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ONE Championship: Filipino strawweight Ramon Gonzales off ONE: Dreams of Gold in Bangkok

Filipino strawweight contender Ramon "The Bicolano" Gonzales will no longer be competing at ONE: Dreams of Gold in Bangkok, Thailand this Friday, August 16th.  According to ONE Championship, Gonzales failed the Weight and Hydration process resulting in the cancellation of his card-opening bout against China's Hexigetu.  Gonzales was able to make weight, coming in at the strawwweight limit of 57.6-kilograms, but was unable to reach the needed hydration value to be cleared to compete. Gonzales, who is currently 3-1 under the Singapore-based martial arts promotion, is currently riding an impressive three-bout winning streak, with all of the wins coming via submission first-round submission.  The Pinoy was targeting his fourth-straight win against a tough test in Hexigetu.  ONE: Dreams of Gold will be headlined by a ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Championship bout between champion Petchdam "The Baby Shark" Petchyindee Academy of Thailand and challenger Ilias Ennahachi of the Netherlands.  In the co-main event, Thailand's 'Smokin' Jo Nattawut meets Giorgio "The Doctor" Petrosyan in a ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix semi-final bout.  Also on the card, reigning two-sport world champion Stamp Fairtex makes her return to mixed martial arts to welcome Indian prospect Asha "The Knockout Queen" Roka.    Catch ONE: Dreams of Gold LIVE on Friday, August 16th at 9:30 PM on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23! .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 16th, 2019

ONE Championship: Pinoy Ramon Gonzales targets fourth-straight win at ONE: DREAMS OF GOLD

Ramon “The Bicolano” Gonzales looks to leave a bigger dent in the stacked strawweight division in his next appearance inside the ONE Championship ring. The Filipino National Kyokushin Karate Champion will take on “Wolf of the Grasslands” Hexigetu at ONE: DREAMS OF GOLD on Friday, 16 August at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand. Currently on a three-bout winning streak all by way of first-round submission, “The Bicolano” is ready to climb the ladder anew in the hopes of getting a crack at the ONE Strawweight World Title, which is currently held by his compatriot Joshua “The Passion” Pacio. “I’m certainly ready for Friday. I’m ready to display more innovation and improvement from what I can do. Of course, there’s still my striking,” Gonzales said. “I’ve been focusing on everything, from my striking, which is Kyokushin, to my ground game. I know that a win could push me further up the rankings. But on top of that, my main goal for every match is to win and learn.” In the hopes to finally make a splash in his weight class, Gonzales says he has stepped up his training camp in preparation for Hexigetu. “This is one of the best training camps I’ve had. Everyone in the gym helped me out with the challenge I’m facing in Bangkok,” he said. “I am eager and much more determined for this coming Friday. This is for everyone who believes in me.” His game plan is simple - get in the ring and showcase his renowned striking and improved well-roundedness as a mixed martial artist. “Our game plan is to give my all thru striking and the ground. Wherever this match goes, I am ready, and I will give my best,” Gonzales shared. “I know how dangerous of an opponent Hexigetu is, and I have no plans of getting complacent.” Eager to prove himself on the global stage, the Filipino athlete said that he remains as hungry as ever, even after winning three straight matches. “I remain focused in training even on match week. I am excited and challenged for my next fight because this is another opportunity for me.” Tune in to watch ONE Championship’s next event, ONE: DREAMS OF GOLD, this Friday, 16 August. The main card airs live on ABS-CBN S+A at 9:30pm PHT. To catch the prelims, tune in to ONE’s Facebook and Twitter pages at 6:00pm PHT.   More from ONE Championship: Ramon Gonzales Aims To Continue Life-Changing Winning Streak In Bangkok Ramon Gonzales Thrills Manila With 79-Second Submission Ramon Gonzales Opens The Show With Crushing First-Round Choke      .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 14th, 2019

ONE Championship: After disappointing night in Manila, it’s back to the drawing board again for Team Lakay

ONE Championship’s third trip to Manila for 2019, ONE: Dawn of Heroes which was held last August 2nd at the Mall of Asia Arena, was tagged as the biggest martial arts event in Philippine history.    With fans packing the stadium, it was the perfect platform for La Trinidad-based mixed martial arts stable Team Lakay to showcase their talents in front of what could possibly be the biggest ONE crowd in Manila.    Unfortunately for Team Lakay, ONE: Dawn of Heroes would prove to be an unfavorable night for the most part.    “1 and 4,” said Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao during the post-event press conference. “One win and four losses, but again, it’s not the first time that we’ve experienced a case like this. We’ve gone 0-5, and again, we learned a lot of lessons from tonight, and we’ll be back to the drawing board. We’ll go back to the hotel and discuss what happened.”   The preliminary card was nothing short of a disaster for Team Lakay, as former champions Geje Eustaquio and Honorio Banario, and featherweight contender Edward Kelly all absorbed painful losses.    Kelly, who was the first on deck, fell victim to unintentional illegal blows to the back of the head at the hands of Chinese contender Xie Bin, rendering him unable to continue. With the bout already past the halfway point when the infraction occurred, a technical decision needed to be made, and it went in favor of Xie, who had been dominating Kelly all throughout the first one-and-a-half rounds.    Hoping to right the ship and get himself back on track as well was former ONE Featherweight World Champion Banario, who took on a short-notice replacement in South Korean Dae Sung Park. Banario was originally slated to face Russian Timofey Nastyukhin, but instead went to the prelims after Nastyukhin needed to pull out due to an injury.    Banario found himself in trouble early on after getting rocked with a left high kick and an elbow, but was able to survive and make things competitive for the rest of the bout. Banario had his moments, but it was Park who was in control for the better part of the three-round bout, leading to a unanimous decision win.    “Siguro the lesson I learned in this fight is I need to train more,” a dejected Banario said during the post-fight presser. “I gave everything in the fight, but it wasn’t my night, so I think the next time, I need to train more and improve my game.”    With the loss, Banario is now riding a two-fight losing streak, and while he admitted that the short-notice opponent change may have thrown him off his game for a bit, “The Rock” offered up no excuses for the defeat.    “Just a little bit, because my opponent changed to a southpaw, I tried to adapt for three weeks, but there’s no excuses. I lost the fight and [I need] to go back to the drawing board,” he said.    Hoping to be able to end the slump was former ONE Flyweight World Champion Eustaquio, who was coming off a bounce-back win back in Singapore. Against a heavy-handed Japanese striker in Yuya Wakamatsu, Eustaquio was hoping to get a win and throw himself back into title contention. Instead, Wakamatsu had other plans, as he landed a stiff right straight that knocked Eustaquio out in the first round.   It was Eustaquio’s first loss via knockout.    “Things happen, you know? In this level of competition, it’s either you get knocked out or you will knock him out. It’s just that tonight was not my night. I hope, and I believe that this is going to be a big stepping stone for me to become a better athlete,” he said.    In what was Team Lakay’s main event for the night, former two-time ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard Folayang faced arguably his toughest challenge yet in former UFC and Bellator Lightweight World Champion Eddie Alvarez in a ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix semifinal bout.    Folayang appeared to be within moments of victory after chopping Alvarez down with a vicious leg kick and pouncing on the grounded American.    Over-aggression led to a bit of carelessness for Folayang as he found himself getting reversed as he was looking to finish Alvarez off.    With the American star now in dominant position, it was only a matter of moments before he managed to impose his superior grappling and submitted the Filipino hero with a Rear Naked Choke just a little over two minutes into the opening round.   “I think, for Eduard in this fight, the major lesson that we learned is that ‘Don’t rush. We’re winning.’ I thought we won already, but because of small details, we’re in the [world-class] calibre, so small details will finish everything and lose the fight, so next time, we’ll be cautious,” Sangiao said of Folayang’s loss.    The lone bright spot for the team was their youngest Lakay in Danny Kingad, who rallied back to defeat Reece McLaren in their ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix semifinal bout. With the win, Kingad advances to the Finals to face American MMA icon and former long-time UFC Flyweight king Demetrious Johnson, who was also victorious that night against Japanese contender Tatsumitsu Wada.    Kingad and Johnson are set to square off at ONE: Century in Tokyo, Japan this October.    As Coach Mark said, this isn’t the first time that Team Lakay has felt disappointment in Manila. In fact, they have gone worse.    Back in 2013, Team Lakay went 0-5, with Folayang, Eustaquio, and Banario and Kevin Belingon all suffering losses that night in Manila.    But following the downs are usually ups, and Team Lakay has had their share of ups as well since then. They have gotten quite a few clean sweeps and even ended 2018 with four world championships, which means that all is not lost for the Igorot warriors, and Sangiao is confident that his team will regain their glory in the future.    “As I’ve said, this isn’t the first time that we’ve experienced cases like this. Before, we experienced going 0-5, and now we will be back again, and I know that they will be back stronger and better.”   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 3rd, 2019

