No less than Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao and famed Benguet stable Team Lakay showed support for compatriot Brandon Vera ahead of his ONE world title defense against Arjan Bhullar.
“Carry the Flag with Pride. I and the rest of the Philippines are behind you,” wrote Pacquiao on his Instagram Story with the hashtags #PinoyPride and #PusongPinoy.
Team Lakay coach Mark Sangiao, Joshua Pacio, and Stephen Loman also thew their support to Vera in separate videos.
Vera is set to make his comeback in the Circle against Bhullar, a former Olympic wrestler and UFC fighter, in ONE: Dangal at the Singapore Indoor Stadium tonight, May 15.
This will be Vera’s third title defense since capturing the heavyweight belt over Paul Cheng last December 2015.
Since then, the 43-year-old Vera had defended the title twice against Hideki Sekine and Mauro Cerilli in December 2016 and November 2018 respectively.
His lone promotional loss came when he tried his gears in the middleweight division in ONE: Century II last October 2019 and yielded to former two-division world champion Aung La N Sang, who eventually became his training partner during a training camp at Florida-based stable Sanford MMA.
In Sanford MMA, Vera, who holds a 16-8 record, tried to improve his kickboxing prowess with the help of coach Henri Hooft.
Against Bhullar, Vera will face a versatile fighter with heavy-handed punches and swift wrestling prowess who owns a 10-1 record.
Bhullar, 35, also defeated Cerilli via unanimous decision in his ONE debut in ONE: Century II as well.