Jordan Watson

This weekend, British Muay Thai pioneer Jordan Watson makes the transition back to kickboxing to face what is being considered by many as the toughest test of his 12-year professional career at Bellator Kickboxing Florence.

The 29-year-old will enter enemy territory to face the proclaimed number one 70kg fighter on the planet Giorgio “The Doctor” Petrosyan, but Watson believes he is more then ready to face the Italian despite the likely ascension from the partisan crowd at the Nelson Mandela Forum in Firenze, Italy.

“I think this is definitely one of my biggest fights to date. Maybe not in the Thai Boxing world where I’ve faced the likes of Kem and Sitthichai Sitsonpeenong, Buakaw Banchamek and Yodsanklai Fairtex but in the western world, under kickboxing rules this is my toughest challenge and this fight that will definitely open a few doors for me if I win.”

After etching out a highly successful career in Muay Thai, the Bad Company Leeds trained fighter makes his first foray back into kickboxing since a 2013 win over Australian Steve Moxon. The man nicknamed “Quadzilla” feels no adjustments to his fighting style will be require despite not competing in theses rules in three plus years.

“I haven’t really made any adjustments in the way I train as I feel Muay Thai works well against kickboxers. I feel Thai boxers tend to have better defence and are good at being hit with big shots and then firing back with shots. But in saying that, I feel a kickboxer might take one shot and then throw more short sharper combinations in return and use more movement [round the ring] but Thai boxers will throw more single power shots and like to fight in close quarters and clinch, but you can’t clinch that under kickboxing rules.”

Fighting Petrosyan on his home turf, especially with some recent documented ISKA judging calls, some have suggested that the Englishman will have to finish his opponent in order to get the nod, but Watson refuses to be deterred by the task at hand.

“It might be an advantage to some fighters being at home but I’m going to make it clear on the night that I’m the winner. If I don’t knock him out I’m definitely going to outscore him and I’m definitely hurt him more than he hurts me. I’m not necessarily looking for the knockout because Petrosyan’s movement is class and if you get sloppy and constantly go for the big shot he will punish you. So I’m going to stay calm and composed and just outwork him and outscore him.”

Quadzilla will enter the Bellator Kickboxing ring on Saturday night after achieving many championship accolades. Despite this, Watson feels a win over Petrosyan would be the final cherry on the cake for his career.

“I hated training and just wanted to fight until [well] into my 20s, but now that I am older I love being in the gym and killing myself training. This fight gives me the opportunity to prove something to myself and show putting in handwork pays off and I intend on putting on a clinic against Giorgio Petrosyan.”