ONE Championship: Martin Nguyen reigns supreme at ONE: Dawn of Heroes in Manila

2 August 2019 – Manila, Philippines: The largest global sports media property in Asian history, ONE Championship™ (ONE), returned to a packed Mall of Asia Arena in Manila for the biggest martial arts event in Philippine history with ONE: DAWN OF HEROES. Once again, the finest martial arts talent in the world came out to showcase their incredible skills. In the main event, Martin Nguyen retained his ONE Featherweight World Championship with a technical knockout victory over Koyomi Matsushima. In the co-main event, Rodtang Jitmuangnon captured the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Championship with a unanimous decision victory over Jonathan Haggerty. In the main event, Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen of Australia and Vietnam continued his reign over the featherweight division with a second-round technical knockout victory over Japanese challenger Koyomi “Moushigo” Matsushima to retain the ONE Featherweight World Championship. Matsushima put the pressure on Nguyen early in the opening round with his solid ground game. The champion was able to make the necessary adjustments in the second round, however, as he picked apart a tired Matsushima with a barrage of strikes to get the stoppage win and successfully defend his title for a third time.  In the co-main event, Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon of Thailand dethroned English striking sensation Jonathan “The General” Haggerty via unanimous decision to become the new ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion. Haggerty utilized his length in the early going, using front kicks to keep the challenger at bay. Rodtang picked up steam in the succeeding rounds and managed to drop Haggerty twice. After five rounds of explosive action, it was Rodtang who walked away with the victory and the prestigious ONE World Title.  In the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix Semi-finals, Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez of the United States recorded his first victory under the ONE banner with a rear naked choke of former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang of the Philippines. Folayang attacked Alvarez with a blitz of strikes to open the contest and a low kick brought “The Underground King” to the mat. Alvarez, however, was able to sweep Folayang to wind up in mount. From there, Alvarez took Folayang’s back, fished for the submission, and forced the tap. In the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix Semi-finals, Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson of the United States outlasted Tatsumitsu “The Sweeper” Wada of Japan to take home a three-round unanimous decision. After a brief exchange on the feet in the first round, Wada was able to take Johnson to the mat and secure his back. Johnson however defended very well. Action continued in the second round with Johnson dominating the grappling exchanges. In the third and final round, Johnson appeared to have Wada figured out and took control of the bout to cruise to a unanimous decision victory. Filipino flyweight star Danny “The King” Kingad secured his spot in the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix Finals with a split decision win over Australian Reece “Lightning” McLaren. Kingad survived a number of precarious situations in the first two rounds to rally back in the final round. In the last two minutes of the bout, Kingad dominated a fading McLaren as he was able to land a couple of takedowns and unload some ground-and-pound to swing the decision in his favor. Kingad is now one win away from becoming the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix Champion. Muay Thai star Rodlek PK.Saenchaimuaythaigym of Thailand opened the main card in spectacular fashion with a third round knockout victory over Andrew “Maddog Fairtex” Miller of Scotland. Rodlek overcame Miller’s significant height and reach advantage as he outstruck his foe in the first two rounds of action. In the opening minute of the final round, Rodlek dropped Miller with a short right elbow followed by a knee to score the stoppage win. Japanese flyweight Yuya “Little Piranha” Wakamatsu captured his first win under the ONE banner in highlight-reel fashion with a first round knockout of former ONE Flyweight World Champion Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio of the Philippines. The heavy-handed Wakamatsu timed his shot, found the opening and unloaded a solid straight right hand that had Eustaquio out before hitting the canvas. Wakamatsu followed up with a few more shots before the referee stepped in to stop the bout. In a lightweight contest, South Korea’s “Crazy Dog” Dae Sung Park overwhelmed former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio “The Rock” Banario of the Philippines over three rounds. Park came out firing powerful combinations and actively pursuing the takedown in the first round. He dropped Banario with a head kick and followed him to the mat for some ground-and-pound nearly finishing the Filipino. Banario survived and came back with a flurry of his own, sending Park reeling towards the ropes. Park rocked Banario again in the third with a high kick, which “The Rock” again recovered well from. In the end, all three ringside judges scored the bout in favor of Park to  win by unanimous decision. Japan’s Daichi Takenaka and Brazil’s Leandro “Brodinho” Issa figured in an epic back-and-forth battle in a bantamweight contest. Takenaka and Issa began the bout testing each other’s grappling skills, with both men taking turns in dominant positions. As the bout wore on however, action shifted to the feet and Takenaka began to pull away with superior striking. After a right hand put Issa down in the third, Takenaka followed up with a plethora of punches on the ground to force the stoppage. American top welterweight contender James “Nako” Nakashima put together a well-rounded performance, defeating Japanese mixed martial arts legend Yushin “Thunder” Okami. Nakashima came out to a fast and aggressive start, taking the action right to Okami in the opening moments of the contest. For three full rounds, Nakashima got the better of Okami in the striking and grappling departments. In the end, all three judges scored the bout in favor of Nakashima to win by unanimous decision. In a featherweight contest, China’s “The Stalker” Xie Bin took on the Philippines’ Edward “The Ferocious” Kelly. However, after an unfortunate halt to the bout in round two, Xie was awarded a technical decision victory over the Filipino. China’s Miao Li Tao was impressive in his return to the ring, defeating Thailand’s Pongsiri “The Smiling Assassin” Mitsatit via unanimous decision. Miao was in control from the get-go as he took Mitsatit down and controlled him on the mat for the majority of the three-round contest. Mitsatit had no answer for Miao’s aggressive and powerful grappling as the Chinese warrior coasted to a convincing decision win. Japanese women’s strawweight contender Ayaka Miura continued to roll in her ONE Championship career, defeating former World Title challenger Samara “Marituba” Santos of Brazil with an Americana submission in the second round. Miura bucked a slow start in the opening round and displayed her superior grappling in the second round by taking Santos down and locking in the Americana in just 39 seconds. Malaysia’s Muhammad “Jungle Cat” Aiman kicked off the action at ONE: DAWN OF HEROES with a unanimous decision victory over Indonesian veteran “The Terminator” Sunoto. Aiman remained a step ahead throughout the three-round bout as he outstruck and outgrappled Sunoto to walk away with the curtain-raising win. Official results for ONE: DAWN OF HEROES ONE Featherweight World Championship bout: Martin Nguyen defeats Koyomi Matsushima by TKO (Strikes) at 4:40 minutes of round 2 ONE Super Series Flyweight Muay Thai World Championship bout: Rodtang Jitmuangnon defeats Jonathan Haggerty by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 5 rounds ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix Semi-final bout: Eddie Alvarez defeats Eduard Folayang by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 2:16 minutes of round 1 ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix Semi-final bout: Demetrious Johnson defeats Tatsumitsu Wada by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix Semi-final bout: Danny Kingad defeats Reece McLaren by Split Decision (SD) after 3 rounds ONE Super Series Muay Thai Bantamweight bout: Rodlek PK.Saenchaimuaythaigym defeats Andrew Miller by Knockout (KO) at 0:49 minutes of round 3 Mixed Martial Arts Flyweight bout: Yuya Wakamatsu defeats Geje Eustaquio by Knockout (KO) at 1:59 minutes of round 1 Mixed Martial Arts Lightweight bout: Dae Sung Park defeats Honorio Banario by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Bantamweight bout: Daichi Takenaka defeats Leandro Issa by TKO (Strikes) at 1:39 minutes of round 3 Mixed Martial Arts Welterweight bout: James Nakashima defeats Yushin Okami by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Featherweight bout: Xie Bin defeats Edward Kelly by Technical Decision (TD) Mixed Martial Arts Catchweight bout (57.0kg): Miao Li Tao defeats Pongsiri Mitsatit by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Women’s Strawweight bout: Ayaka Miura defeats Samara Santos by Submission (Americana) at 0:39  minutes of round 2 Mixed Martial Arts Bantamweight bout: Muhammad Aiman defeats Sunoto by Unanimous Decision at after 3 rounds.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 3rd, 2019

