Kevin Belingon Ready To Show The World His Filipino Warrior Spirit

Kevin Belingon Ready To Show The World His Filipino Warrior Spirit
PHOTO: Kevin Belingon Ready To Show The World His Filipino Warrior Spirit

Filipino contender Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon stands one win away from World Championship glory.

The 30-year-old Team Lakay star will take on two-division World Champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen for the ONE Interim Bantamweight World Title at ONE: REIGN OF KINGS in Manila, the Philippines on July 27.

And the wushu striker, who is in a hot streak of form, says he is ready to throw hands with the noted knockout artist and come away with the gold at the Mall of Asia Arena.

“Striking is obviously my number one strength, and I feel more confident in striking with Martin rather than going down to the ground. I also think my striking is better than his,” he says.

“My main objective is to trade hands with Martin. It is more exciting, and it is going to be great for the fans. I do not expect this fight to go the distance. Given our finishing capabilities, this will not reach the final bell. Someone is going to get stopped, and I am going to make sure it is not me.”

Belingon will have the home field advantage at the Mall of Asia Arena, and he says he’ll be inspired by the passionate support pouring down from the stands when he challenges for the title.

“Fighting at the Mall Of Asia Arena, in front of thousands of Filipino fans screaming, is a unique experience,” he explains.

“Every chant and cheer gives me strength — it pumps the adrenaline through my body, gets my blood boiling, and energises me to the point where I feel untouchable. It really goes a long way in giving me the energy and confidence I need entering that cage.

“But once the cage door closes, I know it is up to me to make everyone proud. That is when I fall back on the skills that I have worked on for years and months. All the hard work in training, all the sleepless nights and endless hours in the gym, every single roll, every punch taken and thrown, it all comes down to this.

“I will step into that cage, and I will make everyone proud. I will show the world the Filipino fighting spirit.”

It would mean nothing more to Belingon than to win a ONE World Title on home soil and follow in the footsteps of his Team Lakay teammates Honorio Banario, Eduard Folayang and Geje Eustaquio.

Folayang and Banario are two of the more senior members of the team, and Belingon admits they’ve been a particular inspiration to him, along with a certain Filipino boxing superstar.

“Winning the belt is very important to me. It means everything. Watching my teammates Eduard Folayang and Honorio Banario win their World Titles, it has inspired every one of us. I want to feel what it is like to have that belt around my waist,” he says.

“Also, being World Champion means I can inspire my people. All across the country, there are people who look up to us at Team Lakay, especially the youth. Young kids across the nation who grow up in poverty, they all dream big. When they see us on television, they come to believe that anything is possible.

“When I was growing up, it was all about Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. I watched their films on TV, and I wanted to be like them. And then, of course, our national hero Manny Pacquiao came along.

“Pacquiao was my inspiration growing up as a young martial artist. I dreamed of representing the Philippines just as he did on the world stage. To follow in his footsteps, it is a dream come true for me.”

Belingon is the latest star from Baguio City’s Team Lakay to feature on the big stage, and the Filipino hero says there is no better team for him to base himself as he bids for martial arts greatness in ONE Championship.

“Team Lakay is the best team in the world — not only because our skills are world-class and that our team produces World Champions, but also because we treat each other like family,” he says.

“Everyone genuinely cares for each other like brothers and sisters. We look out for one another in and out of the cage. We share our victories and our defeats, and we learn from each other.

“When Edward and Eduard both fought Martin, they shared with us their experience and observations. It is as if we all fought Martin, which is why I am super confident heading into this fight. I have the support of my entire team behind me, and I know they will all be in my corner on fight night.”

It seems as if everything in Belingon’s career is coming together for this moment, as he gets set to face Nguyen, who he describes as “the toughest challenge” of his career.

“If I can beat Martin, then I have beaten a two-division World Champion. That would be an amazing accomplishment,” he adds.

“I cannot wait to get inside that cage and just do my job. I know it is going to be tough, but I am prepared for this fight wherever it goes. Given both of our strengths, I know this is going to be an intense striking battle, but I am also ready to go to the ground, if needed.

“I have been preparing my entire career for this moment. Now, it is time to just go out there and take care of business.”

 

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