By Jerome Lagunzad
For the first time in tournament history, ONE Championship will unveil its new battlefield as fighters will duke it out inside a five-rope ring instead of the steel cage for the “ONE: Heroes of Honor” on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
All of the 11 featured bouts, including those that are officiated under the organization’s Global Rule Set, will be held inside what is fondly called as the “squared circle” in ONE Championship’s 13th trip to the Philippine capital.
Former world title contender Kevin Belingon, who is set to take on American Andrew Leone in the main event, welcomes the promotion’s transition from cage to ring with open arms.
“I was surprised when I found out that my next bout would take place inside the ring. It brings a lot of memories because my first few fights were held inside the ring. I have no problem of competing inside the ring again. I am always ready,” he said.
The Baguio City native also believes he has a bigger chance to force Leone on a stand-up battle under such condition.
“Fighting inside the ring or cage is the same for me. But for sure, I will use my experience inside the ring,” said Belingon, 30. “I will make sure that the action stays at the center of the ring. If it stays there, it will be easier for me to dictate the pace of the bout.
Former ONE featherweight titleholder Honorio Banario, Belingon’s teammate at Team Lakay, admitted that some grappling techniques will be limited inside the ring.