Team Lakay s Gina Iniong and Joshua Pacio: Two paths, one goal

Lakay. It is the Ilocano word for old man.   But when you go up to Baguio, it has an altogether different meaning. You cannot miss that word when you drive down Benguet road, on a nifty sign attached to a normal-looking office building: Team Lakay.   The home of the best Philippine mixed martial arts team in history. Almost all of the big names local fight fans have come to cheer and love as our modern-day heroes trace their roots to the relatively small, packed training room down Benguet road, where mats are soaked with the sweat of the fighters.   Eduard Folayang, Kevin Belingon, Geje Eustaquio, Honorio Banario, Rey Docyogen, Roldan Sangcha-an, and Mark Eddiva are all hallowed names in the annals of Philippine mixed martial arts, disciples of Mark “The Machine” Sangiao, who established, and groomed Team Lakay to the fearsome fighting factory that it is today.   While all the names above have ensconced themselves on pedestals, Team Lakay’s pipeline includes two more who have been fighting for recognition in recent fights: lone female fighter Gina Iniong, and ONE’s current Strawweight lynchpin and youngest champion, Joshua Pacio.   Both fighters may have started their professional fighting careers for different reasons, but Iniong and Pacio still have a lot to offer and prove for mixed martial arts in the country and in the international stage, such as being prominent fighters in the prestigious cage of ONE Championship.   CHANCE OF A LIFETIME   Gina, the first female Filipino mixed martial artist to fight and win abroad, started boxing back in high school as part of her after-school activities. When she was about to graduate, she actively sought scholarships in order to finish her education. One such opportunity presented itself in the form of an athletic scholarship, concentrating on the martial art of Wushu, which has a huge following in her hometown of Baguio City, with the University of the Cordilleras having a team of its own.   “Our former boxing coach, who was a former student of Coach Mark (Sangiao), approached me one day, telling me to join the upcoming wushu competition then for the college scholarship. So I joined it, and took a chance,” Iniong shared, recounting how she got into the world of combat sports as a young lady.   However, it was too good to be true, as she had to hurdle quite a huge problem if she wants that scholarship: a fight record. Sangiao told the young Iniong it would be difficult to get her a scholarship if she does not have a record to show in active combat in Wushu.   “I was lucky because there was a Wushu National Games here in Manila and we immediately went down and made our way there. Thankfully, I got the gold after the competition, and that paved the way for my scholarship,” said Iniong.   From there, the “Conviction” was born. After competing in numerous Wushu tournaments, Iniong finally caught the eye of Sangiao, who decided to take her under his wings and train her to be his female version inside the MMA cage.   After debuting in the Universal Reality Combat Championship in 2010, Iniong hasn’t looked back in the 12 bouts she has figured in, compiling a professional record of 8-4.  As the lone female representative of the most-successful mixed martial arts team in the Philippines, she has displayed that trademark fearsome striking prowess of fighters coming from the Lakay camp.   When asked about the fact that she is one of the only five Filipinas making the country proud inside the ONE cage, the 29-year old’s face lit up, in disbelief, in honor, in humility, for she cannot believe it herself.   “I’m very proud, and humbled, of the fact that I am the lone female fighter representing Team Lakay in ONE Championship. Many very skilled female fighters dream of being part of ONE Championship, and fight under Team Lakay, yet I am the one that Coach Mark has seen with the most potential to carry the flag inside the cage,” she said.   However, what drives Gina to fight, and it has been a well-known fact, is her mother, diagnosed with a stage 5 chronic kidney disease. In her fight against Jihin Radzuan last February, Iniong dedicated the fight to her mother, who to this day, is scared of seeing her daughter mix it up in the ring.   “To this day, she hasn’t watched me fight live, not even on TV because she is quite the nervous person, and she would only watch if she knew I won, during replays. She is very unlike my dad, who has fully supported my life as an athlete, after being a boxer himself in his younger days,” she shared.   CHALLENGE ACCEPTED   Joshua “The Passion” Pacio never intended to make mixed martial arts fighting a career growing up. The 23-year old fighter deemed it impossible back then, to reach a stage as huge as ONE Championship, due to the excellence of the fighters that he used to watch with his uncle through videos.   Add to the fact that Pacio was overweight. Obese, specifically. It made it all the more difficult for the kid to follow his dream and passion to be a fighter.   It all changed when his uncle started training him in Muay Thai, the art of the eight limbs that originated from Thailand, and considered one of the deadliest forms of combat striking. It started out as training just for fitness, but as if seeing a tiny ray of light in a dark tunnel, Pacio wanted more.   “At first, it was only for fitness, with my uncle training me, and watching videos of various MMA fights, which really inspired me to push myself harder. I really wanted to test myself, compete with the best, and it all seemed impossible when I was out of shape. My uncle really pushed me starting with Muay Thai. I started competing a few months after that, but I suffered defeat after defeat in amateur competitions. I questioned myself why I still trained afterwards. But at the same time, that’s when I realized that this is really my passion, that even if I lost my last fight,” shared the ONE Championship Strawweight king, who has not looked back since then.   “The goal for me has ever been to prove to myself that I have improved in skills, and be the best fighter I can be,” Pacio added.   He made his ONE debut three years ago, finally fulfilling his lifelong dream of professional mixed martial arts, facing a more experienced Filipino fighter in Robin Catalan at the age of 20, one of the youngest to enter ONE’s cage.   “Before I got to represent Team Lakay in ONE Championship, the roster spot was actually up for grabs. Fighters of the team figured in a Team Lakay Championship, a grand-prix style tournament within the team, for the ONE Championship contract. I fought twice victoriously in one night to get it. Two weeks later, with a ONE Championship event in Manila, that’s when I found out I am making my professional debut,” said an astounded Pacio.   Everything about the man they call “The Passion” has been hard earned. He finally tasted gold last 2018 when he decisioned the famed Yoshitaka Naito, a Japanese ground and wrestling master that forced Pacio to tap via a rear-naked choke when they first met. Facing, and losing to Naito, according to Pacio, was a revelation that he has to improve his overall skills, especially his ground game in order to play with the big boys of the cage.   Striking will definitely get you somewhere, as is with Pacio’s base as a martial artist, but one has to have more tricks up his sleeve when they aspire for the pinnacle of the competition. Joshua came back with a vengeance in 2018 to show “Nobita” that “The Passion” is no longer the young kid who will be submitted easily.   However, 2019 did not start of great for Pacio and Team Lakay, after he lost the belt in January to Naito’s contemporary in Yosuke “Tobizaru” Saruta in a questionable split decision. But that did not deter the young man, who has made it his personal goal to continue improving and treat each loss as a lesson, in ONE Championship’s “Roots of Honor” fight card, where he faced Saruta once more.   This time, in front of a racous Filipino crowd inside the Mall of Asia Arena, Pacio did not let the judges’ cards decide as he detonated a right knee to the side of Saruta’s head late in the fourth round to reclaim his throne. The dreaded Team Lakay striking power knocked the lights out from the Japanese fighter as Baguio’s young lion let out a furious roar to celebrate his redemption.   TWO PATHS, ONE GOAL   One did it for education, the other for health. Nowadays, however, MMA means more to Iniong and Pacio than just a stepping stone to something else. It is their passion, their advocacy, their bread and butter.   They continue to grind each day, waiting for another opportunity to show what they got and get the win, not just for personal glory, but also for the country and their family.   Inspired by her ailing mother, the “Conviction” promises to keep her current winning streak up despite being up against a formidable foe in her next match. After tasting defeat from Brazilian Istela Nunes, Iniong bounced back with a split decision over Radzuan last February to get herself back on track. Right now, Gina has one thing in mind with their goal: chase that ONE Women’s Atomweight division title, currently held by Angela Lee, and become the Philippines’ very first female ONE world champion.   However, Iniong acknowledges that the path towards the gold may not be easy, as she is currently eyeing a rematch with Japanese tormentor Mei Yamaguchi, the number one-ranked Atomweight fighter whom she has fought with twice, in order to settle who the rightful challenger to Lee’s belt is.   “Everyone has gotten belts. My big brothers in the team have tasted championship. I felt jealous because I do not have a belt, and lost my fight that would have given me a title shot. This time, I will make sure that I will do my best to secure a title fight,” rued Iniong in a previous interview with ONE Championship prior to fighting Radzuan.   While Iniong wants hit paydirt, it’s all about keeping the belt on his waist for Pacio, the reigning ONE Strawweight champion. His most probable foe is his nemesis Yoshitaka Naito who he does not have a problem with facing for the third time.   “I really want to prove I am the champion, and if it’s by facing him (Naito), so be it. I also want to prove that I have greatly improved as well from the last time we fought,” he shared.   While Iniong and Pacio await their next fighting assignment, their teammates are in the thick of training for the upcoming “Dawn of Heroes” megafight card happening on August 2 at the Mall of Asia Arena. It features Team Lakay members, led by Edward “Landslide” Folayang, Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio, and Danny “The King” Kingad, who will face the best of the world as represented by Eddie Alvarez, Reece McLaren, and Yuya Wakamatsu.   The entire country will be cheering on them as the whole world watches. And maybe somehow, somewhere there will be new blood encouraged and inspired by them to take on the challenge of continuing the legacy of the nation’s best fighting team alongside Iniong and Pacio.   After all, Sangiao did not establish Team Lakay just to be some Bagiuo-based fitness gym down Benguet road. He made Team Lakay to provide a home, a family, for young Filipinos who have the heart to fight for their dream, their family, and the country.     Watch “ONE: Dawn of Heroes” on August 2 at the Mall of Asia Arena, to be broadcast LIVE on ABS-CBN S+A and S+A HD with livestreaming on iWant for all the Pinoy fight fans to see. For more stories and news one ONE Championship, follow @ABSCBNSports on Twitter and Facebook or visit sports.abs-cbn.com. For updates, follow @ABSCBNPR on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram or visit www.abs-cbn.com/newsroom......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 18th, 2019

NCAA 95: Will third time be the charm for TY Tang-coached CSB?

