ONE Championship makes its 13th stop in Manila on Friday. But unlike its previous visits, fans will have a new thing to watch out for come fight night as the organization debuts its Super Series.
Designed to give martial artists another pathway to showcase what they can do on a professional level, the Super Series is a unique martial arts league that will feature other Asian martial art forms like Muay Thai, Lethwei, Silat, Karate, Taekwondo, Sambo, Kung Fu, Sanda and Wushu.
This is in complement to ONE’s world-class mixed martial arts offering which has picked up much following beyond the Asian region since it set up shop in 2011.
“This is a massive game-changing moment, not just for ONE Championship but also for the world of martial arts,” said ONE chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong as he spoke of the Super Series.
In the lead-up to the debut of the martial arts league, ONE shared some key points about the Super Series that fans should take note of.
First off is that it will debut in grand fashion as it will feature four fights on the night of “ONE: Heroes of Honor” at the Mall of Asia Arena on Friday, April 20.
It will feature a three-round kickboxing encounter between international superstar Giorgio Petrosyan of Italy who takes on “Smokin’” Jo Nattawut of Thailand.
Also tap are celebrated Thai kickboxer Nong-O Gaiyanghadao against French-Italian dynamo Fabio Pinca in a three-round Muay Thai tussle, Elliot Compton and Cosmo Alexandre in a Muay Thai clash, and Brad Riddell locking horns with Regian Eersel in a kickboxing showdown.
Said fights are part of the main card for the headlining fight between Filipino bantamweight force Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon and American Andrew Leone.
NO CAGE BUT RING
In conjunction with the debut of the Super Series, the organization will also unveil its brand-new five-rope ring.
For the first time in its history, ONE fights will not be done in a cage but instead in an all-new battlefield.
The ONE Championship ring measures by an external dimension of 28 feet by 28 feet, while its internal dimension is 24 feet by 24 feet.
Surrounded by five ropes in bright white, the ring canvas is light gray, in typical color of the traditional ONE Championship cage.
All 11 bouts at Heroes of Honor are to be held inside the new ring, including matches that are officiated under the organization’s Global Rule Set.
ONE Super Series athletes will either wear eight-ounce or 10-ounce boxing gloves depending on the weight of the athletes. Ten-ounce gloves will be required in matches above 65.8 kilograms.
Unlike its mixed martial arts counterpart, Muay Thai and kickboxing matches in ONE Super Series will be scored in a ten-point must system and will be contested in three three-minute rounds.
Moreover, an in-ring competitor who is knocked down three times in the same round will be declared knocked out by the referee.
Elbow strikes will only be allowed in Muay Thai bouts as kickboxing matches in ONE Super Series will follow the heavily-praised oriental rule set, which was famously used by the now-defunct K-1 organization. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo