While he believed that the unification bout between heavyweights Anatoly Malykhin and Arjan Bhullar could have given more, ONE CEO and Chairman Chatri Sityodtong still praised the two fighters for putting up a fun fight.
The two top heavyweights finally met to unify the division belt on June 23 at ONE Friday Fights 22 at the Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok.
Former ONE interim heavyweight world champion Anatoly Malykhin sent erstwhile titleholder Arjan Bhullar to a third-round technical knockout (punches) loss to become the undisputed king of the division.
Despite an injured leg, the Russian fighter was dominant right from the get-go, steadily tearing down Arjan Bhullar with powerful strikes. It eventually came to an end at the 2:42 mark of the third round with ‘Singh’ Bhullar down on the mat, unable to find an escape from the pounding of ‘Sladkiy’ which prompted the referee to wave off the contest.
Speaking to the South China Morning Post following ONE Friday Fights 22, Chatri Sityodtong said that the heavyweight unification bout did not go the thunderous route he was expecting, but it was still a good and fun fight.
The ONE executive said:
“Hats off to both of them for giving a good fight, despite them not performing at their best levels in my opinion. I thought it was still a fun fight. It just wasn’t the level that they normally operate at or compete at.”
Watch the interview below:
The victory made Anatoly Malykhin, who is also the light heavyweight king, a bona-fide double ONE world champion. It also extended his undefeated professional mixed martial arts record to 13-0, with the last five coming under ONE Championship.
He is now targeting a third world title, setting his sights on Dutch champion Reinier de Ridder and his ONE middleweight world title.
Replay of ONE Friday Fights 22 is available on ONE Championship’s YouTube page.