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ONE Championship: Perfect 2018 ending for Banario

Coming from a tough loss back in September, former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio “The Rock” Banario believes that his impressive victory over Indian stalwart Rahul “The Kerala Krusher” Raju was the best way to end the year — on a high note.

In a catchweight contest on the main card of ONE: CONQUEST OF CHAMPIONS at the Mall of Asia Arena last Friday, 23 November, Banario dominated his Indian foe through all three rounds en route to a unanimous decision victory.

The win brought Banario back to the winner’s circle while improving his win-loss slate to 14-7. But more importantly, it gave the Filipino ring warrior the proper momentum heading into what appears to be a more challenging 2019.

“That victory was the perfect way for me to end the year right. I split my previous two matches this year, and I told myself that I won’t be on the losing end again, especially that I would be performing in front of a passionate Manila crowd. They gave me an extra boost of strength which helped me to secure the victory,” he said.

“There was a moment in my career where I lost five-straight times inside the cage, and I don’t want to be in that situation again. I want to show the fans that I improve every time I compete, and I want to give them a good show.”

“I’m happy to end the year with a win and very excited with the new challenges coming up next year. 2019 is shaping up to be the biggest year in ONE Championship history with the addition of Eddie Alvarez and Demetrious Johnson as well as with the announcement of the Grand Prix,” he added.

Heading into 2019, Banario is aware that everyone in his weight class is trying to upgrade their arsenal and vying for their spot after ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong made the announcement of the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix a few weeks ago.

Banario takes the announcement with extra motivation for him to challenge himself to become a better athlete and to redeem his status as one of the most exciting lightweights in the world.

“I look forward to the new challenges that await me next year, it gives me more reasons to train harder every day. Lightweight is one of the deepest divisions in the organization and there are so many great guys all wanting to get to the top. I have to keep winning so I can stay in the mix,” he said.