When making a comparison between two highly successful people these days, often times basketball legend Michael Jordan is used as a metaphor for someone who is the best at his or her craft.
Whether it is a discussion about players on the basketball court or chefs in the kitchen, the phrase so and so is “the Michael Jordan” of blank has been a description used to explain greatness.
If there is someone who replicated the significance and success of a hard-court great like Jordan inside the kickboxing ring, it is Giorgio Petrosyan.
The 32-year-old Italian’s name carries a special weight to kickboxing fans as for four years, Petrosyan was the undeniable pound-for-pound king of the sport.
Nicknamed “The Doctor” for his supreme technical skills, ring generalship and defensive prowess which has seen him defeat some of the best strikers in the world while taking little-to-no damage, Petrosyan has been lacing up the gloves since he was 16 years of age.
Over the course of a stellar kickboxing career, Petrosyan has amassed a phenomenal record of 85-2-2 (2 NC) and is famed for his six-year, 42-bout winning streak.
From 2009 to 2013, Petrosyan established himself as the world’s top middleweight with two consecutive K-1 World MAX World Championship tournament titles.
Following It’s Showtime and K-1’s demise, Petrosyan then joined Glory in 2012 and further cemented his place as the best 154-pound kickboxer by winning the Glory 2012 Lightweight Slam tourney.
Petrosyan returns to the international kickboxing spotlight as he makes his debut for the ONE Super Series at ONE: HEROES OF HONOR in Manila, Philippines on Friday, April 20.
“When I step into the ring, I always want to win. I always focus on the quality of opponent that I will face. In this case, I can tell you that you will see a Giorgio Petrosyan different than usual,” Petrosyan guaranteed.
Although he has competed in every corner of the globe, Southeast Asia is relatively new territory for Petrosyan, who had a handful of bouts in Thailand earlier in his career.
With plenty of new fans to entertain, Petrosyan is keen to perform and tap into the region’s huge market under the ONE Championship umbrella.
“I am really excited to go to the Philippines to compete, and to show my skills to a new fan base,” he stated. “I love to travel, and I love to meet new people. ONE Championship looks to be a great organization, so I am really happy to have this opportunity.”
The man standing in Petrosyan’s way to claim his 86th career victory is Nattawut, who rose to stardom with his powerful elbow and knee strikes.
A former Lion Fight and WMC super welterweight titleholder, Nattawut has a similarly impressive record of 60-11-2.
The 27-year-old Thai dynamo is keen on making an instant impact in the ONE Super Series with a convincing triumph over the Italian kickboxing superstar in their 70-kilogram tussle.
“I am looking forward to put on a great performance. I have been training hard and going through strategies. I hope to give my 110 percent in Manila,” Petrosyan said about his three-round kickboxing encounter against Nattawut.
As he prepares for his promotional debut, Petrosyan stressed that he does not want to get too far ahead of himself despite his world-renowned status.
However, Petrosyan does see a promising partnership between athlete and promotion, given the supreme quality of the competitors that the matchmakers are bringing to the table.
“I want to go step-by-step, and focus on the match in Manila, which is next. After we get to know each other, and they are happy, there is a big name I would like,” he bared.
The organization’s reach and platform are sufficient enough to bring in the sport’s biggest names, which is why Petrosyan has his sights set on the biggest match-ups in ONE Super Series.
“Nobody made this bout work out before, but if ONE Championship will be able to sign Buakaw [Banchamek] to dance with me inside the ring, I am more than willing to accept the offer. I would be really, really happy to do that match with ONE Championship,” he explained.
Even though he is focused on the immediate future, Petrosyan knows that he needs to respect Nattawut when they collide in the ONE Championship five-rope ring on Friday.
“There is a bright future ahead of me by being part of ONE Championship, but I have to win first and foremost. Jo Nattawut wants what I have. I am here to prove that I can still excel in this sport,” he ended.