ONE Championship: Motivated Honorio Banario grateful for second chance in Grand Prix
Santino Honasan on Jun 11, 2019 03:22 PM
“I would like to thank ONE Championship for giving me another chance...I am happy and I think I am luck to be back in the Grand Prix.”
Former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio “The Rock” Banario will be getting a second chance at glory when he returns to the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix to face Russian striker Timofey Nastyukhin in the tournament semifinals at ONE: Dawn of Heroes this coming August 2nd in Manila.
It was announced earlier this week that Banario would be stepping in for Hawaiian wrestler Lowen Tynanes, who had to pull out because of a back injury suffered in training, as per ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong.
It was actually Banario who Tynanes defeated in the tournament’s quarterfinals earlier this year to advance.
Now, the Team Lakay star gets another chance in the Grand Prix, and he’s nothing but grateful for the opportunity.
“I would like to thank ONE Championship for giving me another chance,” Banario told ABS-CBN Sports. “To sir Chatri, sir Matt Hume, sir Victor Cui, and the rest of the ONE staff. I am happy and I think I am luck to be back in the Grand Prix.”
It’s not often that second chances come by in tournaments like this, and Banario is making sure that he won’t be wasting the opportunity that is in front of him.
“My last performance was not good,” Banario admitted. “I was lacking explosiveness, speed, and power, so I am trying to improve on those areas for this second chance.”
Banario will be facing a proven lightweight contender in Nastyukhin, who earned his spot in the semifinals after a stunning first-round TKO against the heavily-favored Eddie Alvarez at ONE: A New Era in Tokyo back in March.
The heavy-handed Russian’s resumé reads like a who’s who in the lightweight division and among those he has wins over is none other than Banario’s stablemate and former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard Folayang.
“Timofey is a warrior,” Banario stated. “He has power in both his hands and he is a legit striker.”
“He is powerful and explosive, but I am looking for a way to exploit those traits,” he added.
This will be Banario’s first time back since his loss to Tynanes back in January. Since then, a lot has changed for “The Rock”, including getting married and now, he has a baby on the way.
With a family to provide for, Banario is now motivated and more determined than ever to succeed.
“Ngayon, it’s a very big motivation for me that I have my own family and that a baby is coming,” said Banario. “It is a source of my strength, unlike when I was single na sometimes tinatamad ay pwedeng huminto, pero ngayon, hangga’t kaya pa, I’m going to go forward.”
A win against Nastyukhin will send Banario into the Finals against Turkish knockout artist Saygid Guseyn Aralanaliev.
The winner of the tournament will be crowned the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix champion and will get a shot at the ONE Lightweight World Championship.
ONE: Dawn of Heroes will also feature a number of massive matchups, including a big-time lightweight bout between former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang of the Philippines and multiple-time lightweight world champion Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez of the US, as well as Americian flyweight great Demetrious Johnson versus Japan’s Tatsumitsu Wada and Filipino up-and-comer Danny Kingad vs. former champion Kairat Akhmetov of Kazakhstan in the ONE Flyweight Grand Prix Semifinal matches.
The main event will be a ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Championship bout between champion Jonathan Haggerty of the United Kingdom and challenger Rodtang Jitmuangnon of Thailand.
ONE: Dawn of Heroes takes place on Friday, August 2 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Philippines.