Han Zi Hao could not have picked a better occasion to earn his first victory in ONE Championship, as he had his hand raised in front of his countrymen at ONE: BEYOND THE HORIZON in Shanghai, China.
The 22-year-old Top King Muay Thai World Champion earned a unanimous decision from Stergos “Greek Dynamite” Mikkios after three rounds of action at the Baoshan Arena on Saturday, 8 September.
Despite giving up 6 centimetres in height, Mikkios stood toe-to-toe with the crowd favourite in this ONE Super Series Muay Thai bout, but despite his aggression, his punches and leg kicks were not enough to stop Han from finding room to score with his strikes.
Though the Chinese star landed some low knees in the clinch that forced a pause in the action during the first round, his other blows gave him a commanding lead in the contest.
A left-right hook combination wobbled Mikkios with seconds left in the stanza, and referee Olivier Coste awarded Han a knockdown.
Mikkios tried to reduce the deficit on the scorecards by coming out hard in the second round, but Han showed his dominance by repeatedly throwing Mikkios to the mat.
With two minutes gone in the period, the Mad Muay Thai Gym representative caught his opponent with a powerful right hook as he charged out of the corner of the ring to put him on the canvas again.
The longer the fight drew on, the more obvious it was that Han had no fear of his Greek foe.
He finished the contest the way he began, continually landing strikes as Mikkios came forward.
Whenever the Greek athlete attempted to flurry in a desperate attempt to land a knockout blow, Han stopped him with clever use of the clinch.
As the crowd at Baoshan Arena roared, Han backed his foe up to the ropes for one last flurry right before the final bell.
He was awarded a unanimous decision by the judges in his 73rd professional bout, which improved his record to 58-15.