anatoly malykhin
Anatoly Malykhin wins the ONE light heavyweight world championship after knocking out Reinier de Ridder at ONE on Prime Video 5 ONE Championship


  • Arjan Bhullar and Anatoly Malykhin were first scheduled to fight in July
  • ONE Friday Fights 22 on June 23 will now serve as their date with destiny
  • ONE Championship offered no reasons as to why the change was made

ONE Championship fans have been waiting to finally see lineal heavyweight champion Arjan Bhullar and interim titleholder Anatoly Malykhin unify the belts after months of delays.

Last announced to be happening at ONE Fight Night 12 on July 14, the bout has been rescheduled to an earlier date–this time taking place at ONE Friday Fights 22 on June 23 at the Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.

The latest change marks the fourth time in the past couple of months that ONE Championship attempted to get the pair together.

Malykhin's status as interim heavyweight king came after Bhullar and his management team declined a fight with the heavy-handed Russian in January.

He instead fought and knocked out Kirill Grishenko in the middle of round two at ONE: Bad Blood in February 2022.

Soon after his triumph over Grishenko, the Singapore-based combat sports promotion's second attempt at putting together the heavyweight unification bout was set for ONE 161 in September 2022.

But the problem would again come from Bhullar's side of things as he suffered a then-undisclosed injury to his arm during training that needed surgery, thereby shunting him and the bout off the card.

A couple of months later, it was confirmed by the promotion that the now-long-awaited heavyweight title unification fight will finally take place at ONE Fight Night 8 on March 25 of this year.

However, that bout would get strong-armed into being rescheduled to July 14 due to an alleged "shift in broadcaster commitments" that had lineal champion Bhullar frustrated with the repeated changes in schedule.

ONE Championship did not provide any reason as to why the scheduled fight had been changed from July 14 to June 23.

This time, ONE Championship is banking on the fact that both men can be healthy enough to finally determine who deserves to sit on the throne as the one true king of the division.

While his chase of undisputed champion status was being repeatedly delayed, Malykhin set his sights on a new goal: becoming a two-division champion.

"Sladkiy" would fulfill his goal and much more by becoming the top of the food chain in the light heavyweight division after dismissing then-champion Reinier de Ridder in less than a full round after burying "The Dutch Knight" under a mountain of punches at ONE Fight Night 5 this past December.

De Ridder being stretchered out of the event was a sight yet to be seen at the time since he had run roughshod over his past opponents, further emboldening Malykhin's pursuit of the heavyweight title sitting around the waist of Bhullar.

Bhullar and Malykhin have both been chomping at the bit to crown themselves undisputed king of the heavyweights, and June 23 will now play host to this clash of behemoths.

Arjan Bhullar, ONE Championship
Arjan Bhullar celebrates winning the ONE heavyweight title following his knockout victory of Brandon Vera at ONE: Dangal on April 28, 2021. ONE Championship