Honorio “The Rock” Banario is not the type of athlete to back down from a challenge – even if what is standing in front of him happens to be a legend of the sport.
Coming off back-to-back losses in ONE Championship, Banario looks to end his skid at the expense of former ONE Lightweight World Champion Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki in the evening show of ONE: CENTURY on 13 October at the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan.
Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao remains confident in Banario amid his recent struggles. The reason being he believes Banario is more motivated than ever.
While Banario was left distracted with his wife going into labor moments before ONE: DAWN OF HEROES on 2 August, he believes that the Mankayan, Benguet native is ultra-motivated to get back to the winning track.
“It will be a tough fight for Honorio, but his motivation now is his family,” Sangiao said.
“He’s got a newborn son, and he’s got mouths to feed so that’s one key for him to stay motivated.”
Banario lost in the quarterfinals of the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix to Lowen Tynanes before succumbing to Dae Song Park by unanimous decision back in Manila.
On the other hand, Aoki is also reeling off a loss as he dropped the ONE Lightweight World Title to Christian “The Warrior” Lee at ONE: ENTER THE DRAGON last May.
The odds are not entirely in Banario’s favor. But for Sangiao, that is exactly the mentality that they want to eliminate.
If they plan on upsetting Aoki in his hometown, they have to come in with the necessary confidence that can shock the world.
“In his last bout, I am confident that he learned a lot and that he’ll be taking a lot of things into his next match,” Sangiao said.
“It’s tough when you immediately put on your mind that you’re an underdog – that’s dangerous. So the confidence has to be there. He has to come in very confident knowing that he can win.”
Watch ONE Championship’s next event, ONE: IMMORTAL TRIUMPH, on 6 September in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. It will be the organization’s first ever all-Super Series event.