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Belingon looking to zoom in on ONE title shot

Team Lakay's Kevin Belingon | Philstar.com File Photo/Jonathan Asuncion

MANILA, Philippines — Over and over again, Kevin Belingon has proven that he is worthy of the “contender” tag in ONE Championship’s bantamweight division.

Heck, he was once that. In 2016, the Team Lakay ward back challenged the reining king of the division, Bibiano Fernandes, but fell short.

Fast forward to November 2017, he is inching closer to regaining that spot — as a worthy challenger to the throne. One last hurdle remains in Korean-American standout Kevin Chung.

“Make no mistake about it, my performances in the cage as of late are a message to the organization… and to the reigning world champion,” Belingon offered. “I am coming for that belt.”

“Whoever they put in front of me, I’ll be looking to destroy,” he declared. “I am a man on a mission.”

The Baguio City native will try to convince the promotion one last time that he is deserving of another crack at Fernandes’ belt. Belingon collected three wins after that foiled bid nearly two years ago — and his preys are no pushovers.

After falling to the 18-3-0 Brazilian, the Filipino fighter went on a rampage, scoring a unanimous decision victory over the tough-as-nails Muin Gafurov. He then breezed past Toni Tauru and Reece McLaren who he both dispatched in the opening salvo.

“I want to show everybody that I am the real title challenger-in-waiting. I have realized my mistakes in my first encounter with Bibiano, and I have worked hard to erase those flaws,” Belingon said.

“He is a great champ, but I feel things will go differently [when] we meet again,” he noted.

True enough, Fernandes has been different, as he has defended his strap for a record six times. The only time his title fight went the distance was when during his first-ever defense which came via the grizzled Masakatsu Ueda. 

And Belingon is aware of that, too.

“My opponent is not easy, and I am not taking him for granted, which is why I am completely focused on my upcoming bout,” the 30-year-old fighter said.

Chung has compiled five straight victorious outings in his pro career. 

“This is a dangerous game we play, and we cannot underestimate anybody. I need to be at my absolute best so I can turn in another great performance for the fans. Competing in front of my hometown crowd, the pressure is on to score another huge victory,” he said.

Belingon and Chung will tangle on the “Legends of the World” showpiece at the MOA Areana which will be headlined again by Eduard Folayang who will be defending his strap against Martin Nguyen. 

Another Filipino and Team Lakay member in Danny Kingad will share the spotlight when he takes on Adriano Moraes in the co-main event.  — Denison Rey A. Dalupang

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