Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon has become a hero in the Philippines through his martial arts success, despite the challenges life has thrown his way.
The Igorot warrior – who will face Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes for the ONE Bantamweight World Title at ONE: CENTURY PART II – battled through tumultuous circumstances in his youth, but that hardship brought him closer to his family.
They have helped to inspire him to the great heights in his career, both through their support, and through his desire to make them proud and support them.
While no one from his family is a practicing martial artist, they are passionate about it.
Every time “The Silencer” competes, the Belingon clan get together to watch at home and support him as he takes on the best in the world in ONE Championship.
“They are martial artists at heart,” he says.
“They are really just fans of the sport. They love watching it.”
Sadly, he has lost some of his biggest fans, and the hosts of some of those viewing parties, to tragic accidents.
The deaths of his grandfather and his uncles hit “The Silencer” so hard, he can still not bring himself to go into detail about the circumstances.
However, he has certainly not forgotten about them, and they are at the forefront of his mind when he is preparing for every bout.
“The pain of losing them still hurts today,” he explains.
“They continue to be my inspiration when I fight. Even if they are gone, they still remain in my heart and my mind. Those are the only details I can share about them.”
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Belingon admits he has not moved on from these events, but he is determined not to let that stop him from continuing with his career.
He often cannot help but think about his departed relatives, so he uses their memory to help push through hard training sessions or the toughest moments of a bout.
“Martial arts is my passion, so no matter what happens, I will continue to pursue it,” he said.
“They still continue to be my inspiration, and I still feel like whenever I’m fighting, they’re still here in the province together with everyone, watching me fight. They still give me strength.”
One only needs to look at his greatest achievement in the Circle to see that the Team Lakay representative seems to have otherworldly powers of courage and determination.
He defeated Fernandes – the most dominant World Champion in ONE history and the man who had beaten him once before – by enduring submission attempts that would have finished most men, and then coming back from the brink of defeat to become the ONE Bantamweight World Champion last November.
He hopes his success, despite the pain in his heart, can inspire others to rise up as he did to honor those he has lost.
“The circumstances might be different, but it’s always difficult, and there’s no easy way to accept it,” he adds.
“It’s been years for me, but I still deal with it. If your mind and heart give up, you will not achieve anything in your life.”
“You have to continue pushing and reaching for your goals. You don’t need to forget about them to move on, because they can continue to be your inspiration as you go on in life.”
On 13 October, Belingon will face “The Flash” for a historic fourth ONE Bantamweight World Championship match in Tokyo, Japan, and he knows he will have to push even harder than before to defeat his old rival.
Even if he stares defeat in the face, quitting will not enter the 31-year-old’s mind as he does everything in his power to make the people he loves proud.
“I will never let go of the memories they have left me. No matter what happens, they will remain in my heart and in my mind,” he says.
“I dedicate every fight to my uncles and my grandfather.”
ONE: CENTURY is the biggest World Championship martial arts event in history with 28 World Champions featured across various martial arts. No organization has ever promoted two full-scale World Championship events on the same day.
The Home Of Martial Arts will break new ground as it brings multiple World Title bouts, a trio of World Grand Prix Championship Finals, and several World Champion versus World Champion matches to the famous Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan on 13 October.