The Benguet warriors of Team Lakay are just waiting for match offers from ONE Championship after announcing the return of its flagship event on July 31.
Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao said the announcement is good news for the team since ONE Championship went on a four-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The last time the team saw action in the Circle was during Honorio Banario’s split decision win over Thai foe Shannon Wiratchai in their closed-doors and audience-free featherweight bout in Singapore last February.
“Syempre sa part ko at tsaka ng mga athletes, masaya,” the 42-year-old Sangiao told Manila Bulletin in a phone interview Tuesday. “Masaya kasi may trabaho na naman.”
Before this writer spoke to Sangiao, the team was actually discussing their plans after training in preparation for a possible return.
“Hopefully, tuloy-tuloy na [at] matagpuan na sana ‘yung vaccine [sa COVID-19] para balik tayo sa normal.”
Strawweight rising star Lito Adiwang, hailing from Dontogan, Baguio City, was the last one to join practice a week ago since the local government unit downgraded the lockdown into Modified General Community Quarantine.
Six athletes, including ONE strawweight champion Joshua Pacio, decided to stay in their gym since the implementation of Enhanced Community Quarantine last March.
Sangiao monitored other fighters who were not able to join regular practice by conducting an online training.
That said, the Team Lakay mentor believes that his stalwarts are ready to fight.
“Noong nagte-training kami kahit lockdown, ‘yung mga boys always ready mga yan,” the champion coach said. “Laging sinasabi [nila sa akin] na ‘sana may laban na next month.’ ‘Yun yung palaging naririnig natin sa kanila.”
ONE founder and chief executive officer Chatri Sitdyodtong, meantime, announced three upcoming events in August, September and October, and will kickstart with “ONE: No Surrender” on July 31.
“Without the extraordinary grit and creativity of my team at ONE Championship, nothing would have been possible,” Sityodtong wrote on Facebook Monday.
“The world is suffering through the worst crisis in 100 years. Most borders are still shut everywhere as COVID-19 continues to ravage the global economy. Thank you to the greatest team in the world for always finding a way!”