By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
TOKYO — Filipino fighter Danny “The King” Kingad will take what he considers to be the biggest fight in his professional career to date, facing off with mixed martial arts legend Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson of the United States in the final of ONE Championship’s world flyweight grand prix at the promotion’s highly anticipated “Century” event on Oct. 13 here.
And Team Lakay stalwart Kingad (11-1) expressed excitement heading into the fight not only because he gets to share the ONE Ccircle with Mr. Johnson (29-3-1), whom he considers as one of his MMA heroes, in a high-stakes bout at that, but also because the fight would allow him to showcase his talent to an even bigger audience.
Part of the co-main event features of Part One of the two-pronged ONE: Century in the morning on Sunday, Mr. Kingad’s fight with Mr. Johnson will be broadcast live in prime time in the United States by way of TNT and Bleacher Report Live.
“I’m excited to showcase Filipino martial arts talent to the American audience,” Mr. Kingad asserted of the added significance of his upcoming fight at the press conference for Century on Thursday at the Park Hyatt Hotel.
Mr. Kingad’s grand prix title quest is included in the main card in the fight lineup bannered by the ONE world atomweight title clash between reigning champion Angela “The Unstoppable” Lee of Singapore against challenger and world strawweight champ “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan of China.
The other fights are the ONE world lightweight grand prix final between Singaporean champion Christian “The Warrior” Lee and Turkish Sayid Guseyn Arslanaliev and the atomweight muay thai collision of American Janet Todd and Belarusian Ekaterina Vandaryeva.
“I’m happy to be back here again and competing in the most important match of my life. It is an honor to represent my country, the Philippines, and I am glad to be here with my Team Lakay family,” said Mr. Kingad, who started competing professionally in 2014.
Up against a legend in Johnson, Mr. Kingad said he recognizes that the odds are not in his favor but nonetheless believes that he has prepared well and sharpened his skills giving him a solid shot at beating the American.
“I believe I have the chance to beat him (Johnson). If I beat him, it will be the greatest accomplishment of my career,” he said.
Mr. Kingad reached the finale of the flyweight grand prix with hard-earned victories in the previous two rounds, beating Japanese Senzo Ikeda in March by unanimous decision and Australian Reece McLaren in August by split decision.
Mr. Johnson, for his part, took down Japanese Yuya Wakamatsu and Tatsumitsu Wada, in that order, by submission and unanimous decision, respectively, to reach the final.
ONE: Century will take place at the famed Ryogoku Kokugikan in Sumida City.
In the Philippines, Century will be carried live locally by both ESPN5 and Cignal, and ABS-CBN Sports and iWant Sports. Part one will be aired beginning at 8 a.m. and part two at 4 p.m.