Mehdi Zatout Ready To Prove A Point In Boxing At ONE 166: Qatar

(MENAFN- The Peninsula) The Peninsula

Doha, Qatar: The odds may be stacked against Mehdi 'Diamond Heart' Zatout at ONE 166: Qatar this Friday, March 1, but he believes wholeheartedly in his fighting chance.

Zatout makes his first foray into professional boxing at the historic event being held at the majestic Lusail Sports Arena. There, he squares off against WBC Middle East Champion Zuhayr Al-Qahtani in a 147-pound catchweight matchup.

Al-Qahtani carries much more boxing experience into the three-round clash. After all, the local favourite is an accomplished pugilist with an immaculate 9-0 record.

Though Zatout comes from a decorated Muay Thai and kickboxing background, he is no stranger to 'the sweet science.' In fact, the French-Algerian star has long harbored a soft spot for the sport.

“A lot of people close to me know that I love boxing. I've always trained boxing. Before when I sparred with the biggest names in Europe, I'd always focused on the boxing aspect. That's why I'm good at boxing,” he shared.

“Right now, as a coach, I also put great importance on boxing in my fighters' training.”

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Acknowledging the challenge ahead, Zatout is not content with being a mere statistic in Al-Qahtani's undefeated streak.

Alongside his dedicated team at Venum Training Camp in Pattaya, Thailand, the battle-hardened veteran has placed significant emphasis on strength and conditioning to ensure his explosiveness from the opening bell to the final round.

“My team and I have focused a lot on strength and conditioning. We've made sure my knees are strong, arms, back, and even my feet for my footwork. Normally, I train three times a week,” he said.

“For this [training] camp, I train everyday. Six times a week are dedicated to strength and conditioning. I'm working with two different coaches, one specific for the legs and one specific for the upper body. Throughout the afternoon, it's all boxing.”

While Al-Qahtani may be the favourite on paper, the fight will take place inside the ONE Championship Circle - a familiar enclosure for Zatout.

Drawing on his extensive experience in this unique setting, he plans to exploit every nuance of the environment to turn the tide in his favour.

“It's going to be a different environment for him. This fight will be held inside the Circle,” Zatout said.“He's good at boxing, but he has never fought in the cage before. That's a big difference.”

'Diamond Heart' recognizes Al-Qahtani's boxing mastery. However, he believes that the Saudi Arabian has yet to face an opponent of his caliber.

After all, Zatout is a special talent. Aside from being a former ISKA and WBC Muay Thai World Champion, he is also one of the hottest coaches in the combat sports industry today. In fact, he has led several athletes to ONE World Title gold, so he has a sharp eye to the fight game.

“I've fought fighters like him before, but I don't think he has fought someone like me. So let's see,” the French-Algerian said.

As Friday approaches, Zatout teases that there are surprises up his sleeve and promises to be the talk of the town in the aftermath of the event.

“I want to show the world that Muay Thai fighters have better skills than boxers in terms of boxing,” he said.“I want to showcase better footwork, better movement, and everything about boxing.”

Limited tickets for ONE 166: Qatar are still available for purchase on the Virgin Megastore and Q-Tickets .


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