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Mehdi Zatout Returns From Retirement For ‘Dream’ Boxing Bout At ONE 166

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Mehdi Zatout was happy with his 2022 retirement. However, a new and unexpected challenge has him coming out for one night at ONE 166: Qatar. The Algerian striker will compete in a boxing match against Zuhayr Al-Qahtani at the ONE Championship event.

“To me, it’s amazing. When they announced it, I immediately informed my fighters [at Venum Training Camp] about it. But I never thought that I would be the one competing. It’s crazy that ONE will be in Qatar. To be part of ONE 166 is a dream for me. Knowing it’s an Arabic country, it’s also special for me,” Zatout told ONE.

Zatout thought he finished his career against Asa Ten Pow. “Diamond Heart” scored an emphatic finish and exited the Circle with his hands raised high. While much of his decision was made due to the toll taken on his body, Zatout has been consistently training and staying in shape after giving himself time to heal.

“I retired because I had problems with my knees, and there was so much work. I’d just had enough. I decided to come back because I like the challenge. I’m happy that Chatri [Sityodtong] and ONE offered me the fight. Despite retiring, I’ve kept myself in shape and continued to spar with all of my fighters on the team. So, why not,” Zatout remarked.

It took something unforeseen to bring the talented striker out of retirement. As a lifelong fan of “the sweet science,” Zatout has always wanted to don the gloves. “Diamond Heart” will now get a chance to fulfill a dream he has had as a martial artist.

“I was actually sad when I made my decision to retire because I really wanted to fulfill my dream of competing in boxing at least once in my career. When people saw me at events, they’d ask, ‘Mehdi, do you want to fight?’ I would usually respond, ‘Of course, but not Muay Thai or kickboxing.’ What made me say yes was when ONE offered this boxing fight,” the Algerian said.

Although this will be his first boxing match, he is no stranger to the art. Zatout has trained and sparred with some of Europe’s best boxers over the years. During his run in Muay Thai, his hands were his most lethal weapon.

The fact this match will be in 10-ounce gloves is not a detriment to the Algerian. Zatout is happy to take the more traditional route for the match against Al-Qahtani. On Friday, March 1, Zatout returns to achieve his dream.

“At the beginning, I thought we would be competing in 4-ounce gloves. That’s okay, but when I found out it’s going to be a standard 10-ounce, it became more interesting for me because it will be contested under real boxing rules with boxing gloves. It will be so exciting for me,” Zatout said.

ONE 166 airs live on Friday, March 1. The event will be held at the Lusail Sports Arena in Qatar. The action begins at 7:30 a.m. EST/4:30 a.m. PST.

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Jeremy Brand is an experienced MMA writer and columnist. He is the founder of, and has represented the company with media credentials at many mixed martial arts fights. Jeremy is also a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, training in BC, Canada.

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