many cageside pundits believed that Nastyukhin would have a walk in the park when he crossed paths with former ONE Lightweight World Champion Kotetsu “No Face” Boku in November 2016.
However, Boku flipped the script when Nastyukhin kicked the Japanese veteran’s front leg and fell to the floor in pain during the second minute of the opening round.
Although Nastyukhin knew that he was injured, he showed superhuman determination and grit to finish the first frame of the lightweight contest.
Nastyukhin tried to subdue the pain that he was going through, but upon the recommendation of the attending physician, the referee deemed him unfit to continue and awarded the technical knockout win to Boku.
“That fateful night nearly cost me my career,” he recalled. “They carried me out of the building on a stretcher, and brought me to the hospital where I heard the diagnosis — a broken tibia. Many people admired my perseverance in that fight, and they cannot believe I finished the round.”
Soon thereafter, Nastyukhin had an operation in Singapore and spent the next several months rehabilitating his injury in Russia.
Nastyukhin also contemplated whether or not he wanted to continue chasing his dreams of achieving ONE Championship gold.
“During these months, I questioned if I should go back into the cage,” he confessed. “But I am not a quitter. The rehab was going well, and I started craving my revenge. I felt like I was so close to the top. I almost got it. In hindsight, that setback only made me more determined.”
Nastyukhin made his long awaited return in August 2017, squaring off against former world title challenger Koji “The Commander” Ando on the undercard of ONE KINGS & CONQUERORS in Macao, China.
Although he made a glorious return by notching a unanimous decision victory over Ando, Nastyukhin was far from satisfied with his performance against the Japanese combatant as he shied away from relentless approach inside the cage.
Nastyukhin is recognized for being an unforgiving competitor, who aims to aggressively pursue the knockout when he steps into the cage.
Given even the slightest opportunity, Nastyukhin has opponents looking up at the spotlights in almost no time at all.
Moreover, Nastyukhin owns the fastest knockout in ONE Championship history at a mere six second with the win coming over dangerous Australian Rob Lisita in May 2016.
Nastyukhin’s 91 percent finishing rate speaks volumes as six of his wins have come by knockout and his first three victories in ONE Championship all came by knockout.
Looking back in his comeback bout, Nastyukhin admitted that the match with Ando was a necessary step in his mental growth as a martial artist.
“I did not feel weak or frightened, but I definitely felt unsure if I still belonged in the cage and if I was still the top contender in this game,” he said. “The only way to beat those thoughts was to compete and to win.”
Nastyukhin will wear his four-ounce gloves once again on 23 February as he is set to take on Singaporean rising star Amir Khan in a colossal clash between proven knockout artists at ONE: QUEST FOR GOLD in Yangon, Myanmar.
The 28-year-old Russian standout knows that he needs to summon his old self, who sows terror into the hearts of those standing opposite him.
“I am known to strike fear because my objective is always to finish my cage counterparts. Fans around the world weren’t able to see my renowned finishing power in my last bout. They thought my injury changed me. In my upcoming, you will see the terrorizing Timofey Nastyukhin again,” he assured.
Khan is currently riding high on a six-bout win streak and has decimated every single opponent who stood across from him inside the ONE Championship cage.
Nastyukhin admitted that he has extensively watched all of Khan’s bouts in order to perfect his game plan.
“I am not training for a regular type of match, I am training for a match with Amir Khan. I study him, because now I need to win more than ever, and I will come prepared,” he stated.
Rededicating himself to his mission of becoming the ONE Lightweight World Champion, Nastyukhin is determined to obliterate every adversary who stands in his way.
”I must stop Amir Khan inside three rounds to establish a strong position in the lightweight division. My goal is to shoot for the gold soon after I get Khan out of the way,” he declared.“He is young and hungry. He wants what I want, but one of us has to clear the path for the other. I am coming for that win on 23rd of February.”
“He is young and hungry. He wants what I want, but one of us has to clear the path for the other. I am coming for that win on 23rd of February.”