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Italian-Canadian Jon Di Bella celebrates after winning the ONE strawweight kickboxing title with a decision defeat of China’s Zhang Peimian. Photos: ONE Championship.

ONE Championship: Jon Di Bella wants ‘fight of the year’ with Danial Williams – ‘he deserves a shot, for sure’

  • Strawweight champ believes Williams deserves title shot based on his ‘great resume in kickboxing’ – ‘he has more experience than me’
  • Italian-Canadian says rematch with Zhang Peimian was briefly discussed ‘but it won’t happen in the next fight’

Jon Di Bella is ready to make his first defence of the ONE Championship strawweight kickboxing title, and he is hoping Danial Williams will be his challenger.

The 26-year-old Italian-Canadian won the belt with a thrilling unanimous-decision victory over China’s Zhang Peimian in October. After taking some time to recover from that five-round war, he is eager to get back into the Circle, and is happy to oblige a recent social media call-out from Australia’s Williams.

“A few guys are calling me out, including Danial Williams, and that would be a good fight,” Di Bella told the Post when asked who he would like to fight next. “I like that he comes to fight, he doesn’t come to play. That’s what I want. I want guys who come to fight.”

Williams has spent the last few years of his career focused on MMA, and is riding a stoppage loss to Jeremy Miado. However, the Australian has also competed in Muay Thai under the ONE banner, losing a close decision to flyweight champ Rodtang Jitmuangnon back in 2021.

He also has extensive kickboxing experience that predates his time in ONE, which Di Bella believes makes him a credible challenger for the strawweight belt.

“[The loss to Miado was] a different sport, and I’ve seen his resume in kickboxing,” the champ said. “He has a great resume in kickboxing. He has more experience than me. He has a lot more experience than me in kickboxing and Muay Thai, and he’s been winning. I think he deserves a shot, for sure.”

Danial Williams throws a right hand at Namiki Kawahara at ONE 156.

Di Bella, who lives in Montreal but has trained and competed extensively in New York City, is hoping his desired clash with Williams will land on ONE Fight Night 10 on May 5 in Denver – the Singapore-based promotion’s debut on US soil.

Wherever the fight happens, he believes it could be one of the best of the year – just like his fight with Zhang was in 2022.

“I don’t know if you saw his fight with Rodtang [Jitmuangnon] – it was fight of the year for 2021,” he said. “Me and him will be Fight of the Year for 2023, for sure.”

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Williams is not the only option available for Di Bella. There are other contenders rising through the ranks of his division, and a rematch with Zhang, who performed very well in their first meeting, is also a possibility.

The champ says that fight was briefly discussed, but suspects fans will have to wait a bit longer to see the sequel.

“We were talking about it at one point,” he said. “It won’t happen in the next fight, but soon for sure.”

Di Bella’s win over Zhang came in his ONE debut. Before joining the promotion, he competed in several major kickboxing competitions, including five wins in the Glory ring, and won two boxing matches.

While his hope is to defend his title against Williams next, he is willing to take on any challenger ONE deems worthy.

“Anybody ONE puts in front of me, I’ll accept,” he said.