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EXCLUSIVE: Rahul Raju opens up about his India vs. Pakistan fight against Furqan

Renjith Ravindran
21 November 2019

India vs. Pakistan is one of the most iconic sporting rivalries, period. At ONE Championship: Edge of Greatness, a new chapter will be added to the history books as India’s Rahul Raju will be fighting Furqan Cheema of Pakistan.

Furqan came in to the fight on short notice after Rahul’s original opponent Ahmed Mujtaba pulled out due to Visa issues. This is the second time that the fight between Rahul and Mujtaba is getting cancelled due to visa issues of Mujtaba but ONE Championship was quick to react this time around.

The promotion will be delivering the promised India vs. Pakistan fight despite the hiccup and things are a bit more interesting this time around.

While Rahul is a seasoned name in ONE Championship, his new opponent Furqan will be making his ONE Championship debut with the fight and holds a professional record of 3-0 to his name. Rahul noted that he had developed a complete game plan for Mujtaba but added that he is not impacted heavily with the opponent change.

“Honesty, I feel this as a disadvantage as I had done some great preparation for Ahmed Mujtaba based on his style and technique. I had a great game plan for him but now, I don’t have enough time to prepare a game plan and obviously he don’t have enough time to prepare a game plan for me. But honestly I don’t care. I’ll be ready for the fight,”

The ‘Kerala Krusher’ also believes that his experience with some big names including Garry Tonon and Honorio Banario will serve as an advantage.  

“Does it matter if he is undefeated? I don’t think so because I believe that my technique is much better than him. He is well experienced by I have experience with some high level guys as well and now technically, I feel that I have improved a lot technically and I have a great team as well. Probably, I can finish him by the end of the first round or the second round,”

As for the India vs. Pakistan angle, Rahul is interested in seeing things a bit differently compared to what the majority tends to do. He strongly believes that sports can influence people positively and wants to send the message of peace through sports.

“The India vs. Pakistan angle is there for the fight, but I see it in a positive way. I believe that we can pull a huge crowd of new people and MMA fans through this rivalry and promote peace through sports. I believe that sports can influence more people positively. There are already few Pakistani fight fans that are messaging me. That is a positive sign right?,”

Fighting out of Juggernaut Fight Club in Singapore, Rahul will be going into the fight as a sponsored athlete of Bev Aisha Roach and promised to make the nation proud on Friday.

“Please watch the fight on November 22 and thanks for all your love and support. I will make all of you proud,”

ONE: Edge of Greatness will be live on Star Sports Select and Hotstar on November 22, Friday from 4:00 PM onwards.

ALSO READ: EXCLUSIVE: Ritu Phogat talks her ONE Debut, training Muay-Thai and BJJ, more


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