ONE Championship: Kingad All Praises For ‘Survivor’ Ikeda, Takes Aim At Akhmetov

ABS-CBN Sports on Apr 04, 2019 04:50 PM
Kingad All Praises For Ikeda, Takes Aim At Akhmetov
“I’m very excited, 100 percent excited. If I win, I could be facing Demetrious Johnson [in the finals]." (Photo courtesy of ONE Championship)

Danny "The King" Kingad is a step closer to a World Title shot after he moved into the semi-finals of the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix on Sunday, 31 March.

The 23-year-old Team Lakay phenom defeated Pancrase Flyweight World Champion Senzo Ikeda by unanimous decision at ONE: A NEW ERA in Tokyo, Japan to advance to the next stage of the tournament.

It was an impressive performance from Kingad, who showcased a wide variety of weapons in his arsenal including his striking and grappling.  

The victory, however, did not come easy. The Baguio City native acknowledged how tough his Japanese opponent truly was.

“He had a granite chin. He’s very strong. I really wanted that knockout, but it wasn’t meant to be as we had to settle for a decision,” the youngster said.

“I really wanted a knockout win, but Japanese athletes are survivors. They have a strong spirit and they’re very tough to crack.

"He just proved why he is a Pancrase [Flyweight World] Champion. I couldn’t seem to knock him down, no matter what I did. He really made things difficult for me up until the end.”

Waiting for him in the tournament semi-finals is former ONE Flyweight World Champion Kairat "The Kazakh" Akhmetov, who has victories over the division's reigning titleholder Adriano "Mikinho" Moraes and ex-World Champion Geje "Gravity" Eustaquio.

An outstanding wrestler capable of getting wins by either a knockout or submission, Akhmetov has proven to be a handful for anyone standing across the cage from him.

Kingad, however, feels like he already has his upcoming adversary figured out.

“I’m really preparing for Kairat’s wrestling. I don’t think I’ll have an issue with him striking, so maybe I’ll just emulate Geje’s style in their last meeting,” said Kingad, as Akhmetov split his series with Eustaquio one win apiece.

If he manages to follow his Team Lakay stablemate’s game plan from their second encounter in January 2018, then a showdown with longtime pound-for-pound king Demetrious Johnson could be in the works.

“I’m going to work on my takedown defense and try to outpoint him through striking, like Geje did,” Kingad continued.

“I’m very excited, 100 percent excited. If I win, I could be facing Demetrious Johnson [in the finals]."

 

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