ONE Championship: Eduard Folayang Wants To Celebrate His Birthday With A World Title Win
ABS-CBN Sports on Nov 19, 2018 04:26 PM
“There’s no greater gift I can receive on my 35th birthday other than winning the ONE Lightweight Word Title back,’’ - Eduard Folayang
With his highly-anticipated encounter against Singapore’s Amir Khan for the vacant ONE Lightweight World Championship set to take place a day after his birthday, local hero Eduard “Landslide” Folayang cannot think of a better present for himself than to have a gold-plated belt wrapped around his waist once again.
The Filipino superstar will celebrate his 35th birthday on Thursday, 22 November, a day before his scheduled five-round championship bout with Khan in the co-main event of ONE: CONQUEST OF CHAMPIONS, which emanates from the 20,000-capacity Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila.
“There’s no greater gift I can receive on my 35th birthday other than winning the ONE Lightweight Word Title back,’’ he expressed. “And there’s no better place to do it but in front of my countrymen.”
After relinquishing his lightweight crown to Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen in November 2017, Folayang immediately went back to the drawing board to check where things went wrong.
He amazingly worked his way back to the upper echelon of the talent-filled lightweight division — first dominating Kharun Atlangeriev in three rounds last May, and then edging out Aziz Pahrudinov in a 15-minute thriller two months later.
The Baguio City native treats the opportunity of reclaiming the ONE Lightweight World Championship both as a reward and vindication.
“There were some who doubted my decision to continue fighting after the knockout loss to Martin Nguyen nearly a year ago. After two wins in ONE Championship, I am back in the title picture,” Folayang stated.
“I feel very fulfilled because I made the right decision to compete again. Also, my hard work has paid off. It will be a great birthday present for me to bring home the belt again. It's an added motivation going into the bout against Amir Khan.”
Even if he is pegged as the heavy favorite to win the bout against the Singaporean, Folayang stressed that he is not taking his opponent for granted.
Khan holds the exceptional records for the most wins (11) and finishes (10) in ONE Championship, scoring impressive victories over the likes of Bashir Ahmad, Jimmy Yabo, Jaroslav Jartim, and Sung Jong Lee.
The 24-year-old phenom is coming off the biggest win of his promotional stint yet, submitting Folayang’s Team Lakay stablemate Honorio “The Rock” Banario with a first-round rear-naked choke this past September.
“Landslide” knows the Evolve MMA representative poses a dangerous threat, but he is confident of his chances.
“He is young and talented. I am also sure that he is hungry,” Folayang said.
“There is no room for complacency in this match. Of course, the momentum is on my side, but I plan to sustain it. I started the year with a win. I followed it up with another big win. The timing speaks for itself.”
In his return to the global stage, Folayang boldly predicts that fans in attendance at the Mall Of Asia Arena will witness the coronation of a fifth Filipino mixed martial arts World Champion on Friday.
“2018 has been a very good year to me,” he continued. “After November 23, I’m confident that the Philippines and Team Lakay will have another new world champion in the sport.”