Despite missing the opportunity to compete again in the star-studded ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix, former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio “The Rock” Banario is still laser-focused on getting the win at ONE: DAWN OF HEROES in Manila this coming 2 August.
Banario was originally scheduled to face Russian knockout artist Timofey Nastyukhin in the semi-finals of the aforementioned eight-man tournament, but the latter was forced to withdraw from his bracket after he suffered a knee injury.
With the sudden change, the 29-year-old Baguio City native will now be facing South Korean “Crazy Dog” Dae Sung Park, who just came from a knockout win against Kimihiro Eto of Japan at ONE: MASTERS OF DESTINY last Friday, 12 July.
Nevertheless, the Filipino star is unfazed with the changes and is still looking forward to putting an impressive performance as he looks to put his name back to the winning column.
“Before anything else, I’m wishing Timofey Nastyukhin for a fast recovery. I admit, I’m at a loss and I was hoping that they find me a replacement for Timofey but on the bright side, I’m still gonna be competing and I’ll still be part of the Manila card,” said Banario,
“Regardless of the changes, there won’t be a change in my mindset. I missed this opportunity but I know that I will be there, I just need to work harder and take it step by step.”
Training intensively with less than three more weeks to go before his return inside the ONE Circle, Banario also believes that despite the downgrade of his match in Manila, the competition he will be facing is still high-level.
Park, who owns a remarkable win-loss slate of 9-2 is one of the first athletes from Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series to make it to the global stage of ONE Championship. Park, who impressed ONE Warrior Series CEO Rich Franklin with his well-rounded skills, has come from an extensive background in freestyle wrestling.
In his last outing last week, Park scored another dominant TKO win over his fellow ONE Warrior Series alumnus Eto. Both athletes faced each other for the first time last year at ONE Warrior Series Season 1 with the South Korean finishing the contest in just one round also via TKO.
For me, he is a good and complete fighter, but I think I have an edge in striking,” said Banario.
“He also keeps on improving everytime he steps in the ring, so I can’t really see a weakness in his game. I’ll just find out about it when we meet in the middle of the cage,” the 30-year old said.
“There won’t be changes in my training. I’m still focused with all angles in this match, because like Nastyukhin, he’s a complete fighter instead.”
Facing one of the up-and-coming athletes of the stacked 77.1-kilogram weight class, Banario is always open to the idea that an impressive win in Manila could give him the golden ticket to a shot at the ONE Lightweight World Title.
“I’m also hoping for the best. There are many possibilities in that match, and that’s why I’ll do everything to give a good performance and get a win in front of my countrymen.”