Fatherhood, Setbacks Motivating Belingon At Career Crossroads
Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon is urging his fans and peers not to write him off just yet.
The former ONE Bantamweight World Champion has endured the toughest stretch of his pro career, falling twice to reigning divisional king Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes and suffering his lone knockout loss against #1 contender John “Hands of Stone” Lineker last time out.
As he arrives at a crossroads in his mixed martial arts journey, the Filipino superstar says the trio of defeats – his only losses since 2016 – have only inspired him to prove the doubters wrong and make another push toward the divisional gold.
“I’m ready. I’ve prepared well. My confidence is unshaken. I feel even after that loss that my confidence in myself remains strong,” Belingon says.
“I feel like I’m a lot stronger, honestly. I’m only hungrier and more determined to bounce back after those losses. I’m still motivated. The fire is still there.”
As much as redemption is on his mind, it’s not the only thing pushing “The Silencer” through a tough fight camp for this pivotal showdown with Kwon.
He’s been given even more impetus from the birth of his first daughter, Kelsey, who is now 1 year old.
“I’m truly motivated now. I have a kid to support, and that’s where the added fire and confidence stems from,” Belingon says.
“If you have a fight, and then you think about having a family back home who’s there for you, you really want to do well for them.
“That’s the difference between being a single man to being a father and a husband. I think we can say that this is a new start for me.”
These days, the veteran of 28 MMA bouts is looking ahead with a fresh perspective and some additional experience.
Before facing Lineker, Belingon had gone through pretty much everything in his long and illustrious career – apart from being knocked out. It was a tough pill to swallow, but he took lessons away from the result.
- Stephen Loman ‘Looking For A Clean Shot’ In Yusup Saadulaev Fight
- Kwon Won Il Dreaming Big: ‘I’m The Icon Of A New Generation’
- Danny Kingad Warns Kairat Akhmetov: You’re Playing My Game
Of course, the Filipino has administered his fair share of knockout blows, and he doesn’t believe being on the receiving end for once means he is out of the picture.
Belingon wants to show that his stand-up skills are still strong enough to topple anyone in the stacked bantamweight ranks, including a fast-rising star in Kwon.
“I want to prove that I’m a better striker than Kwon Won Il. I want to show the people that Kevin Belingon is far from done and I still have one more run in me at the World Title,” the 34-year-old says.
“I don’t want to belittle Kwon Won Il because he has good hands and great boxing, but I think I have a lot more in my arsenal. I believe my striking is better but I have to take note of his punches. We have a game plan prepared for him.
“But more so than [fighting for] the reputation as a deadly striker, I’m more concerned about defending my position in the rankings. Right now I’m still at number two and I have to win in order to keep that.”
Given that a victory is the primary objective, “The Silencer” won’t rule out other methods of getting past the South Korean slugger when they face off inside the Circle.
“I’m sure this match will be explosive on the feet, but don’t be surprised if I take it to the ground,” he says.
“If I can win by submission why not, right? I don’t think I have a submission win in ONE ever, so if that opportunity comes then I’ll be going for it.”
Meanwhile, Kwon has surged through the ranks, scoring victories with his concussive striking and making bold proclamations about his future in the promotion.
The 26-year-old won’t make it easy for Belingon to reverse his fortunes, but the Team Lakay stalwart has the tools and knowledge to stop “Pretty Boy” in his tracks if he can return to peak form.
That is certainly “The Silencer’s” biggest focus right now – and a huge task – though the competitor inside him can’t help but yearn for revenge against his latest foe.
“This is such an important bout for me. I’ve been losing, I haven’t been performing to my standard so I really have to get back to my old self and return to the winning column,” Belingon adds.
“I want to win, and I want to finish Kwon, whether it be KO, TKO, or submission. I expect a good fight. I expect fireworks. This will be a great fight, and I’ll do my best to get the win.
“Then, if there is a chance to have a rematch with John Lineker, I would 100 percent agree. I need to redeem myself here so if there’s a chance to go against John Lineker again, I’m good to go.”