by Ernest Hernandez
ONE Championship lightweight champion Eduard Folayang is set to go up against featherweight titlist Martin Nguyen at the SM Mall of Asia Arena this Friday, the first champion vs. champion bout in the history of the sports media property.
Folayang’s title will be on the line. “Landslide” holds a size advantage over Nguyen though he downplays that edge.
“Nakikita ko pero depende naman kung paano gamitin at kung paano ko i-take advantage,” Folayang said. “Siguro, hindi ko i-consider na napakalaking factor.”
Nguyen, like Folayang, shares an underdog story. He captured his championship belt against Marat Gafurov. Folayang is well aware of Nguyen’s fighting style and sees him as an opponent with a big fighting heart.
“Kinonsider ko yung story ng magiging fight namin. As a martial artist, nandyan yung challenges. You need to face it. Iniisip ko na nag-cross division na siya, iniisip ko na champion siya at hindi mo mamaliitin ang pagka-champion ng taong ito,” said Folayang.
Folayang admits that he will do whatever it takes to win the bout. That includes the familiarity of fighting in front of the hometown crowd.
“Yung pagkakaiba nun, yung expectation ng marami parang nagiging invincible ka na. ‘Yung expectations nila na you will always be a better version of you,” said Folayang as he recalls his previous bout against Ev Ting.
“Sa akin naman, as a martial artist, I need to – kailangan ko maghanda sa expectation na iyon. Kailangan ko mag-prepare ahead of time. Pinuhin ko pa ‘yung areas na mahina ako at yung mga areas na malakas kung pwede ayusin pa.”
Folayang carries more experience with 18 wins in 23 bouts. But Nguyen is an up and coming fighter, winning his last 5 bouts and losing only once in 10 matches.
“Landslide” is aware that Nguyen is out to end his title run and will do whatever it takes to prevent it from happening.
“As a martial artist, kailangan mo harapin ang lahat ng challenges na darating sa iyo. Yung sa kanya, gusto niya gumawa ng story nya to cement his legacy, sa akin naman dapat ma-protect ko yung legacy,” ended Folayang.
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