Fighters will tell you that the anguish that comes with losing inside the ring is a pain like no other – a special kind of hurt that needs to be experienced to be understood.
He had played a huge part in inspiring Askerov to the heights of the combat sports world, and for a while, the Dagestani fighter admits it left him in a tailspin.
“That was a hard loss for me,” said Askerov. “You don’t realize how important your dad is to your family until you lose him. I thought my life had ended.”
His dad was his driving force as a reluctant youngster, who didn’t have the foresight to understand the strict lifestyle he imposed.
But eventually, Askerov had an epiphany that helped him push through the other side and rediscover his drive.
“I thought ‘look your dad gave you so much, brought you that far that you can’t give up just because he isn’t next to you’,” said Askerov.
“Genghis Khan” got back on the horse and immediately returned to the winner’s circle, taking out world titles in multiple striking promotions before making his way to the prestigious ONE Super Series.
In his promotional debut, he was thrust straight into the fire against Germany’s Enriko Kehl in the quarter-finals of the ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix. Askerov shrugged off any pressure and put forth a clinical three-round performance to claim a comprehensive unanimous decision win.
The lethal French-Algerian athlete has stamped his mark on the division since his arrival, besting Thai great Yodsanklai Fairtex in his respective tournament quarter-final.
The winner will advance to take on whoever emerges from the second semi-final between Giorgio Petrosyan and Smokin’ Jo Nattawut – also scheduled for the Impact Arena card – for a shot at the life-changing loot.