Combat Sports

Amir Khan vs Dae Sung Park – The Rise of The Next Superstar

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Amir Khan vs Dae Sung Park is one of the fights scheduled on ONE: Collision Course II, the last ONE event of the year. It’s an under the radar fight with tantalizing implications as well as a potential turning point that will decide the next contender.

Here’s why Amir Khan vs Dae Sung Park will decide the next superstar for ONE Championship.

Amir Khan – Return of The Original KO Man

Amir Khan vs. Dae Sung Park
Amir Khan via ONE Championship.

The young Singaporean lion, being from Evolve was one of the promotion’s first stars. He quickly established himself as one of the most dangerous competitors going 11-2 in a four year span from 2014-2018.

That streak featured wins over Adrian Pang and Honorio Banario. His only losses at that point were decisions against current #3 Timofey Nastyukhin and Shannon Wiratchai who at the time was beginning his six-fight win streak.

Khan is tied with teammate and Lightweight Champion Christian Lee with the most knockouts in the promotion at nine. He’s also fought for the title and was taken to a five round war by Eduard Folayang.

However, that’s the point where it all went sour for Khan. After losing to Folayang, he lost two more times against against Ariel Sexton via RNC and then by Dagi via first round knockout. He managed to scrape past Ev Ting with a Split Decision, but dropped right back off against another RNC this time by ONE Warrior Series graduate Kimihiro Eto.

When the promotion returned to Singapore after the lockdowns, Khan was tapped to face a surging Rahul Raju. The Kerala Krusher was on a two-fight win streak and ONE was using Khan to see whether the Indian fighter was ready to go to the next level.

Khan ended those plans early with a stunning return to form people have not seen from him since 2018. Whether he can repeat the same performance against a more skilled athlete is up for debate.

Dae Sung Park – Taking It To The Next Level

Dae Sung park via ONE Championship.

We’ve already written an article covering the Crazy Dog’s early exploits in MMA. Go check that out if you want more details about the first graduate of the ONE Warrior Series program.

Here’s the summarized version. In a sport that celebrates physical freaks and highlight reel performances, Dae Sung Park is an easily overshadowed athlete. He works hard at what he does and though he has a record most would envy, the way he got it won’t jump out at people.

He personifies hard work and fundamentals, not bothering with the flash but with what works. This style has kept him on the good side of the judge’s scorecards if not the fans. Observers would describe him as an endurance athlete with decent striking, which may play a factor against Amir Khan.

Khan already faced an endurance gas tank with notable striking in Folayang and came up short. This could be a possible path to victory for the South Korean. Another wrinkle in the match is that Khan lost to Eto, a man Park already defeated – twice.

MMA math isn’t the best barometer for anything, but it might give Crazy Dog the psychological edge if he plays it right.

This fight is an opportunity for Park to convince the ONE management that he’s ready to take his career to the next level. He already has a win over Honorio Banario, a victory over Khan might give him some leverage in negotiating for a Top 5 opponent.

Amir Khan vs Dae Sung Park Winning Implications

Both fighters are pretty much in the same boat as they enter ONE: Collision Course 2. The winner of Amir Khan vs Dae Sung Park can position themselves on the fringe of the Top 5.

Names like Pieter Buist, Lowen Tynanes, or even Eddie Alvarez are all big names to elevate them to even greater heights in 2021. The only difference is that Khan has a bit more to lose than Park.

If the South Korean loses he can just pick things up and keep trucking as his profile isn’t all that big yet. But Khan has already fallen from the ranks of the elite once, losing at a lower level might cast a larger shadow over a third attempt to climb the ladder.

MMA is a game of stock and perception just as much as it is about ability. Khan understands this and with the limited slots available on these shortened cards, there are fewer chances to make an impression on management and the fans.

Either way, the Amir Khan vs Dae Sung Park fight is an intriguing match of styles that may signal the beginning of a new rising star in ONE Championship.


Featured Images Credits to ONE Championship

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