Interesting news coming out of Asia, as MMA promotion ONE Championship (nee OneFC) is going to be launching a professional kickboxing promotion starting on April 20th in Manila. The affair, which will be branded “ONE Championship Kickboxing,” will be a part of the show ONE: Heroes of Honor at the Mall of Asia Arena and will be headlined by Giorgio Petrosyan vs. Jo Nattawut.
The list of talent secured thus far is impressive, with the names including: Petchboonchu FA Group, Nong-O Gaiyanghadao, Yodsaenklai Fairtex, Sam-A Gaiyanghadao, Singtongnoi Por Telakun, Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke, Sagetdao Petpayathai, Kwankhao Mor. Rattanabandit, Yodcherry Sityodtong, Giorgio Petrosyan, Fabio Pinca, Alain Ngalani, Regian Ersel, and Sergej Maslobojev.
And just like that @ONEChampionship enters the kickboxing game and has signed superstars Giorgio Petrosian, Yodsanklai Fairtex, Fabio Pinca, Sagetdao Petpayathai, The great Petchboonchu, Sergio Maslogojev, Sam-A Gayanghadao, Regian Eersel and more! Holy cow!
— MichaelSchiavello PM (@SchiavelloVOICE) February 12, 2018
It will be interesting to see what comes of this, although it is a good sign that ONE sees kickboxing as a money-making endeavor moving forward. We’ve seen a resurgence in the popularity of kickboxing in Asia in the last few years, with promotions in Thailand producing more shows aimed at a non-Thai audience, featuring three-round fights with bigger production and modified rules, Japan is looking to enter another golden age with K-1 Japan, KRUSH, KNOCK OUT and possibly RIZIN getting into the mix, China has exploded and now ONE will attempt to hop onto the bandwagon.
More options for top-level fighters to make a living and more quality kickboxing available to fans is always a good thing.
UPDATE: Here are the kickboxing and muay thai bouts on the April 20th card.
Kickboxing: Brad Riddel vs. Regian Eersel
Muay Thai: Fabio Pinca vs. Nong-O Gaiyanghadao
Kickboxing: Giorgio Petrosyan vs. Jo Nattawut