Sports

Folayang eager to break out of slump vs fellow veteran foe


Eduard Folayang poses during the ONE: Fire & Fury open workout at One Esplanade in Pasay City. Photo from ONE Championship

MANILA, Philippines—The past two years haven’t been kind to Eduard Folayang as four of his five fights all ended in losses, removing him from his once dominant self.

But the former ONE World lightweight champion has no plans of running and is doubly eager to get back to the winners’ circle.

Standing in Folayang’s way is fellow veteran Yoshihiro Akiyama with the two set to fight on April 28 for the ONE on TNT IV card at Singapore Indoor Stadium.

“This will be a great fight for me. I’m working hard with the team right now, and I’m definitely up for the challenge. Everyone is gearing up,” said Folayang whose last win was a technical decision against Twogookhu Amarsanaa in November 2019.

Though his last two fights ended in losses, Folayang was just as happy when his stablemates in Team Lakay tasted victories in 2020 and 2021 like Joshua Pacio, Geje Eustaquio, Lito Adiwang, and Jenelyn Olsim.

“Our victories in the first half of the year have boosted our morale. I, myself, have been inspired by my team’s victories. With our hard work, and discipline, and by the grace of God, 2021 will be a good year for Team Lakay,” said Folayang.

Ever with the champion’s mentality, Folayang is eager to take on Akiyama (15-7).

The former UFC fighter is coming off a first round knockout win over Sherif Mohamed in their February 2020 fight.

“It is always an honor to share the Circle with legends. It gives me added motivation. Yoshihiro Akiyama is a legend and a veteran of the cage. His name is known throughout the world. This fight excites me because I know I’m going up against a great fighter. I’m working hard to come into the Circle well-conditioned with my mind and body,” said Folayang.

“This is a very important battle for me. I didn’t get the results that I wanted in my previous fights, and I wasn’t able to perform the way I wanted. The key to this fight is going to be the preparation. We’re coming up with a solid game plan. He’s not going to be an easy opponent. But at the same time, I’m confident in my skills. This time, I will aim for a steadfast victory.”



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