KUALA LUMPUR: When Agilan 'Alligator' Thani squares off against Yoshihiro 'Sexy Yama' Akiyama at ONE: LEGENDARY QUEST in China on Saturday, 15 June, there is one factor that will stand out between them — their age gap.
The Sentul native is 20 years younger than his 43-year-old adversary, but he admitted the difference in age could play a decisive role in their three-round welterweight mixed martial arts showdown at Shanghai’s Baoshan Arena.
“If you look at my record, most of my opponents I’ve fought are older than me. They’ve put me in tough situations, but thankfully I’ve come out of it on top on most occasions,” Agilan explained.
“I don’t feel much pressure facing older guys, but I cannot berate their skills. It’s the same thing in China. I cannot underestimate Akiyama. He may be past his prime, but there could be a new motivation for him.
“One thing’s for sure — I’m young and hungry to climb my way back up the division. Fans watching can expect a good match.”
Agilan’s promise to deliver a memorable performance has always lived up to expectations. Despite only turning professional in 2015, “Alligator” has amassed an 89 percent finishing rate.
Prior to becoming a ONE Welterweight World Title challenger, the Sentul native was riding a perfect 7-0 record, with five stoppage victories coming in the opening stanza.
Although a back injury forced him out of action for the first half of 2019, Agilan’s resilience has always seen him triumph over adversity.
“Life’s always presented me with tough situations, but these past couple of months have been the hardest. Struggling to accept my injury made it even worse. Thankfully, I’ve had a couple of people around me who are ready to give me help or advice,” he confessed.
“I feel a bit brand new, but I won’t say I’m going out to attack in this upcoming match. I’ve got a game plan, and I’ll stick by it. I’m just glad to return back to action. It means a lot to me.”
Agilan's match against the legendary Japanese-Korean superstar will serve as the spectacle’s co-main event.
In the headline attraction, two of the finest female strikers in ONE Championship collide. Two-sport ONE World Champion Stamp Fairtex puts her ONE Atomweight Muay Thai World Title on the line against WBC Muay Thai World Champion Alma Juniku.