Lakay veteran Folayang seeks to end slump in next fight

CURRENTLY riding back-to-back losses, Team Lakay veteran Eduard Folayang seeks to reverse the skid in his next fight in ONE Championship in April. — ONE CHAMPIONSHIP

CURRENTLY riding back-to-back losses, Team Lakay veteran and former two-time lightweight world champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang seeks to reverse the skid in his next fight in ONE Championship next month.

Thirty-seven-year-old Folayang (22-10) is to take on Korean-Japanese star fighter Yoshihiro “Sexyama” Akiyama in a mixed martial arts battle at “ONE on TNT IV” on April 29 (Manila time) at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

The event is the fourth instalment in the “ONE on TNT” event series, which is to be broadcast to American audiences on US prime time via B/R Live and TNT.

Mr. Folayang is coming off losses to Pieter Buist (January 2020) and Antonio Caruso (October) via decisions, derailing his push to climb back in the rankings in the division and possibly position for another go at the title.

Given that, the veteran fighter said he is heading into the Akiyama fight with added determination and wants nothing else but a victory.

“This is a very important battle for me. I didn’t get the results that I wanted in my previous fights, and I wasn’t able to perform the way I wanted. The key to this fight is going to be the preparation. We’re coming up with a solid game plan. He’s (Akiyama) not going to be an easy opponent. But at the same time, I’m confident in my skills. This time, I will aim for a steadfast victory,” said Mr. Folayang in a statement of his upcoming fight.

For further inspiration, Mr. Folayang is turning to the impressive wins of his teammates, namely strawweights Lito “Thunder Kid” Adiwang and Jenelyn Olsim, recently.

“Our victories in the first half of the year have boosted our morale. I, myself, have been inspired by my team’s victories. With our hard work, and discipline, and by the grace of God, 2021 will be a good year for Team Lakay,” he said.

Waiting for Mr. Folayang is 45-year-old Akiyama (15-7-2), who is an Asian Games gold medalist in judo.

The Team Lakay stalwart said the Korean-Japanese fighter brings a new skills set and challenge to him and that he is doing everything he can in training to cover all the bases.

“It is always an honor to share the Circle with legends. It gives me added motivation. Yoshihiro Akiyama is a legend and a veteran of the cage. His name is known throughout the world. This fight excites me because I know I’m going up against a great fighter. I’m working hard to come into the Circle well-conditioned with my mind and body,” said Mr. Folayang.

ONE on TNT IV is headlined by the light heavyweight world championship battle between champion Aung La N Sang of Myanmar and challenger Vitaly Bigdash of Russia. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo