Who Can Beat Giorgio Petrosyan? 6 Match-Ups I’d Like To See Before the King Retires

It’s one of the biggest questions in Kickboxing. “Can Giorgio Petrosyan Be Beaten?”

The 70kg wizard has set atop the rankings since his meteoric rise through K-1 in 2009 and remained there ever since. He has beaten the likes of Andy Souwer, Artur Kyshenko, Mike Zambidis, Dzhabar Askerov, Albert Kraus, Robin Van Roosemalen, Yoshihiro Sato, Kem Sitsongpeenong, Sudsakorn Sor Klinmee, and Fabio Pinca.

And he’s only lost once.

Six years ago.

The scary thing is that Petrosyan is only getting better. He’s in the prime of his life and seems to be improving with every outing, further distancing himself from the rest of the lightweight top ten.

Is there anyone that can put a halt to the Doctor’s streak? Or will Petrosyan be forced to clean out the division three times over? In this break down I take a look at the top 6 fights I’d like to see the King of the Ring take before he called it a day and retired as the best ever.

6.  Andy Ristie

Andy Ristie is a hot and cold fighter. Sometimes he comes out and looks like a machine hell-bent on destruction, and other times he looks like an angry ballerina on ice skates. But when he’s on, boy is he on. At GLORY 8 Japan Ristie KO’d former K-1 champion Albert Kraus with a beautiful second round knee. It was the first time Kraus had been knocked out since 2007. Ristie has monstrous power, and absolutely swarms his opponents with blistering punches and knees. The main issue with Ristie is his cardio. As demonstrated in his K-1 bout against Andy Souwer, Ristie tends to drop his hands when he gets tired, and against a talented fighter that could lead to devastating consequences.

His Chances: Slim 

Ristie is a beast, and an exciting beast at that. I don’t question that he could beat Souwer in a rematch should it ever happen again. That being said, he simply doesn’t have the patience, timing, or endurance to take out Petrosyan. While this would certainly be a fun fight to watch, the most likely possibility is that Ristie’s headlong attack would be nullified by Petrosyan’s near perfect defence. I wouldn’t see this one going the distance.

5.  Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong

Sitthichai is an amazing fighter. His out-fighting and timing are impeccable. His hands are elite, especially for a heavier Thai, and he obviously has the ability to clinch with anyone. Sitthichai’s biggest issue is that he’s a bit new to kickboxing and might have difficulty adjusting to modified rules. We saw how he looked flat and slow against Enrike Gogokhiya at GLORY 7 Milan. If Sitthichai was more aggressive he’d score more points in the eyes of the judges, but straight forward attack really isn’t his style.

His Chances: Doubtful at Best

If this were a Full Rules Fight, Sitthichai would have more of a chance, but even then it would be difficult for him to outwork Petrosyan. In Kickboxing the gap grows considerably larger. Petrosyan’s ability to seemingly predict movements before they even happen matched with Sitthichai’s lack of experience would show just how far away the Italian is in terms of footwork, handspeed, and ring intellect. Sitthichai is going to be one of the most recognized Thai’s at 70 kg’s one day, but for now he can’t I can’t see him penetrating Giorgio’s armor.

4.  Batu Khasikov

Batu Khasikov is flying under the radar as one of the best 70 kg kickboxers in the game right now. The 32 year old is breaking onto the international scene later than most, but his recent  7  fight undefeated streak sees him holding wins over Mike Zambidis, Albert Kraus, Warren Stevelmans, and Gago Drago. Not a bad, right?. On top of that Batu is very strong, hits hard, and is smart. He’s a patient fighter, and takes his time to set up big shots. His ability to exert forward pressure is nearly unmatched.

His Chances: Slight

Plain and simple, Petrosyan is too fast for Batu. While the Russian pushes forward, Petro can easily circle away, landing a few counters of his own. Khasikov’s style of pressing Petrosyan against the ropes and unloading probably won’t work either, considering how easily the Italian nullified this tactic when it was used by Robin van Roosemalen, the undisputed #2 70 kg fighter in the division. I don’t Giorgio would be able to bring Khasikov down, but I certainly don’t predict him losing.