HOW’D THEY DO LAST SEASON? 10-8, 5th YES, THEY’RE STILL HERE: Kendrix Belgica, Justin Gutang, Yankie Haruna, Clement Leutcheu, Unique Naboa WELCOME TO THE FAMILY: Ladis Lepalam, Mark Sangco GOOD LUCK ON FUTURE ENDEAVORS: Carlo Young WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT FROM CSB? A year ago, CSB came oh so close to finally breaking through to the Final Four. Now in NCAA Season 95, the Blazers are bringing back a mostly intact core that only lost two-way guard Carlo Young. Even so, rising star Justin Gutang remains in green and white alongside tireless workhorse Kendrix Belgica, hard-nosed forward Edward Dixon, pint-sized playmaker Unique Naboa, and Cameroonian center Clement Leutcheu. “We have no doubt Edward Dixon and Kendrix Belgica will be stepping up for us big time.” – head coach TY Tang They will also be joined by a couple of sophomores being eyes to take the next step in Prince Carlos and Robi Nayve as well as a pair of standouts from CSB-La Salle Green Hills in 6-foot-8 raw project Ladis Lepalam and long-limbed wing Mark Sangco. All that may very well be the perfect mix TY Tang has long been looking for now in his third year at the helm – and that elusive playoff berth may very well be within reach for the Taft-based team. “We can always say we are ready but the result will show if we are or we are not. For us, we are just looking forward to again play in the NCAA.” – head coach TY Tang WHO IS/ARE THE PLAYER/S TO WATCH OUT FOR FROM CSB? NCAA Season 95 is Gutang’s time to transform from an impact rookie to a bonafide star. Without a doubt, CSB will go wherever its Filipino-American takes it, but that also means that the do-it-all swingman would need to take on more of a leadership role for his young supporting cast. “In terms of playing inside the court, no doubt na siya talaga ang leader namin, but more than the on-court stuff, it's more of his character, yun ang hinahanap namin sa kanya. When you're a leader, you're supposed to command and earn the respect of your team. That's where we want him to lead. He's still a work-in-progress with his maturity, pero nag-improve naman.” – head coach TY Tang In that light, it’s only a step in the right direction that the Blazers are, at long last, getting to add talent from its thriving high school program. Lepalam and Sangco may be under the radar pickups, but both are more than capable of being key cogs for a contender. WHY SHOULD WE ROOT FOR CSB? CSB has long been longing for another run to the Final Four, or even the Finals, after the school took the league by storm by winning the championship in its early years of membership. In recent history, the Blazers have fallen a win or two short of the playoffs more than a few times. With the field as wide open as it has been in a long while, NCAA Season 95 may just be the opening they need to finally get that Final Four monkey off their backs. “To get to the playoffs is our main goal.” – head coach TY Tang WHERE WOULD CSB BE AT THE END OF NCAA SEASON 95? CSB will be fighting with its all for a place in the Final Four, but it is far from a shoo-in. Coach TY needs even more lucky bounces to go his way if he is to finally accomplish the mission he set out for with the Blazers. WHEN IS CSB’S FIRST GAME IN NCAA SEASON 95? CSB begins its quest for a breakthrough when it wages war against Emilio Aguinaldo College on July 9 at the Filoil Flying V Centre. As always, the latest season of the first and oldest collegiate league in the country will be on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and livestream. HERE’S WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE NINE OTHER TEAMS IN NCAA SEASON 95: Young guns to be wind beneath JRU’s wings for NCAA 95 EAC turning over a new leaf for NCAA 95 Kent Salado back in the driver's seat for Arellano in NCAA 95 Mapua Srs. out to reap the rewards of its champion Jrs. team Health only thing standing in way of Baste's best shot at a title --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 2nd, 2019

UP, UE share 2019 s king of recruiting crown

Who was our King of Recruiting in 2018? Find out here. --- Last season, the University of the Philippines, at long last, broke through in the UAAP. Behind the leadership of Paul Desiderio and key contributions from Season MVP Bright Akhuetie and Mythical selection Juan Gomez de Liano, the Fighting Maroons made their first Final Four since 1997 and first Finals in 32 years. Now, even without the iconic Desiderio, State U is nothing but confident it could build on its breakthrough. The reason? Well, because two of the brightest young stars in Kobe Paras and Ricci Rivero are now orbiting Diliman. Paras has all the physical tools to take any league by storm and now in maroon and green, he is out to continue the legacy of his father Benjie who delivered the school’s first and only championship. Meanwhile, the Euro-stepping Rivero already knows a thing or two about taking the UAAP by storm, having been chosen for the Mythical Team when he was still playing for De La Salle University in 2017. Add big man J-Boy Gob, another transferee, to that and, indeed, UP is only equipped to keep contending. On the strength of the transfers of Paras and Rivero alone, the Fighting Maroons would have been worthy of the title of 2019 King of Recruiting. Right up there with them, though, in terms of getting a big boost in the offseason is University of the East. Absent from the Final Four in the last decade, the Red Warriors will be heading into the upcoming season with a fully stocked arsenal. Now up front for them – alongside stalwart Philip Manalang, of course – will be 6-foot-9 Senegalese Adama Diakhite, three-time champion and two-time MVP in the CESAFI Rey Suerte, and college-ready Harvey Pagsanjan, the no. 7 high school player in the 2019 NBTC 24. Diakhite is a hulking presence who will prove to be a tough matchup even for the likes of reigning MVP Akhuetie and last year’s Rookie of the year Ange Kouame. Suerte, a gifted scorer from anywhere on the court, fills right into the hole left behind by scoring dynamo Alvin Pasaol while Pagsanjan can continue making all the right plays he had been doing as the longtime beacon of hope for Hope Christian High School. Also flanking them are former Ateneo de Manila University forward John Apacible, defensive stopper Neil Tolentino, Filipino-Kiwi swingman Richie Rodger, and Filipino-Australian point guard Jasper Rentoy. And with that, UP and UE will have joint custody of the crown of the 2019 King of Recruiting. They dethrone National University which claimed the crown a year ago behind a big-time recruiting class that included Ildefonso brothers Dave and Shaun, John Lloyd Clemente, and John Galinato. Just like last year, there remains no doubt that the new Fighting Maroons and Red Warriors will make their respective sides forces to reckon with come UAAP 82. Still, several squads also made it a point to be better in the offseason. In fact, the graduating players in the 2019 NBTC 24 have been spread out among eight different teams. From the 2019 NBTC 24, the annual ranking of the best high school players in the country, 14 are moving on up to the Seniors. Adamson University is the biggest winner in terms of recruits from that ranking, with three of the top 15 players now in San Marcelino. Ninth-ranked Aaron Fermin is a double-double machine in the NCAA Jrs. and is nothing but determined to realize his potential as a two-way force under multi-titled mentor Franz Pumaren. In CESAFI standout Joshua Yerro and UAAP Jrs. Mythical selection Joem Sabandal, coach Franz also has young blood to bolster the backcourt that will no longer have Koko Pingoy. The Soaring Falcons also scored four other former Baby Falcons in big man Lorenz Capulong and wings Adam and Andrey Doria and AP Manlapaz. When it comes to reaping the rewards of its high school program, though, nobody could still touch Mapua University which again got two keep its Jrs. studs in Clint Escamis and Dan Arches, both of whom made it into the top two-thirds of the 2019 NBTC 24. Escamis and Arches are offensive guards who will give much-needed firepower to a promising core comprised of fellow Mapua HS products Warren Bonifacio, Eric Jabel, Noah Lugo, and Laurenz Victoria. Also, the Cardinals are the favorites to land NCAA 94 Jrs. Finals MVP Paolo Hernandez, another Red Robin. Also bagging two prized prospects from the 2019 NBTC 24 is La Salle which is now the place where the talented tandem of Joel Cagulangan and Joshua David get to work. Cagulangan has long been a star in the making and the NCAA 94 Jrs. MVP is, without question, Taft Avenue’s point guard of the future. The even better news is that he will still have wingman David, a tried and tested glue guy, to grow with. Also set to debut for the Green Archers are Filipino-Americans Jordan Bartlett, a speedster guard; Tyrus Hill, a high-flying forward; and Kurt Lojera, a big-bodied swingman. In all, there are six graduates from the top 10 of the 2019 NBTC 24. All of them would be on different teams in the Srs. Two players from 2019 NBTC 24 are yet to commit to any school, but there is no doubt that Red Robin Hernandez and Greenie Inand Fornilos will be able additions to any collegiate team. For the second straight year, Aldin Ayo will be adding a top three recruit out of high school as incoming sophomore CJ Cansino will now join forces with another triple-doubling talent in Mark Nonoy, a rookie who plays way beyond his years. But wait, there’s more as UST also welcomes with open arms its newest foreign student-athlete in Beninese Soulemane Chabi Yo whose speed and skill will make him a problem for the other foreign student-athletes more used to being powerhouses. Sprinkle in stretch four Sherwin Concepcion as well as versatile forwards Rhenz Abando and Brent Paraiso and there’s a reason why the Growling Tigers are now very much a darkhorse contender. L-Jay Gonzales and RJ Abarrientos remain FEU’s backcourt for tomorrow, but in the meantime, the former is poised for a breakout just as the latter is poised to wrap up his K-12 schooling. Yes, Abarrientos is not yet good to go come UAAP 82, but his steady hand is still the perfect pairing for the burst of energy that is Gonzales. Make no mistake, however, the Tamaraws have gotten help in the form of 6-foot-10 Cameroonian Patrick Tchuente as well as former Baby Tams Daniel Celzo and Jack Gloria. Letran is already the biggest it has ever been up front with NCAA 94 Rookie of the Year Larry Muyang alongside Jeo Ambohot, Christian Balagasay, and Christian Fajarito. Now, the Knights have also beefed up at the wings with Allen Mina and Mark Sangalang as well as former Red Warrior and Growling Tiger Jordan Sta. Ana. LPU will have to prove it could continue contending even without NCAA 93 MVP CJ Perez, but the good news is that now backtopping Marcelino twins Jaycee and Jayvee are former San Sebastian College-Recoletos key cogs Alvin Baetiong, Jayson David, and Renzo Navarro. That’s still a pretty solid lineup in our books. Just like last year, the now two-time UAAP champions are mostly intact, only losing team captain Anton Asistio as well as reserve guard Aaron Black. That doesn’t mean, however, that there are no new faces in Ateneo. Geo Chiu, Kai Sotto’s twin tower, decided to stay in Katipunan just as fellow ex-Blue Eaglets RV Berjay and Jason Credo are now seeing minutes in head coach Tab Baldwin’s rotation. And oh, there is a possibility that double-double machine Fornilos, who placed no. 13 in the 2019 NBTC 24, is bound to be a Blue Eaglet. Perps is nothing but determined to build on the triumphant return to the NCAA of head coach Frankie Lim and to do that, they will be leaning on former San Beda University pillar Ben Adamos as well as ex-Adamson HS workhorse Jefner Egan. Count out the Altas at your own risk. JRU is just on the first phase of a grand rebuild, but there is no doubt that things are looking up for Kalentong. In John Amores, they now have an end-to-end force who is all set to make an immediate impact as a rookie. These are the new names to watch for the teams: Baste CSB National U San Beda --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 3rd, 2019

