He didn’t go out and party. Nor did he toast his title triumph with a few beers. Instead, new ONE Championship Bantamweight king Kevin Belingon savored the moment with his loved ones.
“I just enjoyed a simple victory lunch with my family,” said Belingon, who dined out on Filipino pinakbet (a meat and vegetable stew) yesterday.
Beating Brazil’s Bibiano Fernandes in a five-round affair at ONE: HEART OF THE LION in Singapore last 9 November, Kevin Belingon touched down in Kiangan in Philippines’ Ifugao province the following Saturday night with a shiny gold belt around his waist.
Still basking in the glory the following day, the 31-year-old took a moment to reflect on his greatest career achievement.
“It’s like a dream,” Belingon said.
“I dreamt about this and now it’s a reality. I’m very happy to have this belt and I think I really deserved this victory.
“I hope to defend it many times.”
Toppling Fernandes – the previously undisputed bantamweight champion – via split decision in the unification title bout, Belingon was unable to convey his true emotions.
“I can’t explain the feeling. Bibiano is a tough fighter and I was the first one to beat him in his career at ONE, so the feeling was great,” Belingon said.
“I beat such a tough fighter and now I’m world champion. I’m very, very happy.”
Fernandes was visibly disappointed to drop a narrow decision, but Belingon believed the result was never in doubt.
“I was very confident at the time that I was going to get the victory,” Belingon said.
“I knew that I had more points than him, but I was 100 percent confident that I was going to get that victory, even though it was split.
“So when they announced my name, I was very happy.”
As for what’s next, Kevin Belingon has revealed he will take a short break before defending his crown.
“I want to enjoy my victory first,” he said. “I’ll take a break, get back with the team and go again.
“For me, I just want to compete and if I feel good, I’ll take the fight.”
Kevin Belingon, who first lost to Fernandes back in 2016, has not ruled out a rubber match with the former champion.
“Maybe, I’m not sure,” Belingon said of a possible trilogy. “If they give me Bibiano or other names, I’ll take the fight. I am ready.
“There’s a lot of names in the division, so it could be anyone. I’ll just wait for ONE Championship to announce that.
“I will fight anyone who deserves it.”
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 11/16/2018.