AN already-stacked Manila card in August of ONE Championship got loaded some more with recent additions and changes made by the promotion this week.
In an announcement on Monday, ONE shared “tweaks” for its “Dawn of Heroes” event on Aug. 2 at the Mall of Asia Arena, making it all the more the biggest fight card for ONE in the Philippines to date.
Filipino flyweight contender Danny “The King” Kingad, ONE announced, will now battle Australian Reece “Lightning” McLaren in the flyweight grand prix semifinals.
Mr. McLaren takes the place of Kairat Akhmetov of Kazakhstan, who was scheduled to face Mr. Kingad before a reported calf injury sidelined him.
Dawn of Heroes will mark the first time that Messrs. Kingad (10-1) and McLaren (12-6) will face each other in ONE.
Mr. Kingad earned a spot in the semifinals after emerging victorious over Japanese Senzo Ikeda in the grand prix quarterfinals in March in Japan.
Mr. McLaren, meanwhile, lost to Mr. Akhmetov in the quarters but now has a chance to redeem himself.
Also now part of Dawn of Heroes is former world flyweight champion Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio of the Philippines, who is on board in a flyweight world grand prix alternate bout against Japanese Yuya Wakamatsu.
Mr. Wakamatsu was supposed to face Mr. McLaren until the latter was called up to take on Mr. Kingad.
Former champ Eustaquio (12-7) bounced back in his last fight, beating Korean Kyu Sung Kim in May, after losing his belt against Brazilian Adriano Moraes in January.
Mr. Wakamatsu (10-4) is coming off back-to-back losses, the last one versus mixed martial arts legend Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson in the flyweight grand prix quarterfinals in March.
Another add-on is former ONE world title challenger Mauro “The Hammer” Cerilli of Italy against ONE Championship newcomer and former Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter Arjan Bhullar of India in a heavyweight contest. These latest additional offerings fortify Dawn of Heroes which is headlined by the ONE world featherweight championship fight between champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen of Australia versus Kyomi Matsushima of Japan, itself a recent addition to the event.
Co-headlining is the ONE flyweight muay thai world title fight between reigning champ Jonathan Haggerty and challenger Rodtang Jitmuangnon.
Other fights have former lightweight champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang of the Philippines against American Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez; Mr. Johnson versus Japanese Tatsumitsu Wada in a flyweight grand prix semifinal; and Filipino Honorio “The Rock” Banario against Russian Timofey Nastyukhin in a lightweight grand prix semifinal. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo