One Championship

One Championship: Hong Kong’s Panther, Alain Ngalani, falls prey to Morocco’s Tarik Khbabez in Macau clash

The three-round defeat means a blow to his chances of a repeat fight against middleweight champ Aung La Nsang

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 June, 2018, 10:06pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 24 June, 2018, 12:45am

Alain “The Panther” Ngalani did his hopes of a lucrative rematch with One Championship middleweight king Aung La Nsang no favours on Saturday night when the veteran kick-boxing champion suffered a disappointing third-round knockout loss to Morocco’s Tarik Khbabez in Macau.

In the week leading up to the bout, the Hong Kong fighter had reiterated, in front of organisation CEO Victor Cui, his hope to set up a second bout with the Burmese fighter, but the 42-year-old’s return to his roots in the stand-up discipline didn’t go according to plan as he went down after struggling to the third round.

Nglani looked the more confident of the two from the first bell and was utilising his superior experience by allowing his younger opponent to force the action. But it proved to be a risky strategy as the Moroccan grew in confidence, and in the end was a worthy winner.

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A fevered Macau crowd welcomed the naturalised Hongkonger Ngalani into the ring for the final bout of the undercard, and after thundering in some trademark heavy kicks in the opening exchanges, the veteran settled into a composed rhythm as he enjoyed the better start.

However that was to be as good as it got for “The Panther” as the Moroccan bossed the final minute of the opening stanza, and started the second in much the same vain sending the bout into a deciding chapter.

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Ngalani slowed right down and began to blow badly in the third as the Moroccan piled on the pressure. And when an exhausted Ngalani was sent to the canvas following a barrage of heavy shots from the Moroccan at one minute, 39 seconds of the third and final round, the Hong Kong man was unable to beat the count.