Liam Harrison Says He's Robust, Stable, and Prepared for ONE 167

one has shone a brighter spotlight for UK Muay Thai fighters than Liam Harrison aka the hitman. This Thai boxer from Leeds, England’s career views like a highlight reel, with multiple world titles to his name and some of the most exciting bouts ever seen en route to his mind-blowing record of 91 wins, 25 losses, and 2 draws.

The year 2022 would prove to be his biggest test yet however, as celebrations turned to commiserations after a huge win was followed up by a horrific injury within just a few months. Fortunately, “The Hitman” is back, and as M&F found out in an exclusive chat, he’s hungry to return to the sport that he loves. Here, ahead of his all-important bout against Katsuki Kitano in Bangkok, at ONE 167, we found out that money isn’t his motivation.

The temperature in Thailand is hot in May, averaging 82°F to 93° with a great deal of humidity. For a fighter who lives most of the year in Leeds, England—a place that see’s a lot of rain and far cooler temperatures, the transition to a different environment is half the battle. Thankfully though, travelling the globe to take it to an opponent is nothing new for Harrison. “I thought, get out here two weeks early, get acclimatized, get on the time zone, get used to the heat and that, because I nearly dropped dead today with the heat,” he laughs. “So, it’s a good job that I did come here early.”

Liam Harrison arrives early to acclimatize for a fight

Time zones are a serious factor as relates to ONE 167, taking place in Bangkok. The event will be broadcast all over the world and to make it available during primetime for rth American audiences, the matches will take place early in the morning. “My fight will be on around 9am, Bangkok time,” explains the Englishman. “So, I’m going to be fighting in the morning. w, that’s something I don’t ever do.” To compensate, Harrison says that he has shifted all of his hard training to the mornings. “9am is my big session. I’m making sure that my body is getting used to fully exerting and I’m getting up at 5am, just so my body is used to getting up at that time, and being awake 3 or 4 hours before a fight.”

Harrison’s preparedness has been a staple of a man who has been training in Muay Thai since the age of 13. He turned pro before his 15th birthday and soon won a local title with a third-round knockout. Numerous world titles followed and Harrison has now held the World Professional Muaythai Federation, World Muaythai Council, WBW Muaythai, and Kombat League titles to name but few.

And while “The Hitman” hit a rocky patch in 2017-2019, losing a string of three fights, then winning one, then losing another, he seemingly righted the ship with 5 wins from August 2019 to April 2022. That fifth win was yet another for the highlight reel, gaining a TKO over Muangthai P.K.Saenchai in the first round. And, that lightning-fast work earned Harrison a US $100,000 performance bonus. Just four months later his world was turned upside down however, when Harrison lost in the first round to ng-O Gaiyanghadao in a bid for the ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Championship at ONE on Prime Video 1.

t only did he lose that fight, but “The Hitman” received a serious knee injury when his legs were kicked out form underneath him. Following painful surgeries, rehabilitation, and some soul searching, “The Hitman” will be back to face Katsuki Kitano on June 8, 2024.

One Championship

For Liam Harrison, Muay Thai competition has never been motivated by money

Harrison, 38, had acquired that $100,000 bonus shortly before he was put on the shelf. While it’s fair to say that many fighters might have taken the money and ran, this was never an option for the Thai boxing legend. “, because I don’t fight for money,” says the proud Brit. “I fight cuz I love it. It’s never been about money. I spent most of my 20s fighting the best fighters on the planet and the money wasn’t that good.”

Harrison explains that he already has an income stream from his coaching and seminars. “Even if the money was still s**t, I’d fight, because its just what I love doing,” he says. “Fighting has never been about making money, for me, its in my heart, I love doing it.” Harrsion bravely opens up and shares that there were certainly dark times going through his knee rehab when he struggled to stay positive, and questioned if he could ever return to form. “People don’t want to watch a watered-down version of me,” he says, noting that he didn’t ever want to embarrass himself in a sport that he thinks so highly of. “So, there were a few of them thoughts going around, but now, everything’s back, working solidly, my knee is stronger than it was before, I’m just looking forward to getting back in there.”

A quick check of Instagram reveals that “The Hitman” is laser focused with his training and is putting himself in uncomfortable positions to reach his potential, like heavy sparring inside of the tire with Singdam. “That’s my style when I fight,” says Harrison. “I’m known as what’s called a ‘Muay Mat’ in Muay Thai, and a muay mat is someone who moves forward, hard punches, hard kicks, and someone who is always looking for the KO.”

When he’s not sweating it out in training, “The Hitman” is viewing thousands of hours of footage to find moves that will work for him. Fortunately, after his fans demanded it, the fighter has now put his invaluable knowledge out there by launching an online training resource.

Liam Harrison has proven time and time again, after almost 120 fights, that he is able to withstand punishment and still come through the other side victorious. “When you get to an elite level, when the skill level is the same and people are just as tough as you are, it sometimes can come down to who takes the most punishment,” he shares. “So, your body has to be in 100% the best physical condition possible.” The Muay mat explains that in his view, fighting is only 20% physicality however, noting that the mind picks up the other 80%. “Your mind will quit long before your body ever does,” he shares. “So, if your mind isn’t as strong as it should be, then don’t bother fighting because you are in the wrong sport.” Whatever happens in his return fight, Harrison certainly chose the right sport.

Liam Harrison makes his long awaited comeback at ONE 167 on Friday, June 7, live at 8pm ET on Prime Video in the U.S. and Canada. For more information visit here!

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