GIORGIO 'The Doctor' Petrosyan’s status as the greatest kickboxer of all time is well-established now, but it could have taken a very different path following the Milan native’s second career defeat in 2013.
Riding on a 40-bout win streak, the two-time K-1 World Max Champion was knocked out in the third round. It marked his first, and only, loss via KO.
“For one who is accustomed to winning at all times, of course, I am the type of person who doesn’t like being on the losing side,” he stated ahead of his main event showdown against Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy at ONE: MASTERS OF DESTINY in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, 12 July.
“When I lost that fight [against Andy Ristie] in 2013 at Madison Square Garden, not only did I lose, but I also fractured my hand and faced a whole lot of issues. I found myself unable to handle all of that.” READ: Petrosyan vows to leave no stone unturned in Petchmorakot rematch READ: Petchmorakot ready to shock the world again in Giorgio Petrosyan rematch
Losing was something foreign to him. The Armenian-Italian superstar simply could not come to terms with the manner of his loss.
He endured sleepless nights, and at times, the thought of quitting crossed his mind.
“I went through that spell during which I thought about hanging it up because I couldn’t sleep, focus or train, and my passion had turned its back on me,” he confessed.
“The most important and beautiful thing, which was putting in training time, had turned into the worst one. I went through a difficult year. I could not train or focus. I wanted to get ready for a fight, but I couldn’t – my head was not in the right place.”
However, after a year on the sidelines, Petrosyan made a winning return in his native Italy. His precise techniques, as well as his ability to study and counter his opponent’s game plan midway through a match, was clear.
In a true World Champion’s manner, “The Doctor” was back and he silenced the critics who had shut him off.
“Everybody was saying, ‘Giorgio is out, he’s done because he broke his hand, he got knocked out, he lost the title, he is psychologically and physically out,’” he recalled.
“But after one year of rest and important surgeries, I came back stronger than before, at 100 percent in my mind, and in the body as well.
“I rose from that loss like a phoenix. I learned that you can rise again stronger than before if your mind is strong.”