Filipino fistic spitfire Kevin Belingon is fired up to defend his ONE Bantamweight World Title against rival Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes at ONE: A NEW ERA on 31 March at Tokyo Japan.
Belingon will be the third member of Team Lakay to defend his World Title, following heartbreaking title losses for both Joshua Pacio and Geje Eustaquio in January.
When ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong announced that Belingon would be the fourth World Champion to defend his title in Tokyo, the Filipino veteran was excited knowing that he would be able to compete alongside Team Lakay brother Eduard “Landslide” Folayang in redeeming the Baguio City-based martial arts outfit.
“There’s a lot of pressure for the team this 2019,” Belingon said. “We just lost two belts this year, so it is up to us [Eduard Folayang] to relieve some of that pressure.”
After dominating ONE Championship in 2018, the two early losses were a huge blow to the team’s morale. But instead of sulking in defeat, the experience has motivated both Belingon and Folayang to do their best this March.
“Me and kuya Edward are determined to defend our World Titles so that we can go back home as champions,” Belingon said. “We are going to do this for Team Lakay and the Philippines.”
Belingon does not want to give any predictions in his upcoming rubber match against Fernandes, but promises that he would use the lessons he learned from the team’s performances this year against the former titleholder.
“Bibiano Fernandes is the toughest opponent of my career, and surely I am the same for him. I don’t expect this third fight to be easy, that is why I am preparing hard in training,” Belingon said.
“I will try my best. I can’t predict how the fight will go, but I will try to finish it this time.”
With teammates and fans rooting for them, Belingon is highly-motivated and laser-focused on his goal, despite the pressure that is evidently upon the two martial arts superstars.
“We just need to convert that pressure into focus to make sure we are successful in our respective title defenses,” Belingon said. “With the help of Coach Mark, our teammates and the support of our fans there it is not impossible for us.”
Kevin Belingon not only has the mindset of a World Champion, he promises to show that he has the skills as well.
“I want to stay as a champion and I would make sure that I will do everything I can to keep it that way,” he concluded.
Catch Kevin Belingon back in action at ONE: A New Era on March 31 in Tokyo, Japan.
By Dan Paulo Errazo
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 2/27/2019.