When the worlds of two fighting greats collide, it’s nothing less than a spectacle. The buzz is reaching fever pitch as Jonathan Di Bella, the undefeated Italian-Canadian kickboxing sensation, gears up to defend his coveted ONE Strawweight Kickboxing World Title against Australian-Thai dynamo Danial “Mini T” Williams. This high-octane showdown is set for October 6 at the illustrious Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, and will be broadcast on Prime Video during ONE Fight Night 15: Tawanchai vs. Superbon.
Capturing the ONE Strawweight title against Zhang Peimian last year, Di Bella’s debut was nothing short of electrifying. Now, as he prepares to put his title on the line for the first time, his confidence is sky-high. “They offered me the fight, and I accepted it right away. He’s an exciting fighter. He’s one of the best in the division,” Di Bella affirmed. He continued, “Me and him are a match made well because we’re both going to be aggressive. We’re both going to war, and it’s going to be a really good fight.”
It takes two to tango, and Williams is no slouch in the fighting department. A former WMC Muay Thai World Champion, Williams brings an expansive résumé, having squared off with current ONE World Champions like Superlek Kiatmoo9 and Rodtang Jitmuangnon. His warrior spirit has garnered respect, even from his opponent. Di Bella praised Williams saying, “I believe he deserves the shot because when he fought Superlek, he took it on short notice and went for the kickboxing title in a heavier division. He really saved the show last time.”
As seasoned fighters, both Di Bella and Williams bring an arsenal of weapons into the ring. Di Bella is particularly struck by Williams’ fighting attributes, noting, “I see a lot of things [about him]. His aggressiveness, his toughness. He has a lot of things. I’m ready for all of them.” Di Bella, hailing from Montreal, isn’t just a one-trick pony either. Known for his high-volume output and relentless pace, he believes this bout is destined to be a classic. “The fans should be excited for nonstop action. It’s going to be a barnburner. It’s going to be a great, great fight. Not only technique – I think it’s going to be a bloody war,” Di Bella anticipates.
Beyond the impending collision of these two titans, there’s another layer to this narrative. Di Bella is deeply inspired by the legendary Italian-Armenian kickboxer Giorgio Petrosyan, often dubbed the ‘Michael Jordan of kickboxing.’ Petrosyan’s phenomenal winning streak was halted in dramatic fashion by Thai superstar Superbon Singha Mawynn in 2021. The knockout sent shockwaves through the fighting world and Petrosyan has not been seen in action since. Rumours circulate that he’s struggling mentally, facing insomnia and nightmares.
ONE Championship’s chairman and CEO, Chatri Sityodtong, has expressed concerns about Petrosyan’s mental well-being. Despite this, Di Bella holds an optimistic view about the return of his idol. “Yeah, so good. Man, I think he [will come back]. Yeah, yeah. I want to see him back and finish his career on top. And yeah, I want him to finish,” Di Bella said in a recent interview.
So, on October 6, not only will we witness a battle for a World Title, but we’ll also see Di Bella carrying the hopes and dreams of following in the footsteps of kickboxing legends like Petrosyan. It’s about legacy, it’s about honour, and above all, it’s about the pure, unadulterated love for the sport.
In a world where sports often become mired in politics and commercial interests, this fight stands out as a testament to what makes martial arts so enthralling: the quest for greatness, the indomitable spirit, and the sheer thrill of competition. Whether you’ll be one of the fortunate fans to experience this live at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium or part of the global audience tuning in via Prime Video, make no mistake—this is one for the history books.
So, if your calendar isn’t marked for October 6, it’s high time to rectify that oversight. When Di Bella and Williams step into that ring, you won’t want to miss a second. Brace yourself; the war is coming.