Issue of June 10, 2018
     
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Belingon to face Nguyen for ONE interim BW belt
by Harley F. Palangchao

SUPER BOUT -- Team Lakay’s Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon will face two-division ONE Championship champion Martin Nguyen for the interim ONE bantamweight world belt in Manila on July 23. -- ONE photo

This could be a super bout fight fans do not want to witness in the nearest future.

ONE Championship announced last week that top ONE bantamweight contender Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon and two-division champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen will headline the Manila card on July 23.

While fight fans shared the view that Belingon deserves to have a title rematch with reigning ONE bantamweight king Bibiano Fernandes, ONE top honcho Chatri Sityodtong announced that the Brazilian champ couldn’t defend his belt due to an injury.

Instead, Belingon will face Nguyen, the reigning ONE lightweight and featherweight champion, for the ONE interim bantamweight belt.

Concerned quarters viewed the interim match as unfair, as it puts Belingon and other top contenders in the bantamweight division in an unfavorable position since they have defeated equally talented bantamweights to challenge Fernandes for the belt.

Many fight fans in the Philippines, especially in the Cordillera, the home of the Team Lakay warriors, hinted that ONE should instead put the ONE featherweight belt on the line between Belingon and Nguyen.

The other option is that, if Belingon wins the interim ONE bantamweight belt, the promotion should arrange a duel between the Igorot fighter and Nguyen for the featherweight belt.

With a professional record of 18-5, the Filipino wushu champion and former world title challenger is known as a fierce competitor with the ability to finish opponents in a variety of methods.

The 30-year-old wushu stalwart owns eight huge knockouts on his resume, and is one of the most feared strikers in ONE Championship’s deep bantamweight division.

In his last bout, Belingon overwhelmed former world title challenger Andrew Leone to win by scintillating second-round knockout.

With an impressive 11-2 professional record, which includes three submissions and seven knockouts, Nguyen’s well-around skill set allows him to perform at the highest level of competition.

In November 2017, Nguyen scored a scintillating knockout victory over Eduard Folayang to become the first man in the history of ONE Championship to hold two world titles simultaneously in different weight divisions.

Fernandes defeated Nguyen via unanimous decision in their ONE bantamweight championship bout recently.

 
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