By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
THRUST to a great position to fulfill his dream of becoming a world champion, Filipino mixed martial arts fighter Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon said he is seizing the moment and is all in to see his mission through.
To take on two-division world champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen for the interim bantamweight title at ONE Championship’s “Reign of Kings” on Friday, July 27, at the Mall of Asia Arena, Baguio-based Belingon expressed excitement and readiness to make a go at the gold.
It will mark the second time that Mr. Belingon (18-5) is getting his shot at the bantamweight belt after losing the first around to reigning world champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes of Brazil in January 2016.
Back in a position to make his long-sought ascendancy in the division happen, the 30-year-old Filipino fighter is treating his title clash with Mr. Nguyen (11-2), the featherweight and lightweight ONE world champion, with utmost significance and has vowed to do everything he can to emerge on top.
“This is without a doubt the biggest bout of my career. Everything that I have worked on to this point, all the countless nights spent in the gym, endless rolls with my teammates at Team Lakay, all the wins and the sacrifices, it all comes down to this,” said Mr. Belingon at the press conference for Reign of Kings on Tuesday at the City of Dreams.
“I took this challenge against Martin Nguyen, despite having a guaranteed shot at Bibiano Fernandes already, because I wanted to prove that I never back down from any challenge no matter how big or small. Beating Martin will be huge for my career. He is a two-division world champion at both featherweight and lightweight. If I defeat him, I just beat a two-division world champion. I am excited to get into the cage this Friday night and do what I do best,” he added.
Mr. Belingon is currently on a five-fight winning streak since his loss to Mr. Fernandes and has improved his game from all aspects, making him one of the top contenders in the bantamweight division.
His last victory came in April this year where he beat American Andrew Leone in the second round with an impressive spinning back kick which he punctuated with a barrage of punches.
In the event he gets to beat Mr. Nguyen, he raises the number of current Filipino ONE champions to three, after Team Lakay stable mate Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio (flyweight) and Brandon Vera (heavyweight).
He would also become the fourth Team Lakay fighter to hold a ONE Championship belt, Mr. Eustaquio, Eduard Folayang (lightweight) and Honorio Banario (featherweight).