Belin­gon seeks to ex­tend Lakay’s re­match win steak

Sun.Star Baguio - - Front Page - Rod­er­ick Osis

WITH an­other re­match, Team Lakay's Kevin Belin­gon sees the stakes are higher when he goes up against One Cham­pi­onship ban­tamweight world cham­pion Bib­iano Fer­nan­des in their grudge match on Novem­ber 9.

This year, the team have found them­selves in re­matches with cham­pi­onships on the line thrice, and each time, they have come out with gold wrapped around their waists.

Geje Eus­taquio kicked off the year with a re­match against for­mer fly­weight world cham­pion Kairat Akhme­tov in Jan­uary, a do-over of their con­tro­ver­sial 2017 meet­ing that saw Akhme­tov win via split de­ci­sion.

With the in­terim fly­weight world cham­pi­onship on the line in their sec­ond en­counter, Eus­taquio bested Akhme­tov via unan­i­mous de­ci­sion to avenge his 2017 loss, but more im­por­tantly be­come a world cham­pion for the first time.

In June of the same year, Eus­taquio found him­self in yet an­other re­match, this time against then-reign­ing ONE fly­weight world cham­pion Adri­ano Mo­raes in a ti­tle-uni­fi­ca­tion bout.

Again, when it mat­tered most, Eus­taquio pulled out all the stops and out­worked Mo­raes en route to a fiver­ound unan­i­mous de­ci­sion vic­tory to leave Ma­cau, China as the new undis­puted fly­weight king.

“They say vic­tory is sweeter the sec­ond time around,” said Eus­taquio, who has earned the moniker of “The King of the Re­match”, “In my case, I usu­ally per­form bet­ter and come out vic­to­ri­ous in re­matches be­cause I’ve al­ready got­ten a feel for my op­po­nent.”

“I also be­lieve that my de­vel­op­ment is faster than that of my op­po­nent, which is why I out­per­form them when we share the cage again,” he added.

The fly­weight star has won all three of his ca­reer re­matches so far, in­clud­ing one nonBONTOC,

ti­tle re­match against Thai­land’s Anat­pong Bun­rad.

But it is not just Eus­taquio who has found suc­cess the sec­ond time around.

Just re­cently in Jakarta, In­done­sia, strawweight star Joshua Pa­cio tri­umphantly avenged the first loss of his ca­reer by edg­ing out Ja­panese grap­pling sen­sa­tion Yoshi­taka Naito via unan­i­mous de­ci­sion af­ter five rounds to be crowned the new ONE strawweight world cham­pion.

It was a re­match of their 2016 en­counter for the strawweight ti­tle, which re­sulted in a third-round sub­mis­sion win for Naito.

Hop­ing to fol­low in his team­mates’ foot­steps, Belin­gon also is de­ter­mined to even the score with Fer­nan­des, who was dom­i­nant in their first en­counter back in 2016.

“I am su­per ex­cited.

Fi­nally the long wait is over, and now I’m fight­ing Bib­iano Fer­nan­des for the undis­puted ban­tamweight ti­tle. Ever since the night I lost to him the first time in China, this mo­ment has been all that I have looked for­ward to,” Belin­gon ex­pressed.

Photo by Jean Ni­cole Cortes

FO­CUSED. One Cham­pi­onship in­terim ban­tamweight cham­pion Kevin Belin­gon goes for the jugu­lar when he goes up against Bib­iano Fer­nan­des in their highly an­tic­i­pated re­match on Novem­ber 9.

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