Before beating Eric Kelly to become the inaugural ONE Championship featherweight champion Honorio Banario had to spend nearly an entire day in the sauna. Making weight was always tough for the Filipino, who is happy that these extreme cuts are now a thing of the past.
His walking weight is around 170 pounds and Banario plans to compete in ONE Championship’s lightweight division for the forseeable future. He’s coming off a decision win and is hoping to score a second successive victory against Eddie Ng on Saturday night.
Their fight will be one of the most eagerly anticipated on the ONE: Heroes of the World card in Macau because Ng is from nearby Hong Kong. However, Banario isn’t concerned about going up against a local favorite.
“Fighting in Eddie Ng’s hometown doesn’t affect me because I will just go there and do my job as a fighter. It’s my first time to visit Macau. I am very prepared for this fight.”
After enduring a five fight-losing streak, Banario was relieved to bounce back with a win earlier this year and he is determined to make a lasting impression on ONE Championship’s lightweight division.
“The last time that I won and that’s the new me. I am fighting at my natural weight class and there’s no more stress on my body. I intend to stay undefeated in this new weight class because this is really where I belong. I will do my best to defend my undefeated record in this division and in the future, maybe I will be fighting the champion.”
Banario knows how it feels to win a ONE Championship title and he has also experienced a lengthy losing streak. He’s still only 26 years old and now his career is finally back on track the Filipino is desperate to keep on winning,
“Winning for me in this new division is very important. I’ve been to a lot of tough times in my past career so I need to win consecutively in this fight and my upcoming fights. This is very important to me.”
In total, Banario has fought nine times for ONE Championship and the majority of those fights have been against the top contenders in the featherweight division. He feels that the caliber of opposition he has faced will give him an advantage against Ng,
“I think my skills are more refined than Ng. I’ve been fighting more tough opponents than him. I am better in everything.”
Five of Banario’s ONE Championship fights have lasted into the third round or longer. By contrast, Ng has never fought for more than ten minutes and the Filipino thinks this could be his key to victory.
“I think Eddie’s weakness is that he is strong in the first round, but when the fight goes to the second and third, he starts to slow down, so I will capitalize on this weakness.”
Banario trains at altitude in Baguio and is one of several Team Lakay fighters to earn a title shot with ONE Championship, although he remains the first and only Filipino fighter to actually win a belt.
His teammates are all renowned for their energy and endurance and Banario believes Ng will be unable to cope with his speed and stamina.
“I am faster. This is the first time he will fight a very fast opponent. I can go all out until the last round.”
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