ONE Championship: Team Lakay s Lito Adiwang hopeful to make debut at ONE: Masters of Fate

Lito "Thunder Kid" Adiwang is ready to strut his wares in front of a worldwide audience after getting a lucrative six-figure contract to the ONE Championship main roster. The fast-rising strawweight athlete from Baguio City defeated Anthony "The Antidote" Do by unanimous decision at Rich Franklin’s ONE WARRIOR SERIES 7 on 6 August in Singapore. Eager to get down to business and make his mark in the strawweight division, "Thunder Kid" hopes to compete when The Home Of Martial Arts returns to the Philippines for ONE: MASTERS OF FATE on 8 November at the Mall Of Asia Arena. “I’ll be ready. For me, it’s the perfect timing cause it’s only a few months away. I don’t have any injuries, so there’s no problem for me,” Adiwang said. “Now it’s all about getting a bit of rest and recovery and then I’ll go back to training and prepare for November 8. If I’m given a chance, I’ll be ready. I’m really eager to join the card.” His latest exploits inside the ring earned Adiwang a lucrative six-figure contract in his entry to the main roster of ONE Championship. But despite an impressive showing in the developmental show, he was not exactly pleased with his performance and wants to make up for it in front of his compatriots. "Now I’m eager to enter the Circle as soon as possible so I can showcase what I failed to show back then. Really excited to showcase the things that I can do,” Adiwang explained. “My goal is to become the ONE Strawweight World Champion. That’s what I am aiming for. That’s what pushed me to get some impressive wins and put on a better show.” Now that Adiwang has made a name for himself at ONE Warrior Series with his explosive striking and monstrous knockout power, he aims to do the same in the main roster. "I’ll do my best, train harder, give better shows - then get a title shot." Catch ONE Championship’s event ONE: IMMORTAL TRIUMPH on 6 September in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. It will be the organization’s first ever all-Super Series event. It will be aired live on the ONE Super App.     More from ONE Championship: Latest ONE Warrior Series Contract Awarded To Team Lakay’s Lito Adiwang Top Five Highlights From ONE Warrior Series 7 How Lito Adiwang’s Homecoming Set Him For Breakout Success.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News4 hr. 50 min. ago

ONE Championship: Eddie Alvarez submits Eduard Folayang in the first round

American mixed martial arts star Eddie "The Underground King" Alvarez captured his first win under the ONE Championship banner with a spectacular submission victory over former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard "Landslide" Folayng at ONE: Dawn of Heroes, Friday evening at the Mall of Asia Arena.  Folayang appeared to be on track to get the win early in the round after dropping Alvarez with a massive leg kick.  The Filipino MMA hero pounced on Alvarez, looking for the win, but the American vet survived the onslaught and was able to reverse the position.  Alvarez quickly took Folayang's back and then locked in a rear naked choke, forcing Folayang to tap out.  The stoppage came in at the 2:16 mark.  Alvarez records his first win since 2017 and advances into the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix Finals. He faces Turkish knockout artist Saygid "Dagi" Guseyn Arslanaliev at ONE: Century in Tokyo, Japan this coming October.  Folayang, meanwhile, absorbs his second-straight loss. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 2nd, 2019

ONE s Nguyen thriving in Philippines: I feel like an adopted Filipino

After fighting some of the biggest bouts of his career here in Manila, ONE Championship's Martin Nguyen is feeling at home in the Philippines......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJul 31st, 2019

Manny Pacquiao says Floyd Mayweather Jr. rematch is for the benefit of the fans

After his WBA (Super) Welterweight World Championship-clinching win over Keith Thurman in Las Vegas last July 20th, it didn't take long for Manny Pacquiao to start getting into it with rival Floyd Mayweather Jr. on social media.  The two welterweight stars crossed paths back in 2015 with Mayweather getting the unanimous decision win, but it left a lot of people with a sour taste in their mouth, believing that the undefeated star played a little too safe.  Since then, a rematch has been teased over and over again, and it looks like it has gotten to the now-retired Mayweather JR.  It was 'Money' who fired the first jab with a post that essentially said that Pacquiao was living off his legacy.  The Filipino boxing icon, while not one for too much trash talk, responded by calling Mayweather out for being at the Thurman bout.  Of course, Mayweather Jr. wasn't going to let Pacquiao have the last word and responded by claiming that he was a bigger draw and higher up on the PBC totem pole.  Pacquiao responded again, with another invitation for a rematch.  The social media back-and-forth, while has slowed down in the recent days, could go on for a bit, as fans continue to clamor for a rematch between the two boxing greats.  Whether or not it comes to fruition remains to be seen, but for Pacquiao, the ball is in Mayweather's court.  In an interview with Migs Bustos of ANC Gametime, the eight-division world champion explains why he believes people continue to call for a sequel to Pacquiao vs. Mayweather.  "Kasi sinasabi niya na ginagamit ko yung pangalan niya para sumikat ako. Iba naman yun, siya nga yung nanonood sa fight ko, so sabi ko para hindi na mag-tanong yung mga fans, makipag-laban siya sa akin ng rematch, kasi ako, nabo-bother din ako sa tanong ng mga fans na kailan kayo mag-rematch ni Mayweather, which is pagkaka-alam ko ay retired na siya, and ang mga fans, hindi sila satisfied sa resulta ng last fight namin with him, so I think the fans need one more, for the benefit of the fans na masagot yun mga tanong nila na paulit-ulit," Pacquiao said.  Pacquiao believes that fans continue to ask for a rematch because they don't believe that Mayweather Jr. won the first match.  "I think hindi naman magtatanong yung mga fans ng ganun kung naniniwala sila na talo ako. For example, do you think the fans will ask the questions kung alam nila na talo ako sa fight? Hindi naman siguro ganun." "The fans are asking over and over [for a rematch] because they don’t believe na natalo ako during the last fight," he continued.  Of course, the fact still remains that Mayweather Jr. maintains that he is retired and has no desire to come back to the ring.  "On my part, I have no problem with that because I’m still active in the sport. That question is for him because he’s retired, so he needs to come back and announce that he will be fighting again with me." Check out the whole interview below: .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 29th, 2019

