Former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio "The Rock" Banario is suiting up for what could be the most dangerous bout in his career when he takes on Russia's Timofey Nastyukhin.
The pair of hard-hitting strikers will collide in the semi-finals of the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix at ONE: DAWN OF HEROES on 2 August at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines.
Knowing how Nastyukhin loves to come out of the gates firing, Banario does not mind taking a cautious approach at first to try and take the Russian out of his game.
“Our main issue is that, from the onset he goes for the kill. That’s why we’re hoping to go past the first round so we can totally warm-up. I see that he slows down in the second round,” said Banario.
“That’s what we want to capitalize on. We need to survive the early goings and wear him out,” he added. “We can win on points. He’s a striker so he certainly wants to finish his opponents. Maybe I’ll avoid exchanging with him.”
Nastyukhin only went the distance twice in his career and has finished eleven of his opponents in the opening round. In his last outing, he scored a first-round knockout against former Lightweight World Champion Eddie "The Underground King" Alvarez at ONE: A NEW ERA last March.
Knowing that he has to survive Nastyukhin’s best blows, Banario understands that he has to be in top-shape entering their bout. If he plans on forcing Nastyukhin into going the distance with him, then he has to be in the best physical condition of his life.
“So far, my training and cardio has been great. I have faster recovery now,” said Banario.
“We still have four weeks of training and I’m sure we’ll see the results of our hardwork in the match. Unlike the last time, I’ll be in tiptop shape and I won’t tire out ‘til the end of the match.”
Aside from conditioning, Banario said that patience and timing will be key against a hard-hitter like Nastyukhin. He is the type that would normally go for a finish, but Banario knows that he cannot be careless against the Russian.
“I am not promising a knockout, my goal is to win the fight,” said Banario. “The plan is to counter and catch him off guard.”