It seem that we’ll have to wait for Arjan Bhullar’s comeback.
The match between the current heavyweight champion and interim champion Anatoly Malykhin has been removed from the schedule of a March 24 event in Singapore, according to ONE Championship’s announcement on Wednesday. The main event’s title unification matchup between Bhullar and Malykhin was scheduled.
The matchup was postponed “due to a shift in broadcaster commitments,” according to ONE Championship administrators, and will now take place at a later time in 2023.
The main event has been moved to a flyweight kickboxing match between Superlek and Rodtang.
Bhullar says it’s “extremely irritating” to have to delay his return to the ring yet again in an interview with UFC Fighting on Wednesday.
Bhullar said, “Chatri got on the phone with me multiple times through this so I thank him and the organization for that. Very, very frustrating, and I’m sure for my opponent as well, for my coaches, for my family. It’s not just a fighter that trains and gets ready for a fight, right? For the whole team. We were so ready to get going, but there’s partners that make fights happen. You need an opponent, you need the company to put it on, you have broadcast partners, all of that.”
The rescheduling should be imminent, according to Bhullar. Although a specific date has not yet been chosen, it is guaranteed that “it’s not going to be six months or something like this.”
Since May 2021, Bhullar (11-1) has been sidelined. Due to an injury, he pulled out of the unification battle against Malykhin that was booked for this past September. In his most recent contest, he defeated Brandon Vera by second-round TKO to retain his ONE heavyweight title. He won the title in 2019 and successfully defended it once.
Malykhin (12-0) currently holds the titles of two different weight classes after defeating Reinier de Ridder, who had previously gone undefeated, ten months after winning the vacant heavyweight title.
Bhullar remarked, “I’ve been told as well as there’s gonna be a backup fighter for the next date. So no matter what there will be a fight. Broadcasting issues will be out of the way. If someone gets hurt, no matter what the title will be defended at the next date. There are positives coming out of this.”
Adding, “Straight from Chatri, there’s a big promotion plan for this fight. And if what he is telling me happens, it’s gonna be next level promotion with our broadcast partners. The company wants this to happen, it’s the biggest heavyweight fight in our history, champion versus champion. He’s had great momentum, lots of history here of booking this thing. Broadcast partners wanted, they recognize it, so it’s gonna have a big fight feel for sure if everything that we’re planning happens.”
As for the main card of the event, before facing Rodtang Jitmuangnon, the Muay Thai monarch, “The Iron Man,” Superlek Kiatmoo9 has something to prove.
A strong Thai-born striker, Superlek has recently displayed practically faultless form. Nevertheless, Rodtang Jitmuangnon has remained unbeaten in ONE Championship striking contests because of his constant pressure. Due to his combative demeanour and propensity for starting wars, “The Iron Man” is a fan favourite.
Rodtang will be more careful in this fight, according to current kickboxing king Superlek. The fight’s stakes have increased, but so too has ‘The Kicking Machine’s’ menace.
The ONE flyweight kickboxing world champion said the following in an interview with ONE Championship:
“Maybe this time [Rodtang] will come to me with less aggression. He is likely to be more careful. He may have plotted to prevent me from throwing my weapons. But I can guarantee no matter what style he uses on me, he’ll never scare me.”