ONE interim heavyweight world champion Anatoly Malykhin wouldn't mind teaching Amir Aliakbari a lesson or two in the near future. The Russian powerhouse didn’t stutter when he responded to Aliakbari’s ONE on Prime Video 1 callout recently.
Following the Iranian giant's epic conquest of boxing sensation Mauro Cerilli, Aliakbari called out rivals Kang Ji Won and Anatoly Malykhin inside the Circle. Malykhin has since responded and told ONE Championship:
"It will be an interesting story. He has a lot of social media followers and a big support group."
The two rivals had already faced each other at ONE: Revolution back in September 2021. They were at odds with one another in the lead up to their bout after some trash talking was initiated by the Iranian slugger.
However, it was Malykhin who had the last laugh. In the opening round of their bout, the 34-year-old punished his rival with a barrage of punches that led to a TKO. It was Aliakbari’s second loss of his professional MMA career. It also elevated the Russian behemoth to world title contention.
On the subject of a rematch, ‘Sladkiy’ still doesn’t picture anyone holding the belt but himself. He continued:
“No one has a chance to [beat] me in this division. I am always 100% ready. A miracle must happen for someone, including Aliakbari, to [beat] me. It will not be difficult to drop Aliakbari again. This fight is easy money for me."
Relive Amir Aliakbari’s callout below:
Anatoly Malykhin vs Arjan Bhullar unification bout at ONE 161 delayed once again
Fans were anticipating the long-awaited showdown between Anatoly Malykhin and Arjan Bhullar this September. They were scheduled to headline ONE 161, before news broke about Bhullar’s recent arm surgery.
The Indo-Canadian world champion posted a picture of himself on a hospital bed as he relayed the bad news to the public. In the caption, he wrote:
“The surgery took place a couple of weeks ago and went very well. Everything happens for a reason. Thank you for the prayers and support. I’ll be back in the cage very soon.”
This unprecedented injury has set things back again for Anatoly Malykhin. Over the last few weeks, he has been training very hard with the sole purpose of unifying the division’s top prize. Now that the belt is out of his reach once again, he may be left with the option of defending his interim world title.
Malykhin has expressed his desire to stay active, and another matchup with Amir Aliakbari could be one of the paths he could explore before this year ends.