PBA: Terrence Jones new tropa wants to send him back to the NBA

Over the last couple of seasons, the PBA has seen its share of super imports. Ginebra’s Justin Brownlee immediately comes to mind. Meralco’s Allen Durham and Phoenix’s Eugene Phelps fit in that mold too. Alaska’s Mike Harris is in that list as well. The uber-talented Glen Rice Jr. could have made it if he just got it together. But for the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, TNT brought not just any other import. Tired of underperforming for the past few conferences, the KaTropa went ahead and signed former Houston Rockets forward Terrence Jones for the mid-season joust. With Jones, TNT went the super — SUPER — import route and it has been worth every penny for the KaTropa, at least so far.   ROCKET MAN Many former NBA players have played in the PBA before, that’s not a new thing. But what makes Jones special is that he’s at his peak of his powers now as he plays his first stint in the PBA. Jones is a former first-round pick and was a legitimate NBA contributor. In his best NBA season, in 2013-2014 for Houston, Jones started 71 games and had career-high numbers of 12.1 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. This dude is legit. “Oo iba, iba siya talaga,” guard RR Pogoy said of Jones. (Yes, he’s really different). In just one conference, Pogoy and Jones have clicked as teammates. Terrence has admitted that RR is one of his favorite local targets when he’s trying to spot an open teammate when opposing teams double on him. Pogoy admits that Jones is one of the best, if not the best, import he’s ever played with. “Pwedeng-pwede pa siya talaga sa NBA eh. Iba yung skills niya,” he added. (He could still play in the NBA. His skills are just different).   THE DIFFERENCE TNT has ran pretty much the same system for years. Whether you like this team or now, they know what style they want to play andd they identify players that fit that system well. The KaTropa have dominated the PBA without a traditional big man. Ask other teams, they’ve been blindsided and bamboozled by a TNT offense led by diminutive point guards like Jimmy Alapag and Jayson Castro. However, the KaTropa have hit another rough patch. The team hasn’t made it to the PBA semifinals since 2017. Their 2018 campaign was a lot like the horror 2016 year with the only difference being three seasons ago, they actually made it to the semifinals of the Governors’ Cup as a no. 1 seed. Last year, they won zero playoff games and missed the playoffs altogether once so in essence, 2018 was a worse nightmare for the KaTropa. It didn’t help that in the previous All-Filipino, they were practically a missed 24-second violation away from ending the San Miguel Beer Philippine Cup dynasty. The winning formula no longer works for TNT. Or at the very least, it’s not as effective. Enter Terrence Jones. “Malaking tulong talaga siya sa team namin. Kung ano yung kulang samin, parang fit na fit talaga siya eh. Napa-dali na lang yung mga buhay namin sa basketball,” Pogoy said of Jones. (He’s a big help to our team. What we lack, he fits right in. Our basketball lives are easier with him). “Yung rebounding tsaka yung pagka-shot blocker niya [malaking tulong]. Naiilang din yun kalaban namin eh, sa rebound naman naco-control namin kasi may malaki na kami, yun naman talaga kulang namin,” Pogoy added. (His rebounding and his presence as a shot blocker is a huge help). In 10 games so far, Jones is averaging 14.9 rebounds per game. That may not seem much for an import but he’s never had fewer than 10 in a game and has hit a high 22 rebounds. His shot blocking has helped TNT shore up its overall defense as well with Jones averaging 2.9 rejections a game with his three best performances coming against Columbian (7 blocks), Ginebra (6 blocks), and San Miguel (5 blocks). The last two teams feature perhaps the two best frontlines in the league today by a wide margin. Aside from his defensive presences, Jones is a force on offense as well, averaging 34.5 points on close to 50 percent shooting. He’s hit over 30 points eight times and over 40 points four times. Scoring will be a given for a player of his caliber but what sets him apart is his ability to locate open teammates and willingly pass the ball to them. Jones is good for at least four assists in every game and he’s topped out at 16 dimes so far. In 10 games, he’s rounding up to 7.7 assists per outing which leads all imports, and the whole league actually. “Talagang willing passer siya, hinahanap din niya talaga yung mga kasama niya. Kumbaga di niya inaako lahat yung scoring load,” forward Troy Rosario said of his new frontcourt tandem in Jones. (He’s a willing passer. He really tries to find his teammates and he’s not trying to shoulder all the scoring load). “Kami ready pa rin kami lagi. Syempre yung experience niya sa NBA talagang pinapakita niya dito, natutulungan din niya kami kung saan kami dapat lumugar sa plays kasi advanced na siya eh, kahit di na sabihin ni coach alam na niya dapat gawin,” he added. (We’re just ready as locals. He’s really showing his NBA experience here, he’s helping us to where we need to be on plays because he’s so advanced he knows what to do even before coach tells us).   THE LEADER Aside from putting up big numbers across the board, there’s one underrated factor about Terrence Jones that has led to him making a positive impact on TNT. Jones made an effort to be a leader for the KaTropa and his teammates have rallied behind him for sure. The result is in the way they play and the way they win in the Commissioner’s Cup. “I think it’s come to them [TNT locals] listening and understanding that I have a little experience on what it takes to try to win and be a good teammate,” Jones said of his leadership role with the KaTropa and how it worked out. “They listened and understood that and we’ve been having fun ever since,” he added. TNT is full of alpha-level players but Jones’ NBA resume has certainly helped in making them line up behin their import and provide support. The the KaTropa have been running like a well-oiled machince with that set up. “Leadership pa lang niya ang laking tulong na samin. As locals, ginagawa lang namin kung ano dapat namin gawin para maka-contribute din and para matulungan din siya,” Rosario said. (His leadership alone is a big help for us. As locals, we just try to do what we need to do to contribute and to help him out). “Magaling siya, isa talaga siya mga leader namin ngayon. Talagang nili-lift up niya kami, di lang sa salita pati sa gawa,” Pogoy added. (He’s great, he’s one of our leaders now. He really lifts us up not just with words but with action as well)   THE LONG ROAD BACK TO THE ASSOCIATION It would be incredible if TNT ends up having Terrence Jones as a resident import the same way Ginebra has Justin Brownlee or Phoenix has Eugene Phelps or Meralco having Allen Durham. However, the KaTropa know that their super import still has a good shot of returning to the NBA and they plan on helping him get back there. “Syempre goal namin makapasok sa playoffs, nagawa na namin yun. Ang susunod na step is next round sa playoffs. Malaking tulong din yun sa kanya kasi yung pangalan niya bumabango ulit,” Rosario said. (Our goal is to make the playoffs and we did that. Now the next step is to get to the next round of the playoffs. That’s a big help for him to get his name out there again). “Preparation na rin kasi alam namin na after dito, meron siyang invites sa mga training camps,” he added. (It’s also good preparation because we know after this, he has some invites to camps). With TNT at 9-1 and a top-2 seed in the playoffs, the team is certainly favored to win in the Commissioner’s Cup. And perhaps one of Jones’ best ways to once again get some traction is to put up great numbers for a championship team in a big league like the PBA. There’s a big check mark on the numbers part and while he can’t win a title by his lonesome, Jones has an entire tropa that has his back. “Lalo na kung mag-champion kami, mabango yung pangalan niya di ba?” Pogoy said. (If we win the championship, that’s good for his name, right?). “Marami naman nags-scout diyan, nakikita siya and maganda pinapakita niya. Feel ko [kaya bumalik sa NBA],” he added. (There’s people that scout him, seeing him and how good he’s been performing. I feel [he can make it back to the NBA]). Of course, winning a PBA championship does not directly award Jones and NBA roster spot. However, he appreciates that his team backs him up in that regard. Right now TNT’s super import is just concerned about playing well with his team and winning more games. “I appreciate it, I wish nothing but the best for all my teammates as well,” Jones said. “I hope you guys see that while we’re playing, we’re smiling and enjoying one another when anybody scores. It’s just like a family atmosphere,” he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 16th, 2019

MP Promotions fighters to join Pacquiao-Thurman undercard in Las Vegas

Eight-division world champion and reigning WBA (Regular) Welterweight World Champion Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao won't be the lone Filipino fighting on at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday, July 20th (Sunday, July 21st, Manila time).  The 40-year old Pinoy boxing icon will be on the marquee as he tries to capture the WBA (Super) Welterweight World Championship against undefeated American Keith "One Time" Thurman, while a pair of fighters from his MP Promotions stable will be competing on the undercard as well.  MP Promotions fighters Flyweight Genisis Libranza (18-1 10KO) and Welterweight Jayar Inson (18-2 12KO) have been added to the #PacquiaoThurman undercard. pic.twitter.com/yREsCBDTh6 — Steve Angeles (@StevieAngeles) July 3, 2019 25-year old Genisis "Cobra" Libranza (18-1, 10 KO) will be facing American Carlos Maldonado (11-3, 7 KO) in a flyweight bout.  Libranza has been with Team Pacquiao in the US since the start of camp, even before he was scheduled to compete in Vegas on the 20th.  "Maganda ang training namin kasi kasabay ko si Senator, and sobrang ganda ang training namin," Libranza told ABS-CBN's Steve Angeles. "Preparado kaming lahat."  Libranza, a native of Agusan del Sur, is on an impressive seven-fight winning streak, with his last loss coming back in 2017, a KO loss to South African Moruti Mthalane for the IBO Flyweight World Championship.  He's coming off a unanimous decision win in Carson back in February.  Also on the card will be Davaeño welterweight Jayar "Hitman" Inson (18-2, 12 KO), who meets veteran Mahonri Montes (35-9-1, 24 KO).  Inson, a former WBO Asia Pacific Welterweight Champion, is coming off a split decision loss to Jonathan Steele in the undercard of the Pacquiao-Adrien Broner bout in Las Vegas back in January.  "Masaya kasi kahit na talo ako [last time], binigyan naman ako ng pagkakataon na lumaban ulit," said Inson.  Undefeated Filipino-American John Leo "The Lion" Dato (11-0-1, 7 KO) is also expected to be on the card.  Apart from the Pinoys joining Pacquiao in Vegas on July 20th, a couple of Pinoy former champs are also in camp as they get ready for their own upcoming contests.  Former three-divison world champion Johnriel "Quadro Alas" Casimero is back on track and is preparing for a bout in Manila this August, while former WBA Interim Featherweight World Champion Jhack "El Kapitan" Tepora, who is coming off a win back in June, is also keeping busy with Team Pacquiao.  "Masaya kami dito na nag-tetraining, kasi maraming Pilipino and isang team kami," said Casimero. "Hindi boring yung pagsisikap namin kasi andiyan kaming lahat. Masaya kami sa training kahit mahirap, kaya sinisikap natin."  Casimero has won his last three bouts, and will be challenging for the WBO Interim Bantamweight World Championship against Cesar Ramirez.  H/T: Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN    Don't miss the action! Catch Manny Pacquiao challenge Keith Thurman for the WBA (Super) Welterweight World Championship LIVE on SKY PPV this coming Sunday, July 21st! Follow the blow-by-blow coverage on DZMM Radyo Patrol 630 starting at 9:00 AM!  ABS-CBN channel 2's free TV telecast will begin at 10 am. Replay will be at 3:00 PM on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23.  The entire bout will be available on iWant beginning Monday, July 22. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 11th, 2019

