PSA honors ONE Champion Folayang
ONE Championship Lightweight World Champion Eduard Folayang was awarded by the Philippine Sportswriters Association during its Awards Night for Mixed Martial Arts last February 13.
The citation could not have been given to a more humble, down-to-earth man.
Folayang said he is grateful for all the continued recognition he has received from the biggest and oldest fraternity of sportswriters in the country.
He said he was overjoyed after receiving the award. He remembered that he was also recognized by the PSA more than a decade ago for winning medals as a member of the Philippine national team in Wushu. Receiving another award from the PSA more than 10 years later is just proof that one can accomplish anything if he puts his mind to it Folayang said.
During our brief conversation he also said there was no final word yet on his next opponent for the ONE Championship event this coming April here in the Philippines. He however said he that he is open to fighting anybody including brash New Zealand-based Malaysian Ev Ting.
Ting called out Folayang after winning his bout against Kamal Shalorus at the ONE Championship bout in Kuala Lumpura, Malaysia last February 10.
Ting prevailed in a hard-fought bout at catchweight. Shalorus failed to meet the weight limit but the weight advantage he enjoyed didn’t seem to bother Ting.
Ting, also an expert grappler, relied on his lightning quick striking to hammer Shalorus continuously. The bigger, bulkier Shalorus tried to bring Ting to the ground but failed to do so allowing his younger, quicker opponent to take the hard-earned decision.
Inside the ONE cage during his interview Ting immediately addressed Folayang saying he was coming for Folayang’s championship belt.
At the PSA Awards Night that took place at the Le Pavillon, Pasay City I had a brief conversation with Folayang before he received his PSA award.
I told Folayang of Ting’s challenge. Folayang lifted the front of his coat, grabbed his belt, smiled broadly and declared that he can give the leather belt he wore to Ting. But he intends to keep the ONE Championship belt for himself.
We both got a laugh after that remark, had our pictures taken and he headed back to his table.
Folayang may be too humble to brag but I believe that Ting would be no match for the Igorot fighter. Folayang is at his physical prime and at the peak of his fighting prowess.
Folayang would be too strong, too fast and too experienced for Ting. Folayang would also have the advantage of weight, size and strength. Folayang is a natural lightweight while Ting just recently moved up from featherweight.
Both fighters are excellent stand up fighters though. But Folayang’s Wushu training give him the advantage in long distance striking. He is comfortable using his legs and feet as much as his hands.
Finally, Folayang would have the edge in stamina because he doesn’t just train but actually lives in Baguio and benefits from the high altitude which gives him better cardio.
Even Team Lakay founder and Folayang’s trainer Mark Sangiao had said that he wanted Ting as Folayang’s next challenger.
I was at Singapore when Folayang beat Shinya Aoki by TKO at ONE: Defending Honor last year and the among the first questions we asked Sangiao after his fighter’s victory was Folayang’s opponent for his first title defense.
Sangiao, and the whole Team Lakay I suppose, has a bone to pick with Ting who holds a four-fight win streak including victories over Team Lakay fighters Honorio Banario, Edward and Eric Kelly.
Ting has also beaten Filipino fighters Cary Bullos of Seldef MMA and Rolando Gabriel Dy Navarette of Kratos MMA.
Revenge would be a nice underlying theme if Folayang does decide to defend his ONE Championship Lightweight crown against Ting.