Roman Kryklia went a perfect 3-0 in the calendar year with a title defense and a near-perfect run in the ONE Heavyweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix to clinch the year-end title.
After a lengthy layoff, Kryklia returned at ONE: Full Circle in February to defend his ONE Light Heavyweight World Championship against Murat Aygun. There was little feeling out from the Ukrainian, who was aggressive from the opening bell. Before the horn could sound, he had already dispatched his challenger and continued his reign atop the division.
The victory opened up more possibilities for Kryklia, who soon eyed the heavyweight division. As ONE announced the latest grand prix, Kryklia was sure to be a part of the prestigious tournament. In the semi-final, he would meet Guto Inocente.
The Brazilian did not even escape the first minute of the matchup. Kryklia was once again ultra-aggressive and took his frustrations out on his opponent. The win put him in the final against Iraj Azizpour. The two common opponents were each other’s last loss which added a little spice to the tournament finale.
In their trilogy bout, Azizpour knocked Kryklia down in the first round. Shockwaves echoed throughout the kickboxing world at what they were seeing, but the Ukrainian quickly mounted his comeback in the second round. The light heavyweight king was quick to show his power carried up into the heavyweight division and dropped Azizpour before the referee called off the action.
Empathic results and a willingness to test himself up a division made Kryklia the clear choice to be the Kickboxing Athlete Of The Year. The ONE Light Heavyweight World Champion bested Jonathan Di Bella, Chingiz Allazov, Superbon Singha Mawynn, and others to earn the honor. With a dominant 2022, Kyklia is ready to grow his stardom even more with a showstopping 2023.