Banario eyes first defense in Manila-A A +A
Thursday, February 7, 2013
WHEN Honorio Banario was scheduled against fellow Filipino Erick Kelly, the Criminology graduate was already written off by some journalists and was tagged as the underdog going into the main event of the One Fighting Championship dubbed “Return of Warriors.”
In fact, the odds were stacked against the newly crowned featherweight champion after almost failing to make it the weight limit. But the 23-year-old Banario did not see this as a setback but used it as a turning point in handling Kelly’s first loss after eight fights.
“I struggled but I didn’t want to waste all the efforts we had during our training sessions,” recalled Banario during his meet up with local sports scribes.
Banario defeated Kelly via a technical knockout in the fourth round of their scheduled fifth round encounter at the sold out Stadium Putra in Malaysia.
The two Filipino warriors went back and forth in a striking duel. The finish came in the fourth round as Banario won the striking battle with a punch that staggered Kelly.
“After the ref stopped the bout, I shouted from the top of my lungs because I know I have defeated Kelly, who is a star in Malaysia,” added Banario.
In fact, Banario dominated the fight against Kelly in all the three rounds prior to the fourth round stoppage.
Banario is scheduled to defend his title in May whose opponent has yet to be named.
“His first defense will be here in the Philippines and will face a foreign fighter,” quipped Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao.
Initial reports from mix martial arts website said Korean Bae Young Kwon, who handed Banario’s first loss in 2012, is being eyed as the challenger.
Incidentally, Kelly also faced Kwon earlier last year with the Filipino scoring a unanimous decision during One FC’s event held in June.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 08, 2013.