Manila is all set to play host to a spectacular night of martial arts action on 10 November, with local hero Kevin Belingon ready to make a major statement in the ONE Championship bantamweight division.
Belingon takes on Kevin “Oldboy” Chung at ONE: LEGENDS OF THE WORLD at the Mall of Asia Arena as one of the night’s featured attractions. Needless to say, the man known as “The Silencer” plans on stealing the show with another impressive knockout.
Following his unsuccessful title tilt against ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano Fernandes two years ago, Belingon has made it his mission to battle his way back to the front of the bantamweight queue once again, and avenge his defeat to “The Flash.”
He picked up a dominant decision victory over Muin Gafurov, then ran through former world title challengers Toni Tauru and Reece McLaren in emphatic fashion with first-round knockouts.
It’s marked out Belingon as a serious contender once again in the ONE Championship bantamweight division, and the 30-year-old from Manila plans on continuing his run towards the title when he takes on Chung on 10 November.
“Make no mistake about it, my performances in the cage as of late are a message to the organisation, and to the reigning ONE Bantamweight World Champion,” he declared.
“I am coming for that belt and no one can stop me. Whoever they put in front of me, I will be looking to destroy. I am a man on a mission.
“I want to show everybody that I am the real title challenger-in-waiting. I have realised my mistakes in my first encounter with Bibiano, and I have worked hard to erase those flaws.
“He is a great world champion, but I feel things will go differently if we ever meet again. The time will come when I will be able to showcase my improvements.”
Belingon succumbed to a kimura late in the first round against Fernandes first time around, as the defending champion shut down Belingon’s striking game and submitted him before the Filipino could sustain any serious striking offense.
That defeat stung “The Silencer”, and Belingon has used that loss as a catalyst to take his all-round martial arts game to a new level, throwing himself into his training at his Team Lakay base.
“Since then, I have bolstered my training, working on all areas of my game from striking to grappling,” he explained. “I know I will meet Bibiano again in that cage, and when that day comes, I need to be prepared.
“There is not a day that has passed that I have not thought about that first bout.”
That determination, bordering on obsession, continues to fire Belingon, as he prepares to face rising American-born prospect Chung, who holds a perfect 5-0 record in his young martial arts career.
The bout represents a dangerous assignment for Belingon. Many observers have the Filipino as the favourite going into the contest, but Chung’s undefeated record means he warrants respect, despite Belingon’s world title ambitions.
“My opponent is not easy, and I am not taking him for granted, which is why I am completely focused on my upcoming bout this November,” he said.
“This is a dangerous game we play, and we cannot underestimate anybody. I need to be at my absolute best so I can turn in another great performance for the fans.
“Competing in front of my hometown crowd, the pressure is on to score another huge victory.”
His determination to produce another highlight-reel finish won’t derail him from the overall job in hand, which is to ensure he gets the win. Only victory will push him closer to his dreams, and he says he’s fully prepared for everything his undefeated opponent will throw at him when they meet inside the cage.
“My mindset remains to showcase my skills and remain focused on executing the game plan,” he said.
“My team and I have devised a tremendous strategy in dealing with my next opponent. Even though I have scored some recent knockouts, I am not going in there recklessly.
“If at any point I sense my opponent is ready to go, and the knockout presents itself, I am like a shark in a fish tank.
“There is no doubt I will go for the finish, and I will end matters quickly. I will strike my opponent until the referee pulls me off him.”
If he’s successful, a world title rematch with Fernandes could be just around the corner. And that’s all the motivation Belingon needs as he prepares to put on a show in front of his home town on 10 November.
“I feel fantastic. I feel strong, and I feel ready,” he declared.
“I am ready to climb into the cage in Manila and feel the roar of the crowd again. My opponent had better be prepared for an all-out war, because I will be bringing the firepower.
“This is a match for the fans, and I am excited to show the world the best version of Kevin Belingon.”