: It wasn’t something Mohammed 'Jordan Boy' Mahmoud or Saiful 'The Vampire' Merican wanted, but the two will ultimately square off against each other at ONE: MASTERS OF DESTINY in the Axiata Arena on Friday, 12 July.
Being the sole all-Malaysian battle on the stacked card, however, has its benefits, according to Mohammed.
Although the nation’s support will be split for this three-round Muay Thai bantamweight encounter, the Kedah native is certain it has the biggest pull factor of the night.
“Of course, Giorgio Petrosyan versus Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy and Angela Lee versus Michelle Nicolini will be the highlight of the night, but in terms of a match which has the most meaning to our fans, I think you couldn’t have asked for a better fight,” the 23-year-old Sampuri Muay Thai Gym standout said.
“I did not want to face him. But after all, it’s our job, and I think it’ll be a super entertaining match.”
Mohammed has a huge fanbase in the local Muay Thai scene, amassing a stellar amateur record before being picked up by ONE Championship last November.
Being one of two Malaysians under the ONE Super Series banner at that time – alongside Azwan Che Wil – had its weight, but the lanky “Jordan Boy" shrugged off those doubts with an electrifying knockout of Stergos 'Greek Dynamite' Mikkios at ONE: DESTINY OF CHAMPIONS in December.
He is eager to replicate that performance in the Malaysian capital and hopes the duel can inspire more local athletes to pick up Muay Thai or instill a stronger belief in their respective martial arts careers.
“I don’t want to compete and not leave anything behind. There is more to Muay Thai than two athletes punching and kicking each other,” he said.
“I hope this match makes more Malaysians motivated to pick up the sport. You will see two different eras of Muay Thai going against one another, and it shows you that you can represent the biggest martial arts organization if you train hard and believe in yourself.”
Mohammed is mentally and physically prepared for his fifth appearance in The Home Of Martial Arts and hopes Merican brings the best version of himself to the Axiata Arena on Friday night.
“Saiful Merican is a Muay Thai legend, and it’s an honor to share the ring with him,” he added. “I hope both of us bring our best versions and hold nothing back in this clash.”