By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
ONE Championship’s next live event in Manila, “Heroes of Honor,” set for April took further form last week with the announcement of the fights making up the card.
Happening on April 20 at the Mall of Asia Arena, Heroes of Honor, the 13th event of Asia’s largest sports media property in the Philippines, will feature the ONE return of local fighters Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon, Honorio “The Rock” Banario and Gina “Conviction” Iniong.
Bantamweight Belingon (17-5), a member of Team Lakay in Baguio City, is fighting in the main event against Andrew Leone (8-3) of the United States.
Mr. Belingon, 30, last fought in ONE Championship in November last year, dominating Korean-American opponent Kevin Chung en route to a unanimous decision victory.
The win was the fourth straight for the Filipino bet, pushing him further forward in the mix of fighters of note in the division and a possible shot anew for the title currently held by Brazilian Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes.
Mr. Banario, meanwhile, makes his comeback after a year’s break, taking on Australian Adrian “The Hunter” Pang (22-11).
He defeated Jaroslav Jartim of the Czech Republic in April 2017 by way of an impressive knockout in the second round.
It was the fourth straight victory for the former ONE featherweight world champion after absorbing five consecutive defeats previously.
Mr. Banario is angling to get the win over Mr. Pang to solidify his footing now as a lightweight fighter in ONE.
The third Filipino seeing action in Heroes of Honor, Ms. Iniong, is one of the top female mixed martial arts fighters in the country, holding a 6-3 record.
A teammate of Messrs. Belingon and Banario in Team Lakay, Ms. Iniong takes on Jenny Huang (5-2) of Chinese-Taipei in a preliminary women’s atomweight clash.
Ms. Iniong lost in her last fight in a short-noticed title eliminator against Mei Yamaguchi in November.
The Filipina plunged into the fight just two weeks after claiming a victory over Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol by second-round technical knockout.
Also part of the live event is the launch of ONE Super Series, which the organization said aims to celebrate the world’ most effective striking arts like Muay Thai, kickboxing, karate, taekwondo, wushu and sanda, among others.
The first offering of the Super Series will see kickboxers Giorgio Petrosyan of Italy and “Smokin” Jo Nattawut of Thailand go at it.
“ONE: Heroes of Honor is a historic event for ONE Championship. For the first time ever, we are combining the action and thrill of mixed martial arts with the authenticity of the world’s most elite striking arts in ONE Super Series. I am excited to unveil our brand-new ONE Championship ring where all the action will take place, as well as welcome the world’s greatest martial artists to the most prestigious global stage of competition. It’s going to be an evening filled with excitement as we showcase the best in martial arts, and with ONE Super Series, ONE Championship is now the largest martial arts organization in the world,” said Chatri Sityodtong, chairman and CEO of ONE Championship.