3. Murthel Groenhart

Despite losing to Robin Van Roosemalen at GLORY 7 Milan, Murthel Groenhart is still one of the scariest, if not THE scariest fighter at 154 pounds. His demolition of Yashuhiro Sato, Mike Zambidis, and Artur Kyshenko was awe inspiring and terrifying. He’s gigantic, and often fights at 77 kilos. His reach is absolutely insane as well, able to hit his opponent from nearly across the ring. But will all his physical advantages and power be enough to dethrone the King?

His Chances: Unlikely, But Possible

Artur Kyshenko already illuminated Groenhart’s biggest weakness- when he gets into the zone, wildly throwing barrage after barrage of strikes, he tends to drop his hands just enough that a short hook can rise over his glove and clip his chin. He also demonstrated this against RvR, getting caught so ferociously that most of us thought Groenhart would be out on his feet. These are the types of mistakes you absolutely cannot make when fighting Petrosyan. Dropping your hands mid-combination will end with you getting your jaw jacked or even KO’d. Other fighters know this and it forces them to fight more defensively than they would against anyone else. They KNOW if they slip up against Petrosyan, they could end of up on the floor. I don’t think Groenhart is at the level yet where he can fix these holes in his game.

2. Robin Van Roosemalen II

RvR is the undisputed Number 2 rankled 70kg fighter in the world. While some people might have doubted him after he lost a one-sided affair to Petrosyan late last year, he proved the naysayers wrong by absolutely smashing Nagashima at the GLORY New Years Eve Show, followed by his crushing victory over Murthel Groenhart at GLORY 7 Milan. Roosemalen’s bulldog-like frame and constant pressure make him a difficult fight for anyone at 70 kg not named Giorgio.

His Chances: Possible

If Petrosyan and Robin Van Roosemalen squared off, I can almost guarantee that the Dutch fighter would have made improvements in his game to perform better against the Lamborghini of kickboxing. That being said, I think Robin is too power oriented, too bully-style oriented to ever truly put Petro in the danger zone. I think out of anyone on this list, Roosemalen has the best chance of landed a massive shot and putting Giorgio on the canvas, but I don’t think it’s likely. If these two fight again I predict a slightly closer, but still similar repeat of their first match.

1. Yodsanklai Fairtex

Right now Yodsanklai is the best 70 kg Full Thai rules fighter in the world. He’s looked nearly unstoppable for the past year, blowing through Kem Sitsongpeenong, Yohan Lidon, Gregory Choplin, Simur Kerimov, and Naimjon Tuhtobaev. Only Yohan Lidon escaped being finished. Yodsanklai attacks hard, fast, and relentlessly. Maybe more than the other fighters listed here, Yod is as his nickname suggests- “A Boxing Computer.” His intelligence is on display every fight, and his ability to predict an opponent’s attack pattern is fantastic to behold.

His Chances: A Fair  Chance

In kickboxing rules, Yodsanklai is limited. Without his clinch and elbows, the Thai will have trouble dealing with Petro’s mastery of range and timing. But Yod is intelligent, and certainly might find a way inside Petrosyan’s nearly perfect defense. I might be starting to sound like a broken record however, because at the end of the day I would still put money on the Italian. Giorgio is simply too good at what he does. He’s too perceptive, and is far too fast for almost anyone to competently keep up with. And for the record, I believe that if Petrosyan fought full muay thai rules with Yod, the outcome wouldn’t be much different. Even at many of the top Muay Thai camps in Thailand, Petrosyan is considered to be a nearly flawless fighter. Kem Sitsongpeenong once remarked that Petro punched him harder than he’s even been punched in his life. The worst Petrosyan has ever looked in a match was when he was competing with broken hands.

And he still won.

