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I Told You I Was Going To Give You A War: Jonathan Di Bella

LockerRoom Team
28 October 2022

Jonathan Di Bella knocked off two birds with one stone at ONE 162 last week, when he captured the ONE Strawweight Kickboxing World Championship in his promotional debut and dismissed China’s Zhang Peimian.

Entering the bout, there was a lot of talking coming from the Chinese prodigy’s end, with vows of defeating the Italian-Canadian in triumphant style. Di Bella, however, let that motivate him and never felt taken aback by Zhang.

“Everybody was saying that he had power and everything, but he didn't really hit that hard,” Jonathan said. 

“I felt more power from other people, from my training partners. I didn't really feel that much power, but I'm used to getting hit with heavier shots. His toughness was impressive.”

Heading into the final stanza, Di Bella was aware that the battle wasn’t a one-sided contest and had to give it his all to seal the win. When the scorecards were read, the new champion was confident that he was only moments away from having the gold laid over his shoulder.

ALSO READ | ONE 162 Results: Di Bella outclasses Zhang, McLaren gets stoppage win

“I had no choice [but] to finish strong,” Di Bella said. “I knew it was going to be close. And if it was close, I knew they were going to give it to him. I had a feeling they were going to give it to him, even if it was close. So, I had to trick him, and I had to catch him with something and I caught him.

“I wasn't nervous because I finished well. I finished with a knockout and if it was a few more seconds, like a minute more, I would have for sure finished him. If it happened in the fourth round, I would have finished him even earlier.”

What makes this humongous victory that much sweeter for Di Bella is what he described as a Rocky story. 

In his mind, Jonathan walked into Zhang’s yard and took the gold. He believes many factors stood against him entering this fight, but the fact that he prevailed as champion makes the win mean much more. 

“Montreal, New York, Italy, they all supported me,” Di Bella said. “They all believed in me since the fight was announced. And they're the only ones who believed in me, except the whole world. The whole world had it against me, except my team and my supporters.

“This means so much. Everybody had it against me. I believe it was 75 percent to 25 percent for him against all odds. I told you I was going to give you a war. I told you I was going to do my talking in the Circle, and I did.”


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