ONE Championship: Brandon Vera proud of Team Lakay's success
Santino Honasan on Oct 17, 2018 01:57 PM
“They’re Baguio boys. I don’t have to say anything else. If you don’t know what being a Baguio boy means, you need to leave your area, come to the Philippines and go to Baguio to see how they grew up,” - Brandon Vera on Team Lakay's success
With seven world championship wins since ONE Championship’s inception in 2011, the Philippines has established themselves as the country with the most championship victories in the promotion.
At the forefront of that historical milestone is none other than La Trinidad, Benguet-based Team Lakay.
Of those seven world championship wins, six have been courtesy of a member of the famed mixed martial arts stable, and by the end of 2018, there could possibly be two more championship wins on the team’s ledger.
Honorio Banario sparked the movement for Team Lakay, so to say, when he captured the inaugural ONE Featherweight World Championship back in 2013.
Three years later, Eduard Folayang would realize his dream of becoming a world champion by capturing the ONE Lightweight World Championship with a stunning TKO win over legend Shinya Aoki.
In 2018, which is proving to be Team Lakay’s banner year, three different members took home world titles, as Geje Eustaquio kicked the year off with the ONE Interim Flyweight World Championship, which he unified months later.
Kevin Belingon also captured gold in 2018 by defeating Martin Nguyen to become the ONE Interim Bantamweight World Champion and finally secure his shot against undisputed bantamweight king Bibiano Fernandes, which happens at ONE: HEART OF THE LION on Friday, 9 November in Singapore.
The most recent to bring a world championship back home to Baguio City was Joshua Pacio, who defeated Yoshitaka Naito in a rematch to become the new ONE Straawweight World Champion.
And while the boys from Baguio are definitely a large part of the equation, there’s one more ONE world champion that represents the Philippines, and that’s none other than ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon Vera.
Arguably the biggest name among the Filipino champions, Vera can be thought of as one of the leaders of the Filipino contingent on ONE Championship, and the hard-hitting heavyweight king couldn’t be more proud of how Philippine mixed martial arts is growing and developing.
“That’s cool, man. It makes me proud. It’s been a long time coming, and this sport has been around a really long time, I’m glad that it’s breaking all the records and pace here in Asia, and the fact that there is a Team Lakay, and that there are amazing athletes in the Philippines that are able to find their outlet and perform and make a living, I can’t ask for anything more,” Vera expressed.
Talking about the unparalleled success that his brothers from Benguet are enjoying, Vera says that he expected nothing less.
“They’re Baguio boys. I don’t have to say anything else,” he said with a chuckle.
“If you don’t know what being a Baguio boy means, you need to leave your area, come to the Philippines and go to Baguio to see how they grew up,” Vera explained further.
Making things even more impressive is the fact that Team Lakay has been able to garner all this success even without the luxury of big gym or state-of-the-art equipment.
Team Lakay has gotten by on hardwork, dedication, and determination, and Vera knows what team is all about.
“I wouldn’t expect anything less from these guys, they always come in shape, they’re always training, their heart is unquestionable, and their technique is always getting better every month, and they’re hiring in coaches to help every month, so they have nowhere else to go but up,” he added.
Vera hopes to be competing alongside Folayang, who looks to become a two-time ONE Lightweight World Champion when he meets Singaporean Amir Khan for the vacant title at ONE: CONQUEST OF CHAPIONS on Friday, 23 November in Manila.