Eduard Folayang of Team Lakay had just embarked on another road to the top in ONE Championship.
Folayang takes on Australian foe Antonio Caruso on October 30 in ONE: Inside the Matrix in a closed-door and audience-free setup in Singapore.
Holding the event in Singapore is a very important factor, said Folayang, considering that he captured the lightweight belt in the said country for the first time in 2016.
“Bagong part ng journey natin. Another chapter lang,” said the 35-year-old Folayang in Tuesday’s virtual session of the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum. “It always starts in Singapore, and here we are again.”
The two-time lightweight champion, however, needs to make huge adjustments since most events were jam-packed with loud spectators before the coronavirus era. For safety purposes and due to health protocols, ONE Championship needed to convert in a closed-door setup since February.
“Nasanay tayo sa maingay na laban and intensity nung cheering nung mga nagsisigawaan doon… I think parang training, parang sparring siguro [‘yung pakiramdam],” said the Team Lakay veteran, who suffered defeat in his last fight against Dutchman Pieter Buist at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay last January.
Team Lakay coach Mark Sangiao said this has to be the longest training span they have encountered since Folayang, holding a 22-9 record, had prepared for this comeback for nine long months.
The multi-titled coach stressed that the next bout is a must-win for Folayang, who already lost three of his last four fights since last year. But for as long as he sees the passion in Folayang, the chances of getting another title shot is in the offing.
“This is very important to Eduard’s career kasi heto ‘yung magle-lead sa kanya to be on top again,” said the 41-year-old Sangiao.
Folayang and Sangiao, who both tested negative in the latest COVID-19 swab tests, are finalizing their documents and medical requirements to be submitted to the Games and Amusements Board.
Once given the green light, the two will be flying to Singapore Wednesday midnight and will undergo a mandatory 48-hour quarantine upon arrival.
“Sa preparation na lang siguro, two weeks pa bago ‘yung competition. Marami pa tayong pagdadaanan doon hanggang sa mapunta sa competition day,” added Sangiao.