By Dan Paulo Errazo
Agilan “Alligator” Thani’s quest for redemption bore fruit last night, June 15 at the Baoshan Arena in Shanghai, China. Thani won a close unanimous decision over Japanese-South Korean legend Yoshihiro “Sexyama” Akiyama in the co-main event at ONE: LEGENDARY QUEST.
The match was truly a spectacle to behold as both athletes displayed heart and true martial arts spirit for three whole rounds.
The action began with the “Alligator” measuring up his counterpart on the feet, eventually looking to take matters to the mat with multiple takedown attempts. But Akiyama, former K-1 HERO’s Light Heavyweight Grand Prix Tournament Champion, was able to defend himself well and showed why he is a world-class Judoka, at one point countering one of Thani’s shots with a Harai Goshi to the delight of the entire arena.
The Malaysian, however, was relentless in his quest to bring Akiyama to the canvas. Thani eventually found success, bringing “Sexyama” into his grappling wheelhouse. The 43-year-old veteran would not give up easily, as Akiyama began to show his experience in the second round.
The Japanese legend lit up Thani in the second round, visibly hurting him and had him in trouble momentarily. To Thani’s credit, he was able to recover quite nicely.
It was a tight contest until the third round where a slugfest between both athletes brought the audience into rapturous cheers. Neither of the two showed signs of slowing down and battled all the way to the end.
By the end of the bout, Thani’s multiple takedowns and success in standing exchanges, showcasing much-improved boxing, were enough to earn the judges’ nod as he took home a unanimous decision for his efforts.
Thani’s display of skill and spirit that led him to victory over Akiyama has not only returned him to the winners’ circle but also gave fans a sign that he is back on track and is ready for another run at the World Title.
With the victory, Thani improves his overall record to 10-3.