Fight shelved but Kingad remains hungry for possible title shot

Published December 2, 2020, 4:06 PM

by Carlo Anolin

Bad news won’t stop Team Lakay’s Danny Kingad to improve his skillset ahead of his postponed match against Kairat Akhmetov of Kazakhstan in ONE Championship.

ONE Championship recently announced that a cornerman from Team Lakay tested positive for COVID-19, prompting the promotion to reschedule the anticipated bout between the two top-ranked flyweights.

Though the Singapore-based mixed martial arts promotion has yet to give out a tentative schedule, Kingad went back to the Central Gym in La Trinidad, Benguet with a fresh mindset.

Due to the positive case, Team Lakay had to tighten its gym protocols which include daily logins, body temperature check, disinfection of the venue itself, proper body sanitization, and wearing of face masks.

Upon learning the news, the famed Benguet MMA stable conducted disinfection in the gym before resuming their daily training.

At least for now, it’s all systems go for Kingad and the rest of the fighters.

“It’s a long, long way na gusto mo siya (Akhmetov) makalaro. [But] then this is the way na i-improve mo ‘yung mga skills mo at panoorin ‘yung mga fights niya at gumawa ng gameplan para if in case man na maglaro kami, ready na talaga,” Kingad told Manila Bulletin Tuesday night.

Echoing the sentiments of coach Mark Sangiao in a previous interview, Kingad also considered his fight against Akhmetov instrumental for a possible title shot.

The 25-year-old Igorot warrior rose to the occasion after a promising performance during the ONE World Flyweight Grand Prix. But after a dominating six-win match streak, Kingad lost to No. 1 contender and former UFC veteran Demetrious Johnson in the final round.

“Mahalaga ito sa akin dahil sa Top 5, siya (Akhmetov) lang ‘yung hindi ko nakalaro,” said the No. 2 Kingad.. “Kaya this is very important sakin kasi if in case matalo ko man siya, I have a chance na makakalaro ‘yung mga champions. Kung sino manalo sa No. 1 at champion.”

Read: Kingad wants quick finish vs Akhmetov

Kingad (14-2) and Akhmetov (33-2) are both in the winning column as the Kazakh fighter rode on a two-match win streak since September 2018 while the Filipino flyweight defeated Chinese opponent Wei Xie last January in ONE: Fire & Fury at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. 

Replacing the flyweight bout is a strawweight clash between Filipino and No. 3 Rene Catalan and undefeated South African Bokang Masunyane in ONE: Big Bang on Dec. 4 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium