Christian Lee had a spectacular 2022 by winning two world title main events and becoming a two-division champion in the process. “The Warrior” recaptured the ONE Lightweight World Championship with a blistering performance over Ok Rae Yoon in their rematch. Three months later, he was right back inside the Circle seeking another title belt.
However, according to Lee, it was not exactly smooth sailing. The Hawaii resident stated that he fell ill before he challenged Kiamrian Abbasov for the ONE Welterweight World Title. But even with the sickness keeping him from being 100% heading into the matchup, he still found a way to close the show and take home the gold.
“In my case, leading up to this fight, I got a great camp. I trained extremely hard for this fight, but two weeks before the fight I had a bad sickness that affected my lungs, and I was still training through it. So when it came down to the fight, that’s one of the reasons I feel like I could’ve done much better if, you know, that hadn’t happened,” Lee told ONE Championship.
His cardio almost did not come into play. Abbasov nearly finished the contest in the first round with a barrage of strikes. Lee’s undeniable heart kept him in the battle, and he was able to survive until the second round. After regrouping in the corner, Lee slowly worked himself back into the contest.
Even though Lee believes he was diminished from the sickness, he still had more energy in the championship rounds. It was his cardio that helped him survive early and rally late. But why did he not bring up the illness before the championship collision? For Lee, he did not want to give any excuses for his performance, win or lose.
“Now that the fight’s over, I’ll talk about it. But before the fight, I didn’t wanna leave any room. I didn’t wanna make any excuses before the fight, but that affected my cardio going into the later rounds and made me dig deep. It was right before I flew out and it affected me so much. I was really down for the last two weeks of my training camp, but, you know, I was still able to push through, and I think I got the result that I did. But that was definitely a bit of a struggle to overcome,” said Lee.
With the victory, Lee took the mountaintop for two divisions in ONE. As 2023 nears, he has compelling contenders chomping at his heels. At lightweight, Saygid Izagakhmaev and Halil Amir are approaching title bids. At welterweight, Roberto Soldic and Murad Ramazanov are vying for their opportunities. With hungry challengers waiting, Lee is in-store for a jam-packed year that could help bolster his claim as a pound-for-pound great.