Cargo Movers near first round sweep

SILAY CITY -- Unbeaten F2 Logistics moved closer to a first round sweep after making short work of Sta. Lucia, 25-15, 25-14, 25-21, Thursday in the second stop of the Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference Spike on Tour at the Natalio G. Velez Sports and Cultural Center here. Filipino-American Kalei Mau was at her best, piercing the Lady Realtors’ defense with timely hits to tow the Cargo Movers to their sixth straight win. Mau delivered 14 points off 10 kills and three aces while Ara Galang had 11 markers for the Cargo Movers, who displayed their championship form early on that left the Lady Realtors struggling to keep up. Skipper Aby Marano also had an impressive performance with 10 points laced with two blocks and an ace while Michelle Cobb delivered 20 excellent sets to compliment the 19 digs of Dawn Macandili. The Cargo Movers have a golden chance of sweeping the first round when they face rookie team Marinerang Pilipina next Thursday at the Muntinlupa Sports Center. “As I’ve said before, we’re not after the record in the elimination round because it will have no bearing in the playoffs,” said head coach Ramil De Jesus. “All we’re looking to get and develop here is our confidence heading into the quarterfinals where any team can be knocked out regardless of the record and the placing.” Meanwhile, Generika-Ayala escape disaster after carving out a thrilling, 25-23, 25-20, 20-25, 22-25, 15-12, victory over Cignal in the night cap. Patty Orendain fired 18 points built on 15 attacks, two aces and a kill block while adding 11 excellent receptions in the Lifesavers’ third win in five games. Angeli Araneta had 17 markers while Ria Meneses and Fiola Ceballos added 11 points each for Generika-Ayala. The HD Spikers suffered their straight defeat for a 2-3 mark. Rachel Anne Daquis was in her vintage form, scoring 20 points with 17 coming off spikes and added 17 digs and nine excellent receptions in a lost cause. Mylene Paat had 15 points while Ranya Musa finished with 10 for Cignal.   Despite the lackluster performance in the first set, the Lady Realtors actually gained steam in the second set, giving the Cargo Movers a scare with a 13-12 lead before being caught by a suffocating 12-1 closeout. Although Sta. Lucia also managed to go neck-and-neck in the third set as it inched closer to within a point, 20-21, F2 Logistics proved to be just too much to handle as Mau and Galang unleashed a strong finishing kick en route to the impressive win. No player scored in double figures for the Lady Realtors, who absorbed their fifth straight setback to slide to 1-5 slate. Rachel Austero and MJ Philips paced the attack with five markers apiece......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 4th, 2019

One Championship plans 80 shows, big roster expansion in 20

By Greg Beacham, Associated Press One Championship plans to stage about 80 martial arts shows in 2020, and the MMA promotion will roughly double its roster of fighters to do it. One CEO Chatri Sityodtong revealed his latest plans for ambitious expansion to The Associated Press on Wednesday. The promotion is putting on 45 events this year in Asia, but will sharply increase its schedule next year. One also will continue to keep its fights freely available to much of the world in response to what Sityodtong describes as a global desire from its broadcasters for more fighting content. One will still focus on its core Asian markets, but Sityodtong also is in discussions with broadcast partner Turner Sports to stage its first U.S. show next year. "Definitely a very tough task, but I think it's very doable, knock on wood," Sityodtong said of his extraordinary expansion plans. "We're on this rocket ship, and I've just got to hold on." By comparison, the UFC has 43 events currently on its 2019 schedule. One's expansion comes while the UFC is making a push into Asia, including the opening a $13 million performance institute in Shanghai to develop Chinese athletes. Unlike the UFC, One Championship includes fights in several martial arts disciplines on its cards. One's shows in 2020 will feature a mix of competitions, but its primary focus is still mixed martial arts — and a whole lot more of it. "The market can't get enough," Sityodtong said, citing his company's rising viewership figures on broadcast and digital channels. "Our fans can't get enough of our content, so we're trying to satiate demand, but every time we put out more content, things just go more viral. A lot of the free-to-air TV broadcasters, the digital broadcasters, they're all demanding more and more content from us, so we have to provide more and more content to the world." One reached a three-year broadcast deal with Turner last year, and is broadcast around the world on over-the-air television channels. Sityodtong sees an opportunity to increase his company's prominence in the U.S., where the UFC has put much of its fight content on ESPN Plus this year in its lucrative new deal. Sityodtong describes the UFC as One's "archrivals," although the UFC might not see it that way. But where the UFC sees value in exclusivity on ESPN, Sityodtong wants his fights available "everywhere and anywhere at all times." "(The UFC's) approach right now is they're behind a double paywall on ESPN Plus, which limits their reach," Sityodtong added. "That partnership is great for both companies and also great for the sport. That being said, it's a very different strategy from what One Championship is doing. We are focused on maximum distribution, maximum reach, frequency and engagement, and making our product accessible to the entire world. That's just a philosophical difference." Filling out One's ambitious new schedule will require more fighters, more staff and more events in the promotion's core markets such as Singapore, Jakarta, Beijing, Bangkok and various venues in the Philippines. Sityodtong expects to stage four fight cards per year in those main markets, but his ambition remains global — and the Harvard Business School graduate wants to plant a flag in North America. Sityodtong hasn't revealed a time and place for One's first U.S. show, but the company is opening offices in Los Angeles and New York this summer. The Singapore-based One already has a corporate presence across Asia from Tokyo to Bangalore, India. One has signed American fighters Demetrious Johnson, Eddie Alvarez and Sage Northcutt in recent months. Sityodtong is eager to land other non-Asian free agent veterans, but One will stay focused on finding its core talent across Asia. "We look for athletes that we can appreciate and admire for their mastery of martial arts, but also admire their life stories and their values," Sityodtong said. "That's very important, and I think that's the biggest differentiating factor for One Championship versus our global competitor in the West.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 20th, 2019

Folayang to face former UFC champion Alvarez in ONE

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino Eduard Folayang will face arguably the toughest test of his career as he tangles with American Eddie Alvarez, the former UFC lightweight king, in ONE Championship: Dawn of Heroes.  Fighting for the first time since losing the ONE lightweight title to Shinya Aoki , Folayang will begin his trek ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJun 10th, 2019

ONE Championship: Heading into cage return, Geje Eustaquio’s focus is on getting better

Former ONE Flyweight World Champion Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio has a great opportunity to get back on track this coming Friday, May 17th at ONE: Enter The Dragon in Singapore.   In his first match since dropping the title to Adriano Moraes in Manila back in September, the former flyweight king makes his return against South Korean Kyu Sung Kim.   And while Eustaquio’s journey back to the title could begin with a win against Kim, the Team Lakay star says that his only focus is on getting better.   “For now, ang nasa isip ko is to get better and better, and of course to implement yung gameplan na ginawa namin ni Coach Mark [Sangiao] and the rest of the team sa upcoming May 17,” Eustaquio told ABS-CBN Sports. “Yun lang muna ang nasa attention ko as of now.”   [RELATED: Geje Eustaquio hungry and motivated in comeback, says head coach]   Against the taller and younger Kim, Eustaquio faces a competitor who is a proven finisher, with seven of his nine wins coming via stoppage, five coming via KO or TKO.   Eustaquio, a gifted striker in his own right, welcomes the challenge that the South Korean possesses.   “Based sa mga nakita namin na competition niya, he’s more of a striker, most of his wins are via punches, so sa tingin ko it’s going to be a good fight.”   And while he’s more than willing to stand and trade with Kyu, Eustaquio isn’t afraid to take whatever opportunities that fight may present.   “Sa akin, I believe we have the best, world class striking in Team Lakay, we can do that, but of course, this is mixed martial arts, if you have the opportunity, you have to take it.” Eustaquio stated. “Sometimes, you have to focus on the game plan, but if you have the opportunity, why not take it? Capitalize on the opportunity and take the chance.”   Former ONE Flyweight World Champion Geje "Gravity" Eustaquio, who will be fighting on May 17th at ONE #EnterTheDragon in Singapore, sparring with Brave CF bantamweight Jeremy Pacatiw | @abscbnsports pic.twitter.com/RybPltvsuj — Santino Honasan???? (@honasantino) May 11, 2019   For the past few years, Eustaquio has enjoyed seeing his name on the marquee of ONE Championship cards, headlining his last four events all over Asia.   This time around, the 30-year old finds himself on the middle of the card, but maintains that this isn’t much of an issue to him.   After all, he’s been here before, he says.   “Sa akin, actually it doesn’t matter. It’s just another day in the office. I’ve been there for many times, it’s just another day in the office.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 15th, 2019

