ONE Championship: Former champion Honorio Banario heads back down to featherweight in return to action
ABS-CBN Sports on Jan 22, 2020 03:28 PM
“I think I’m kind of small in the lightweight division as well. But I can’t explain it. I feel heavy, yet I am small. In featherweight, I feel like I’m in the right size, weight, and strength.” - Honorio Banario
His first assignment back at the division will not be a walk in the park as he takes on Thai striker Shannon "Oneshin" Wiratchai on the prime card of ONE: KING OF THE JUNGLE on 28 February at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Banario, the inaugural ONE Featherweight World Champion, originally moved up a weight class after a string of losses in the featherweight division from 2013 to 2015.
And while he enjoyed a career resurgence in the lightweight division by racking up five straight wins, he now finds himself in a familiar hole as he managed to win just one in his last four matches.
“When I moved to lightweight, it started positively - I started a win streak but soon, I was feeling sluggish. I tired out easily, maybe because I’m at a heavier division,” Banario said.
“So coach Mark [Sangiao] and I talked about moving back down to featherweight to test my physical strength. With a good performance, I’ll stay there.”
For Banario, success as a featherweight boils down to discipline, which he admitted he did not have at lightweight.
“In the lightweight division I was a bit relaxed with my weight because I just have to maintain it. Sometimes I forget about diet, but now it’s so much better because I am disciplined with what I eat, and I know the value of being disciplined. Now I am back to [having a] strict diet and training,” Banario said.
“I think I’m kind of small in the lightweight division as well. But I can’t explain it. I feel heavy, yet I am small. In featherweight, I feel like I’m in the right size, weight, and strength.”
His opponent, Wiratchai, is also coming off a series of setbacks in the 77.1kg division. So “The Rock” expects his Thai counterpart to be just as hungry to win.
“It is going to be a good scrap because he’s also coming off consecutive losses and I know he wants to win,” Banario said.
“Like him, I’m also coming off losses, so this is going to be a good fight. I expect it to be a striking battle, and I don’t expect the match to go the decision,” he said.
“May the best man win.”
Meanwhile, five of Banario’s teammates on Team Lakay are set to face the world at ONE FIRE & FURY on 31 January at the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines.