The Russian superstar Artem Belakh made his second appearance inside the ONE Championship Circle on ONE Fight Night 11, which featured a bout between two of the top five bantamweights in the world in the form of Kwon Won Il of South Korea.
In his first bout for the promotion, which took place in October of last year at ONE 162, Belakh defeated Leandro Issa by way of unanimous decision. Kwon entered the fight with a record of 7-4 under the ONE Championship banner and a record of 4-1 in his last five bouts. The only defeat during that streak came at the hands of Fabricio Andrade, who was the current ONE featherweight world champion.
Artem Belakh, upon entering the ring at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium on Friday evening, made an early effort to get Kwon Won Il to the ground, and he was successful in doing so in less than 30 seconds into the first round of the fight.
Once they arrived at their destination, Belakh grabbed Kwon by the back, slapped on a body triangle, and then began to discipline the South Korean. Kwon did a good job of defending himself, and he stopped Belakh from sinking into a rear-naked choke. However, the body triangle prevented him from escaping completely.
Kwon was able to claw his way back up and establish enough space between himself and his opponent with a minute and a half left in the round. This allowed him to make his way back to the center of the ring, where he and his opponent continued to trade blows until the round was over.
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Artem Belakh is knocked unconscious by a vicious body shot from Kwon Won Il, but the Russian fighter pulls through!
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The action in the second round was kept on the feet, and Kwon displayed his refined striking by attacking the body in a very effective manner. Near the middle of the bout, Belakh attempted to shoot for a takedown, but Kwon sprawled effectively and prevented the attempt, so the battle remained standing.
Kwon connected with a huge right hand that knocked Belakh down with just over a minute remaining in the round. Kwon came in and unleashed a series of ground-and-pound attacks, which prompted referee Herb Dean to come in and call for the fight to be stopped. Kwon moved in because he smelled blood in the water.
Kwon Won Il defeated Artem Belakh via technical knockout (strikes) at 3:57 of Round 2 in the official result.
Kwon Won Il was awarded a performance bonus of $50,000 by Chatri Sityodtong, the CEO of ONE Championship, for his knockout of Artem Belakh, which was worthy of being featured in a highlight reel.