So here we are at the end of our list. While I think that the unpredictability of combat sports makes it impossible to be 100% certain of any outcome, it’s hard to deny that Giorgio Petrosyan is the most talented kickboxer in the word, and probably ever. Petro is so good that he’s almost run out of fights. He’s beat every top contender you can beat, and made it look easy. I highly doubt his win record, streak, and quality will ever be matched in the history of kickboxing. Let’s all enjoy a bit of martial arts mastery.

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5 Comments on “Who Can Beat Giorgio Petrosyan? 6 Match-Ups I’d Like To See Before the King Retires”

  1. abe T.
    June 8, 2013 at 12:38 am #

    Beat or no beat, no fighter out there is as complete as Giorgio, so even if the unthinkable happens, and someone does end up beating Giorgio,that still wouldn’t qualify him to be a better fighter, Giorgio is once in a lifetime phenom.

  2. Chris J
    July 5, 2013 at 9:46 pm #

    Buakaw is a striking ommission from this list, especially because they’ve already drawn a fight

    • July 13, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

      Hey Chris! Buakaw is not on the list for several reasons. Firstly, the first time they fought Giorgio Petrosyan was 21 years old, while Buakaw was in the prime of his career. Over five years later the situation is reversed. Petrosyan is in his prime and Buakaw is getting older.

      Secondly, Buakaw hasn’t had a legitimate fight in almost a year, and hasn’t had a serious fight since before his stint with TF.

      The competition that Buakaw has done poorly against in the past, particularly fighters like Andy Souwer and Sato, Petrosyan made them seem amateurish bby comparison.

      To summarize- the only reason people think Buakaw would beat Petrosyan is because they fought to a draw over six years ago, before Petrosyan’s prime, before Buakaw took nearly a year long absence from the sport, and nearly four years before Petrosyan earned his sport as the number one fight in the world.

      The fighters I listed are on the top of their game right now, as opposed to back in 2008. I hope that answers your question!

  3. Chris J
    August 21, 2013 at 6:15 am #

    Hey CC, I would agree that Buakaw has been following the money for at least the last 12 months, but why not? A guy’s gotta make a crust.

    Buakaw looks to be in better physical shape than ever which implies he has not lost his hunger for fighting. He is only 4 years older than The Doctor and younger than Khazikov who makes the list.

    I’m probably biased as I appreciate Buakaw’s complete Muay Thai style compared to Petrosyan who is basically wholly reliant on boxing with an awesome kickboxing defence. He has thrown some effective knees occasionally but his kicks are weak. The fact Petrosyan relies on explosive boxing (to great effect) means he gets more knockouts that Buakaw but doesn’t not mean he will easily knock Buakaw out. It is question of styles. Buakaw demonstrates technical expertise in every technique to dominate and wear down opponents and win fights.

    The first fight they had was doctored heavily in Petrosyan’s favor with the omission of elbows and Thai clinch making it K-1 rules. However, it was also fought over 5 rounds as the promoters knew that Buakaw pretty much always takes the first round which (would have left Petrosyan playing catcup) Indeed Buakaw took rounds 1 and 2 on my card, which would have closed out the 3 round K-1 fight that he is used to. A standard 3 round K-1 fight or 5 round Muay Thai fight may have produced a different result and may still produce a competitive match between theses two legends.

    I guess this question of Buakaw’s suitability will be answered when he competes in K-1 Max later this year in Mallorca.

    Thanks and I enjoyed your article.

  4. Adam
    February 15, 2014 at 3:04 pm #

    Guys, Buakaw wasn’t following the money, his management at the time was and then after there was issues regarding contracts and lawsuits which didn’t allow him to do the fights you guys would have wanted. It made him tired and injured, he lost his passion.

    He is now a new man, with a new coach and management and his own gym and he has his passion back and is now fitter than ever. You can follow him on Instagram at @Buakaw_fc

    Its now 8months after your posts above and Petrosyan has been beaten by Ristie and Buakaw is proving stronger than ever and a strong chance to become the first K1 3 time champion. He destroyed Sato, Calvo and Kehl.

    Read the liverkick 2013 comeback of the year article

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