DOC VOLLEYBALL: Storming The (Blue) Keep

Winning twice in the elimination round to continue a 15-game streak, the Ateneo Lady Eagles couldn’t have asked for a better match-up in the Finals in the form of the UST Golden Tigresses as past encounters would easily sway towards a blue momentum. The top seed however went in for a surprise as the Sisi Rondina-led pack showed a whole different UST team from the eliminations and proved why her team was the best offensive team at the expense of the best defensive team for a crucial first game sweep. With a dominant three-set win over the Lady Eagles, the Golden Tigresses have breached the gates and are within reach of the throne. At this point, with momentum undoubtedly behind the Tigresses, it is quite interesting how the Lady Eagles will be able to hold their ground and last wall of defense and eventually mark a counter offensive from the inside should they wish to extend the series to a deciding championship match. Swift Claws One glaring difference between how UST played in the elimination round and the way they won Game 1 of the Finals series was the speed of their play. Despite being in the back seat for most of the elimination round, veteran setter Alina Bicar dug deep since the semifinals and has been the crucial factor in their win against the Lady Eagles even more so than the stellar dominance of Queen Tigress Sisi Rondina. Throughout her UAAP career, Bicar has been a fairly overlooked setter due to noticeable lapses in consistency, decision making and quality (height and speed) of sets. Perhaps one saving grace Bicar had prior to this season’s step-up since the semifinals would be how fast the ball is released from her hands. In Game 1 however, it was a more potent Bicar who was on display as her setting (even the bump sets at that) was noticeably faster and with better trajectory that enabled her spikers to play through the solid net defense of the Lady Eagles. Though still utilizing the combination plays in the middle that are more likely to get blocked by tall and anticipating middles such as Bea De Leon and Maddie Madayag, Bicar’s decision-making was also a massive level up from how she played during the eliminations and the past seasons. Perhaps now that she has established a consistent shoot play to the left wing that proves problematic against the Atenean blockers, Bicar would find less reliance on combination plays that have less efficiency than a simple fast open to Rondina or Eya Laure. It is however an injustice to UST if credit won’t be given to the massive performance of their queen, Sisi Rondina. Just a quick look of her highlight reel is enough to tell the whole story of how she led the pack in decimating the Blue Defense be it up front or on the floor. Though expected to drop cherry bombs straight to the middle of the court to showcase her athleticism as seen throughout her career, Game 1 showed a Sisi Rondina who had long targets that proved to be a one-two punch for both the blockers and floor defenders of Ateneo. First, by going for long angle or line shots, Rondina ensures that she hits her maximum reach enough to work around the tall walls of the opponent. Second, by going for long targets, Rondina often landed her attacks on the perimeter of the blue court (a floor defense lapse exposed and exploited by rival Lady Spikers in their second round encounter). With Bicar’s fast sets, Rondina had more time and reach to work around the block and floor which proved too problematic for the Lady Eagles. Lastly, though it was a given that Rondina had the spotlight, the collective effort from Laure, Ysa Jimenez, KC Galdones and Caitlyn Viray was also a massive difference from the elimination round where UST has been branded as just a two-woman attacking team. Viray’s unorthodox set-up for a right pin attack despite being a middle and Galdones’ power from the middle earned crucial points for the team. Despite taking a backseat from her usual numbers, Eya Laure showed enough firepower to support Rondina a couple of which came from a low fast back play from Bicar which I’d like to see more of albeit pushed a little more to the right pin but with the same height and speed. Blunted Talons Right from the start of the match, the early assault of the Tigresses proved too much of a challenge for the Lady Eagles much like a dragon queen swooping over an army and decimating the wall of defense. UST clearly made prior work of how to circumvent the main asset of the Lady Eagles being their block by going for fast plays and long shots targeting unguarded zones such as high line and sharp angle. UST evading De Leon and Madayag’s defense set-up was already a big part of the equation as their offense proved successful in limiting the block points of the two middles to an unusual two and one kill blocks, respectively. It has been shown throughout the season that the main scoring output of the Lady Eagles are primarily the two middles and opposite Kat Tolentino. While there have been noticeable improvement from the second round towards the end of eliminations from both openers Ponggay Gaston and Jules Samonte, output from the left wing was sorely missing for the Lady Eagles for Game 1. A high output from transition could have been Ateneo’s saving grace as UST was successful in limiting them to just 17% in the passing department which is clearly not enough to active their main assets which are their middles. A combined effort of 16% efficiency by Samonte and Gaston (25% and 7% respectively) was clearly not enough to support Tolentino’s 28% efficiency to mount a counter offensive on the instances they had control of the first ball. In addition, it was noticeable how the Lady Eagles failed to capitalize with their block to hold UST at bay on a particular rotation in which only Rondina and Viray are up front and would attack from both pins without any benefit of a middle going for at least a decoy quick hit. With two relatively obvious spiker options, no quicker approaching, and no pipe or backrow attack tendencies, that specific rotation would have been the easiest for the Lady Eagles to earn points in succession. Moving forward, should the elimination top seed wish to force a Game Three, the main concern is obviously to ensure that Rondina can be neutralized. Sisi will definitely rack up the points, but by limiting her options in her attack angles, the Lady Eagles can have a relatively easier work with their defense. First option would be to slow down the setup of Bicar by serving her blind side. Should this option prove ineffective, the best possible option would be to serve long in the seam of zone 5 and 6 and target Rondina or Laure’s right side of their axis to keep them in the court as much as possible as they wind up for the approach. Doing so, their down the line shots would be a challenging option making it easier for Madayag and De Leon to block the sharp angle. Though Rondina is just one piece of the equation and much more can be expected of Laure, Jimenez, Viray, and Galdones in the upcoming match, ensuring that Bicar is hard pressed in setting up a fast play through well placed serves will be Ateneo’s best bet to force a decider match for the Season 81 throne.    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 14th, 2019

Strikers and Submission Specialists headline ONE Championship in May

A pair of explosive Muay Thai world title fights takes to the grand arena of ONE Championship this Friday (May 10) when Muay Thai superstars Nong-O Gaiyanghadao and Petchdam Petchyindee Academy take on separate foes in ONE Championship’s WARRIORS OF LIGHT card that will air LIVE on ABS-CBN S+A, S+A HD, and iWant Sports starting at 9:30 pm. The two Thai superstars will be fighting for the ONE Muay Thai Bantamweight World Championship and ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Championship belts respectively. Nong-O will be competing against Japanese warrior Hiroaki Suzuki while Petchdam faces Elias Mahmoudi of Algeria. The largest fight promotions outfit in Asia also prepared an explosive MMA card for May 17, that will be ONE Lightweight World Champion Shinya Aoki’s first defense against Singapore’s submission artist, Christian Lee, in ONE: ENTER THE DRAGON which will also air LIVE on S+A, S+A HD, and iWant Sports at 8:30 pm.   Aside from the striking masters, Pinoy MMA fans can also look forward to the return of Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio to the cage, months after his defeat from Adriano Moraes, in the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix against Korean Kim Kyu Sung. Former UFC fighter Sage Northcutt will also make his ONE Championship debut against Brazilian mixed martial artist Cosmo Alexandre. Fight fans will be able to witness explosive kickboxing and Muay Thai masterclasses from the likes of Italian stallion Giorgio Petrosyan, against Petchmorakot and Dutch striking master Nieky Holzken versus compatriot Regian Eersel, in the successive fightcards. The names of the fighters lined up may be new to Filipino fight fans’ ears with the exception of Eustaquio and Aoki, who put to sleep Filipino MMA hero Eduard Folayang in Japan, and Lee. But the competing Muay Thai and kickboxing masters have already been introducing themselves via the ONE Super Series that focuses on the art of striking with powerful roundhouse kicks, dangerous elbows, as well as flashy spin attacks.   Don’t miss the two explosive ONE Championship fightcards airing on S+A, S+A HD, and streaming LIVE on iWant Sports starting with ONE: WARRIORS OF LIGHT this Friday (May 10) at 9:30 pm. ONE: ENTER THE DRAGON will air on May 17 LIVE on S+A and S+A HD, with livestreaming on iWant, at 8:30 pm.   For more stories and news on Aisa’s largest fight promotions company, follow @ABSCBNSports on Twitter and Facebook or visit sports.abs-cbn.com. For updates, follow @ABSCBNPR on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram or visit www.abscbnpr.com......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 9th, 2019

Joshua at home in Garden despite never fighting there

By Barry Wilner, Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — On his way to his debut at Madison Square Garden, heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has hit a detour. His planned opponent failed several drug tests. Unfazed by the switch from Jarrrell Miller to Andy Ruiz Jr., Joshua strode into an empty Garden on Monday and was right at home. The holder of four heavyweight belts will face Ruiz on June 1 in Joshua's first U.S. appearance. The fight is more about his making a mark in this country than his opponent. Miller had a penchant for mouthing off, his 23-0-1 record built against boxers with little to no chance of entering the ring for a title bout. Replacement Ruiz (32-1, 21 KOs) has a slightly better resume and even a championship bout on it: Ruiz's only loss was to then-WBO champ Joseph Parker in 2016. "I wanted to beat down Miller, beat him down badly," Joshua said, recalling some seriously off-color trash talking from the New Yorker who failed three drug tests. "Ruiz I want to beat down, but I have respect for him." Even more so, Joshua noted, is his respect for the arena that some call America's boxing mecca. "I know the history that has been here and the sports that have been here," he said. "When I come in here to fight June 1, it will be very special." Joshua then joked with a colleague about making a name for himself in the United States. He laughed when told that New Yorkers on the street, even sports fans, rarely know of Joshua when asked. So what will it take for Americans to become as accustomed to the undefeated Brit as they were to, say, Mike Tyson in his day? "America is so vast," Joshua said. "It's beyond me in my wildest dreams. Maybe to get on YouTube and to go viral? "Back in the day, the heavyweight champion was a global icon. Everybody knew who it was and where (he was from). Now, there are so many 'superstars,' and it's harder to penetrate that." Knocking out Ruiz couldn't hurt. Joshua has won all 22 bouts, 21 by knockout. He's held at least one title since 2016, and the only belt not in his collection belongs to Alabaman Deontay Wilder — who also isn't celebrated nearly the way a Tyson was during his reign. Joshua-Wilder could be on the radar, even though Joshua has a contract with DAZN, the streaming service that will broadcast the Ruiz fight, while Wilder has steered clear of DAZN so far. Wilder puts his WBC crown on the line on May 18 against Dominic Breazeale in Brooklyn. "I am ready for Wilder, I've been ready for Wilder," Joshua said. "I've done a good job maintaining my place and he is the guy I want. He has a lot to live up to. I've got confidence flowing now. I am confident I will beat Ruiz and he is confident he will beat Breazeale. We can be confident in planning ahead." Joshua would want that fight to be late this year and back home, where he can sell out football stadiums. Ruiz might be the next step — and the first in the States — but Wilder would be the next leap. "We have a five-to-10-year plan," he said. "It's not about being famous today but how I am regarded in the next five to 10 years. We'll work hard with the platform we have to do positive things.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 7th, 2019