Two World Champions from Team Lakay will defend their coveted belts at ONE: A NEW ERA on Sunday, 31 March.
However, the man who will set the tone for the Filipino martial arts squad will be their third representative on ONE Championship’s inaugural Japan card, Danny “The King” Kingad.
Kingad qualified for the eight-man tournament by defeating Tatsumitsu “The Sweeper” Wada in January, and now, he is thrilled to share the card with his teammates — ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang and ONE Bantamweight World Champion Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon.
“I’m very excited because it’s in Japan,” the Baguio City native says.
“For the first time, ONE Championship will have an event in Japan, so I’m really happy that I get to be a part of it. To top it off, I’m going there with the two World Champions, who are my brothers.”
Danny "The King" Kingad authors a stellar all-around performance to secure a unanimous decision victory over Tatsumitsu Wada!Watch the full event LIVE & FREE on the ONE Super App ???? http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast
Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, January 25, 2019
“The King” may be excited to visit “The Land Of The Rising Sun,” but a tough challenge awaits him.
After competing in the bantamweight division for his last few bouts, Leone will return to his flyweight stomping grounds. Coincidentally, the Bali-based American started his ONE career in this weight class by defeating Kingad’s teammate, Geje Eustaquio, in May 2013.
Known for his immense grappling, the 29-year-old comes from a collegiate wrestling background and has since equipped himself with a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt.
“What I’m looking at and reviewing is his wrestling, because that’s his background. I think that will be his area of strength,” Kingad offers.
“I think his weakness is his striking. I’m looking to take the bout there, as I’m aiming to knock him out.”
In Leone’s most recent bout last April, Belingon used his brilliant wushu striking to register a second-round TKO.
Ahead of his match-up with the American, Kingad received some valuable advice from his Team Lakay stablemate on how he could achieve victory in Japan.
“He told me that I need to grab momentum earlier because [Leone] is a great fighter with a ton of confidence in his skills,” the youngster reveals.
“However, if I get the upper hand first, he will lose heart and that confidence will be shaken.”
Although Kingad is laser-focused on his upcoming quarter-final bout, he has briefly pondered about what could potentially await him in the future.
Will Danny "The King" Kingad stake his claim to a World Title shot on Friday?Manila | 25 January | 7:00PM | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Facebook: Prelims LIVE | Twitter: Prelims + 2 Main-Card bouts LIVE | Tickets: http://bit.ly/oneascent19
Posted by ONE Championship on Wednesday, January 23, 2019
“It’s difficult to choose because both are very skilled competitors, and they are both wrestlers,” he says. “If I had to choose, I think Reece will advance because he has more advanced grappling than Kairat.”
On the opposite side of the bracket, Kingad’s predictions leaned towards familiarity.
“I already beat Yuya, so of course I would hope that Yuya beats Demetrious. I’m certain that Yuya will knock out Demetrious,” the Filipino says.
“Also, I would like Wada to win. I am already familiar with how he moves, so it might be easier to study him further and prepare if ever we meet later.
“It’s really difficult to make a choice because everyone in the tournament is extremely talented. Personally, I think Yuya would advance in a match-up [with Wada]. If I am able to beat the guys in my bracket, I am praying that I would face Yuya in the finals.”
When Danny "The King" Kingad made it rain ????Manila | 25 January | 7:00PM | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Facebook: Prelims LIVE | Twitter: Prelims + 2 Main-Card bouts LIVE | Tickets: http://bit.ly/oneascent19
Posted by ONE Championship on Tuesday, January 22, 2019
That may be his dream final, but in order to get there, Kingad will need to take the first step and defeat Leone at the Ryogoku Kokugikan on 31 March.