Adrian Pang is impressed with his opponent Amir Khan ahead of their contest at ONE: IMMORTAL PURSUIT, but says he’s ready to deliver a stern test of the young contender’s championship credentials when they meet on November 24.
The Australian veteran returns to action, in what will be his 35th professional bout, after a lengthy spell out of action with a serious leg injury.
Now, he’s back to full fitness, and ready to make a dent in the ONE Championship lightweight division against a hot young prospect who has his sights set on world championship glory.
“It is like the young bull versus the old bull,” said Pang.
“I actually wanted to compete against him. I thought it would be a tough match for me. He is young and he will have heaps of energy, but he has not had a real good matchup yet.
“I have competed all around the world, I have been up and I have been down, so I will be the one to give it to him.”
For Pang, the matchup will represent a return to action after a frustrating spell on the sidelines.
He started to experience leg pain ahead of his world title eliminator against Eduard Folayang at ONE: HEROES OF THE WORLD in August 2016, but battled through the pain only to lose out via unanimous decision.
Things got worse during the training camp ahead of his bout with Roger Huerta, when he was hit by a scooter in Thailand. At the time he didn’t believe he’d sustained any serious injury, but it later transpired there was an issue.
One month later, Pang dropped to a close split decision to Huerta at ONE: DEFENDING HONOR, as his mobility issues started to affect his performance in the bout.
“I was basically dragging my leg,” he explained.
“I could not kick it and I could not go backwards, even though I do not like to go backwards.”
Pang underwent a host of tests before the root of the problem was discovered - a fractured calcaneus.
“It does not sound real tough,” he laughed.
“They found this little spot in my shin. Then we had this digital CT scan and they found this little bone. It was between my tibia and fibula, where there was something the size of a chicken bone fusing them together, so that is why I had no motion in my shin.”
He underwent surgery to fix the problem, and now has his full range of movement back once again. Now back at 100 per cent, he’s ready to return against Khan, who holds the record for the most knockouts and finishes in ONE Championship history.
Khan’s last two outings saw him claim victory via first-round knockout, but the Australian veteran says that run is about to come to an end when they meet in Singapore on November 24.
“I have been competing for over 15 years,” said the Brisbane native.
“If he thinks he is going to knock me out, he’d better think of something different, because positive thinking is not going to help him.
“No one has ever knocked me out, so if he were to do it, then fine — let him be the first.”
Khan has made no secret of his desire to use this bout to propel himself into a title bout against newly-crowned two-weight world champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen.
However, Pang has world championship plans of his own, and says he’d relish an all-Australian clash for the gold if he gets past Khan in Singapore.
“I will go up against whoever the world champion is,” he says.
“Obviously everyone is hunting for the belt, so if I have the opportunity to go up against Martin, then I will take it with both hands, for sure.”