Four Pinoy fighters look to make World Lethwei splash
Ariel Lampacan (R)
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Four Pinoy fighters look to make World Lethwei splash

Rick Olivares (Philstar.com) - November 25, 2020 - 2:12pm

MANILA, Philippines — The World Lethwei Championship is looking to expand globally and in the Philippines with four homegrown sons ready to showcase their fighting skills.

Jean Claude Saclag, Ariel Lee Lampacan, Ryan Jakiri and Fritz Biagtan are ready to represent the country in the fastest growing mixed martial arts competition in the world — WLC.
 
“The Philippines is a hotbed for combat sports and the fans are some of the most passionate in the world,” said Gerald Ng, WLC’s chief executive officer who is a frequent Manila visitor. “Filipino combat sports athletes have all the skills to translate well into Lethwei, and I truly believe that there could be a Filipino world champion in Lethwei in the near future.”

Ng believes that Saclag, Lampacan, Jakiri and Biagtan could create a huge impact as part of the growing WLC roster.

Saclag won the silver medal in wushu during the 2014 Asian Games and was one of the many combat sports athletes who turned heads in the recently concluded 2019 Southeast Asian Games where he emerged victorious in the finals of the men’s 63.5-kilogram low kick tournament by defeating Malaysia’s “Jordan Boy” Mohammed Bin Mahmoud.

The Team Lakay member nearly finished off his foe in the second round when he uncorked a perfectly-executed sidekick to the midsection. Although Mahmoud miraculously survived the onslaught, the punishment continued in the third and last round, putting him on the receiving end of more harrowing blows.

If his emphatic SEA Games performance was any indication, he could transform into a lethal weapon on the Lethwei stage.

Lampacan hails from the province of Benguet where the fabled Team Lakay is based, immersed himself into martial arts at the age of 14. It only took him less than 12 months to be hailed as the best junior Muay Thai practitioner at the 2013 Batang Pinoy.

Lampacan’s upward swing caught the attention of Billy Alumno and the Muay Association of the Philippines. As part of the national team, he represented the country in various international tournaments like the 2019 SEA Games.He edged out Thailand's Sakchai Chamchi, 29-28, to nab the gold medal in the 54-kilogram category.

Apart from his remarkable standing in Muay Thai, Lampacan also owns an impressive mixed martial arts (MMA) record of 4-1 as part of the Universal Reality Combat Championship (URCC).

Jakiri goes by the moniker “Filipino Assassin” due to his calculated but aggressive offense. That has enabled him to cop the title of a six-time Philippine national Muay Thai champion.

He is remembered for his highlight-reel victory under the Kunlun Fight banner in April 2014 when he made quick work of former OPBF Intercontinental titlist Ou Yang. He knocked his Chinese opponent out cold with a high kick and a follow-up overhand right in the first round.

He also brought home a silver-medal in the 2019 SEA Games.

Lastly, Fritz Biagtan is an up and coming fighter with tremendous potential. 

At only 25, he won the URCC straw weight title in just his third MMA fight as a pro.

Biagtan successfully defended the belt against compatriot Solomon Dultra via third-round technical knockout in August 2017 before he relinquished it to Anthony Do via submission a year later.

He laced up a pair of eight-ounce gloves at Rizin 15 in April 2019, squaring off with Japanese kickboxing phenom Tenshin Nasukawa in a losing effort. Meanwhile, Biagtan likewise dabbled in boxing, effortlessly putting away Uzbekistan’s Shekhnazar Yusubov in the second round of their March 2018 bout.

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