ONE Championship: With title shot in mind, Kevin Belingon says Martin Nguyen can wait.

ONE: Kevin Belingon says Martin Nguyen can wait
“Hindi ko muna pinapansin yun, ako nakapila ako sa title shot, si Bibiano muna ang nasa isip ko." - Kevin Belingon on Martin Nguyen naming him as a potential opponent.

Team Lakay bantamweight star Kevin Belingon is undoubtedly the number one contender to Bibiano Fernandes’ ONE Bantamweight World Championship.

The popular opinion is that he’s been the number one contender for the last year or two now.

After dispatching Reece McLaren in what many thought as a title eliminator bout back in 2017, Belingon has since beaten grappler Kevin Chung via decision and former title challenger Andrew Leone via violent stoppage, further cementing his case as the next guy in line for a title shot.

“Light training parin [ako] para kung sakali, ibigay yung match sa July, at least naka-train pa. Inaantay ko lang yung matchup namin.” Belingon shared during a media luncheon, Wednesday afternoon in Manila.

(RELATED: Team Lakay's Kevin Belingon pays tribute to Ifugao roots)

Should Belingon and Fernandes finally be matched up for the title, it’ll be a second go-around, as the two have already crossed paths before, with Fernandes submitting Belingon in the first round back in 2016.

Since then, Belingon has racked up five straight victories, three coming via KO or TKO, and the Team Lakay standout believes that he’s steadily gotten better and is ready for another shot at gold.

“Gaya nga nung sabi ni Geje, nag-iimprove kami. Nag-iimprove ng nag-iimprove, chine-check namin yung weakness namin, lalo na sa jiu-jitsu, yun yung iniimprove ko pa, kasi si Bibiano magaling sa grappling, kung sakaling ibigay sa July, at least naka-ready ako, at least malabanan ko kahit anong anggulo, sa ring o sa cage.”

Belingon’s rise to the top of the division already has ONE Championship CEO Chatri Sityodtong taking notice, but he isn’t the only one that’s kept his eye on the Pinoy knockout artist.

In a recent interview with ONE Championship, reigning Featherweight and Lightweight World Champion Martin Nguyen mentioned Belingon as a potential opponent, given that the Vietnamese-Australian star also has his eyes set on the bantamweight strap.

“Realistically, I would want to return on July 27th, which is in Manila, Philippines. And if Bibiano is out, I would fight Kevin Belingon for the interim title or number one contender spot.” Nguyen said via ONEFC.com.

“Honestly, he deserves nothing but the best. He has taken out top contenders in devastating fashion. He is the one who deserves the title shot next. Belingon has to stay active, because he has to put food on the table for his family, and he needs to fight. If there is anyone to step up against Belingon, other than myself, I cannot really say who.” Nguyen added.

Nguyen is coming off a successful ONE Featherweight world title defense against Christian Lee in Singapore back in May, but he came up short against Fernandes in a champion-versus-champion match for the bantamweight title back in March.

And while a Belingon-Nguyen matchup would definitely be a main event caliber bout, the Belingon isn’t really paying too much attention to that.

“The Silencer” made it clear that it’s Fernandes he wants. Nguyen can wait.

“Hindi ko muna pinapansin yun, ako nakapila ako sa title shot, si Bibiano muna ang nasa isip ko. Kung sakaling talunin ko si Bibiano, eh di pwede mag-match kay Nguyen.”

 

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