Boxing will take centre stage in a ONE Championship event for the first time as WBC Super Flyweight Champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai puts his title on the line against Mexican challenger Iran Diaz.
The bout will serve as the main event of ONE: KINGDOM OF HEROES in Bangkok on Saturday, 6 October.
For Diaz, the contest offers the opportunity to elevate himself to the pinnacle of the sport as he takes on one of boxing’s pound-for-pound best athletes for a prestigious title.
Lined up against an elite-level champion with legitimate knockout power in his backyard, Diaz would appear to have the odds stacked against him.
But the Mexican, the WBC’s current Latino Super Flyweight Champion, says he’s fully prepared to step into the ring and shock the world at the Impact Arena.
“I’m going to Rungvisai’s home, but at the end of the day, in the ring, there will be him and me with a pair of gloves. Nothing more,” he says.
“We’re going to test each other, and the one with more hunger and the best preparation will be the winner.
“I have to go to Thailand and beat Srisaket, and bring the belt I have always dreamed of back home with me.”
The 28-year-old contender has gone the extra yard in his preparation to face Srisaket by drafting two-time World Champion Juan Francisco Estrada as a sparring partner.
Estrada’s experience is particularly relevant as he took on Srisaket in a close, but unsuccessful title challenge in February.
Diaz has also added Mexican boxing legend and four-weight World Champion Juan Manuel Marquez to his team as a special adviser during his training camp.
“MagnifiKO’s” training regimen has seen him move to the mountains to help boost his endurance, and he says the switch will pay dividends in the ring on event night.
“We are preparing very hard because we are going to face one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world,” he reveals.
“Training in the mountains is something special. Working at low-levels of oxygenation helps you to have more strength and much better physical condition than at sea-level.”
The Mexican has been working tirelessly at his home gym in Ciudad Obregon under the watchful eye of coach Jorge Parra Villalba, and has been put through his paces at his mountain training camp under coach Alfredo Caballero.
Plus, he has had the vast experience and knowledge of Marquez on tap throughout the process.
“It is a very complete team,” he says.
“We are together in the physical aspect, boxing, and always firmly giving advice.”
Victory for Diaz would see him reach the pinnacle of the sport and give Mexico yet another boxing World Champion.
That fact serves as additional motivation for Diaz, who prides himself on his heritage and wants to follow in the footsteps of his nation’s past boxing greats.
“Representing Mexico is the greatest pride for me, and for my family and friends,” he explains.
“The world knows that when a Mexican presents himself, it’s a guarantee of a spectacle, and of a very tough fight.”