Down but certainly not out -- A lesson of courage from Azwan Che Wil

Though he left Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam a defeated athlete, Azwan Che Wil is not a defeated man.

Azwan with a few signature strikes of his own. - ONE Championship pic | Astro Awani
Though he left Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam a defeated athlete, Azwan Che Wil is not a defeated man.

The Malaysian revealed enormous heart in his flyweight Muay Thai battle at ONE: IMMORTAL TRIUMPH.

The third-round knockout loss only momentarily broke his spirit. As Azwan puts it, there were positives to take away from his determined performance against hometown hero Nguyen “No. 1” Tran Duy Nhat.

“I think what kept me going on was the quality of my opponent. He’s good, and I knew I couldn’t afford a single error at all,” the 24-year-old Kuala Lumpur-based athlete said.

“Sometimes when you fight tough guys, you tend to perform better. Unfortunately, the win was not in my favor on Friday.”

Both martial artists set the tempo high in round one. The two traded kicks and punches, but it was Duy Nhat who dictated the pace of the match with his speed and instinct.

Azwan attempted to reply with a few signature strikes of his own. But his opponent’s movement made it almost impossible to land a clean shot.

As the Malaysian warrior searched for an opening, the Vietnam martial artist uncorked a stinging left head kick that floored Azwan.

“It caught me unexpectedly,” Azwan said. “I didn’t see it coming.”

“Not only does he hit quickly, but he has a lot of power in his strikes too. I felt my movement and my counters were a bit slower than usual.”

“I kept on telling myself, no matter how much I fall, I will rise. I wasn’t going to give up easily,” he added.

Despite battling the Vietnamese warrior in his hometown, Azwan kept his cool to hang on until the third and final round.

But with less than 20 seconds to go, Duy Nhat landed a pinpoint left high kick that knocked Azwan out cold.

“I’ve got no regrets from the loss, and as of now, I’ll have to train harder with more hunger,” the OneSongchai S1 Champion said. “Maybe then, I’ll get my first ONE Championship win.”

ONE Championship heads to Tokyo, Japan next for ONE: CENTURY – the single biggest World Championship martial arts event in history with 28 World Champions featured across various martial arts.

The spectacle on Sunday, 13 October features a double-header and is something no organization in history has ever attempted to throw.